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STUPID HEROINES Please don't make your heroine DO STUPID THINGS FOR THE PURPOSE OF TELLING THE STORY.  I really hate STUPID HEROINES.  If something menacing happened to you and you would logically contact or go to the police, then your heroine WOULD DO THE SAME.  Just because she goes to the police doesn't mean the police have to believe her sad little tale of woe.  Or, if they do believe her, how much protection can they really offer?  Usually little to none.  Which suits our purposes as it makes her even more vulnerable to the bad guy(s), scares the reader for her and keeps that reader reading to find out what happens next.        But if she doesn't go to the police, the reader will wonder why and you'll have them disliking her, thinking her "TOO STUPID TO LIVE."  And that your precious book may end up a wall banger.       I've read some otherwise great romantic suspense books that have had characters doing things no smart woman would be caught doing.  (A couple were written by men.)  In real life, women are cautious.  We're alert to dangers and strangers.  We need to be to survive in this world.  We aren't stupid.  Or foolish.         A book I read recently had a heroine whose apartment was broken into by a man who blindfolded her, stripped her, and all but raped her. Afterward, she changed the lock on her front door, but not the one on her sliding glass door.  HELLO!!!!!!!!!!  Who doesn't know that a sliding glass door is the most vulnerable one?  Who wouldn't have had that lock changed, bolts set in the top and bottom and probably a steel bar inserted in the runner?  What woman living in Los Angeles-which the character was-wouldn't already have had those safety precautions?  And what woman would ever feel safe in that apartment again?  Not me, that's for sure.           If your heroine must live in a dangerous part of town for your story purposes, then don't have her quirky personality trait be to leave her windows and doors unlocked, even though she's on the second or third floor. (Yes, I read that in a book by a best selling romantic suspense author)           Instead, make that bad guy get into her apartment despite her safeguards.  "THAT" is scarier.  The author with the glass door scenario later in the book had the bad guy watching another  woman's house and saying to himself that he could see 17 ways in from where he stood.  17 ways.  Now THAT is scary.  And it teaches us something.  The smarter your heroine is and the more logically she behaves and the harder she works at keeping herself safe, the more frightening it will be that none of her safeguards work to protect her.  The reason this is so scary is because it shows us all our own vulnerabilities and it touches on all of our deepest fears.   Plotting Conflict: (includes internal and external conflict plot plan) EXAMPLE -- CONFLICT PLOT PLAN     TITLE: ENDLESS FEAR GOALS IN OPPOSITION:         HEROINE'S GOAL: To regain her memory and find out whether or not she killed her mother, Lily Cordell-Farraday.         HERO'S GOAL: To keep the heroine from remembering and learning that he killed her mother.         ANTAGONIST'S GOAL**: To keep everyone from finding out exactly how Lily died. CONFLICT -- INTERNAL:         HEROINE'S: When she was fourteen, April Farraday fell in love with Spencer Garrick. Twelve years later, her feelings for him thrive, but she cannot have a life with Spencer or any man until she faces her forgotten memories and deals with them.         HERO'S: When he was eighteen, Spencer Garrick fell in love with fourteen-year-old April and vowed to wait for her until she was old enough to return his love. Then Lily died and trauma robbed April of twelve years of her life. All of which Spencer feels he is responsible for. CONFLICT -- EXTERNAL:         HEROINE'S: April must return to Calendar House and delve into its secrets in order to be completely well.         HERO'S: Spencer also returns to Calendar House to face his own ghosts, memories that keep him diverting April's attempts to remember. ** For Romantic/Suspense EXAMPLE -- CONFLICT PLOT PLAN     TITLE: SOMETHING BORROWED, SOMETHING BLUE GOALS IN OPPOSITION:         HEROINE'S GOAL: To make a faux copy of THE PURITY--a diamond necklace that was once a family heirloom--in order to bring some happiness to her dying grandmother.         HERO'S GOAL: To keep THE PURITY in his special collection of one of a kind pieces of jewelry.         ANTAGONIST'S GOAL**: To place the faux Purity in the collection and steal the real necklace which is extremely valuable. CONFLICT -- INTERNAL:         HEROINE'S: Lyssa Carlyle hates The Purity--a necklace her grandmother calls the wedding necklace--believing it has caused her family years of conflict and unhappiness. A faux copy is as near as she wants to get to it.         HERO'S: Craig Rival holds The Purity dear. It not only reminds him of the love his parents shared, but was given him by his dying mother for his future wife, a daughter-in-law his mother would never know. CONFLICT -- EXTERNAL:         HEROINE'S: Lyssa has promised her grandmother that she is bringing her The Purity, but her faux copy has been stolen. She must find it before her grandmother's condition worsens.         HERO'S: Craig doesn't believe Lyssa made a copy of The Purity, until the faux appears in The Purity's place. Then he suspects Lyssa is a jewel thief. ** For Romantic/Suspense CONFLICT PLOT PLAN     TITLE: GOALS IN OPPOSITION         HEROINE'S GOAL:         HERO'S GOAL:         ANTAGONIST'S GOAL**: CONFLICT -- INTERNAL:         HEROINE'S:         HERO'S: CONFLICT -- EXTERNAL         HEROINE'S:         HERO'S: * From a talk by Betty Ann Patterson AKA Vickie York ** For Romantic/Suspense
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