Sunday, 27 April 2014

How to Be an Australian Romance Heroine

Ever wished that you could be the heroine from your favourite Australian Romance novel? Keep reading, as today, I am going to share some tips with you on how to live like an Australian Romance Heroine ...

Looks

Australian Romance Heroines are generally an attractive bunch, but they must never, ever be vain about their looks. Mirrors and cosmetics are entirely optional, but keep in mind that to The Guy You Will End Up With At the End of the Book will not care how well you scrub up in a designer frock--he thinks you're just as lovely in those Elmo pyjama pants that have a hole near the bum.

However, it is vital that you be depicted on the front cover wearing a hat and a skimpy outfit that would be entirely unsuitable to wear whilst working outdoors--even if this does not accurately depict your character and preferred attire.

Love Interests

Your love interests can be wide and varied. They will, however, fall into a number of categories, some of which may not necessarily appear in your book. The most common categories are: 

The Unsuitable Ex

Before your adventure begins, your past must be clouded by some kind of unsuitable ex-boyfriend that no one else on the planet would like to date. His looks and personality matter little, as the relationship is usually over by the time the novel opens, however he must in some way, shape or form, have done something to make the heroine distrustful of men and relationships.

The Rich Bastard

This one is an alpha male out for all that he can get. Depending on your story he will either prove himself to be a complete bastard, reform, be a noble rich man or it will turn out his actions were all a big ruse to fool somebody (i.e. he's an undercover cop.)

The Poor Man 

This man lives a humble life in humble dwellings but it can usually be guaranteed that he has some kind of secret fortune stashed away somewhere.

The Guy Next Door

This hero is usually one of the good ones. He's the guy who is out there and involved in the community and treats all the people that he cares about well. His achilles heel is his love for the heroine. Too shy or too noble to make a declaration of love, he suffers in silence and watches as the heroine falls for an unsuitable man--usually the Rich Bastard or Married/Taken Man. The Guy Next Door is the type most likely to become The Guy You End Up With At the End of The Book, though this is not always guaranteed--a surprise plot twist can prove him to be a bastard in certain circumstances.

The Married/Taken Man

This guy seems perfect for the heroine in every possible way, but for his spoiled, conniving and social climbing wife. fiancee or girlfriend. This breed makes for an interesting hero, because there will usually be some kind of amusing catfight and by the end of the book, his relationship will be proven to be a sham. They make for a crappy bastard character however, because their bastardry is obvious from the start. 

The Guy You End Up With At the End of the Book

This is the only love interest whose presence is compulsory. He can come from a wide and varied background and may or may not share a past or history with the heroine. However, he will have proven himself in some way to be a good man and to love the heroine in a way that no other man can. 

Rivals

Rivals are not compulsory though they can spice up a plot when it is getting dull. Generally they are wealthy, thin, sophisticated and spoiled and may already be in a relationship with your love interest. They are also guaranteed to bugger off at the end of the book in search of greener pastures. 

Dwellings

As an Australia Romance Heroine, your home and choice of dwelling is an important one. Urban dwellings are usually frowned upon, unless your novel is set in Sydney or Brisbane. Perth is occasionally acceptable if your heroine is fleeing some kind of drama or works in a male dominated field--this same rule applies for any other setting in Western Australia. Melbourne, Adelaide and Darwin are completely unacceptable cities for romance heroines to live, while Hobart is occasionally allowed under special circumstances and even then you would be better off living in a smaller Tasmanian city such as Launceston where you can have some kind of lovely romantic misunderstanding with the owner of a construction company that wants to completely ruin the local environment. And then you must be prepared for the fact that the whole thing is a misunderstanding, that your political views were wrong and that most of his evil deeds were due to the influence of a demanding wife/fiancee/girlfriend that he did not truly love anyway.

Any country or rural town (fictitious or based on a real location,) is acceptable regardless of which part of Australia you wish to live in. However, your chances of publication and overseas sales will increase if you choose to live in any part of Queensland or New South Wales. Again, Western Australia is acceptable, but only if certain requirements are met. 

Your home must, and I repeat must, be unusual in some kind of way. Australian Romance Heroines simply do not live in three bedroom brick veneer houses. A flat or unit is okay, but only if your relationship with your neighbours is going to be relevant to the story in some way. Your best choice is to live in a shack or an old stone cottage. Bonus points if said shack or cottage is falling apart. Double bonus points if you have room for a dog. Which brings me to my next point ...

Pets

Australian Romance Heroines generally prefer dogs to cats and therefore so should you. This is partly to spare themselves the stigma of being thought a possible future cat lady (after all, they are very fine and eligible women they just don't know it,) plus there is something that makes them appear more endearing and compassionate if they adopt a mongrel dog from a rescue shelter as opposed to a tabby cat, despite both being on death row. A horse is an acceptable but optional accessory.

Cats are allowed in special circumstances but only if they make as much of a nuisance of themselves as possible and somehow aid you, the heroine, in winning the heart of The Guy You Will End Up With At the End of the Book.

It is perfectly acceptable for any of your rivals to own a cat, however purebred oriental cats are preferred.

Vehicle

Your choice of vehicle is probably one of the few areas where you are allowed some versatility. However, if you choose to drive a small, automatic buzz box better suited to city driving, be prepared to come into conflict with your hero who will most likely own a big, fast car or four wheel drive. And it will be a manuel.

Australian Romance Heroines are allowed to own and drive big, fast cars however the one that they own must be old and shitty, particularly in comparison to the vehicle owned by their main rival.

Motorcycles are acceptable for both sexes.

A Poor Appetite

Australian Romance Heroines never really eat a lot. Their preferred meal after a long, laborious day is generally something light. At a restaurant they prefer to just have a salad. Malnutrition is not a concern, nor is the risk of developing osteoporosis in later life. However, these rules may be broken if a section of the book is devoted to promoting a particular local cuisine to readers from overseas or interstate.

Over-eating, or depictions of eating anything fried or which contains fish or meat is generally frowned upon. Unless it is sushi. For some reason, sushi is allowed.

It is acceptable for your hero to have a hearty appetite and to eat a steak and drown it down with a beer.

The Ability to Drink Like a Fish and to Never Have a Hangover ...

Australian Romance Heroines like to drink a lot, usually wine, and rarely, if ever, do they end up getting shitfaced and left with an enormous hangover the next day. Hangovers are acceptable if, and only if you bump into your posh future mother-in-law who hates you, your arch rival or your love interest's current wife/fiancee/girlfriend who is far more grown up and sophisticated then you are. 

Also, as an Australian Romance Heroine, you will only find yourself completely shitfaced in a situation where the Guy You Will End Up With At the End of The Book is able to drop everything to care for you.

Occupation

As an Australian Romance Heroine, your preferred occupation is to be a vet. If this is not a realistic possibility, then there is a good chance that we will find you working at a local newspaper--either as a journalist or photographer--or running the local craft store. A down on her luck Australian Romance Heroine will usually find work pulling beers at the local pub or working in a male dominated field where she must prove herself to be as good as any man. Occasionally she may work as a receptionist or have an unwanted job as a parking inspector. Social work or teaching is allowed in certain circumstances, particularly if it brings you closer to The Guy You Will End Up With At the End of the Book.

Any occupation that requires a degree (apart from Veterinary Science,) must somehow relate to social sciences. Consequently, Australian Romance Heroines are never doctors or lawyers, though they consider it acceptable for other women to work in that field. Being a nurse, however, is acceptable.

* * *

So there you have it, my complete guide to being an Australian Romance Heroine. I cannot guarantee any of this will work out in the real world, but within the realms of fiction, it's comforting to know that a woman can find a man just by following a particular set of rules ...

Bonus question: Do you have any tips on how to be a good romance heroine?

4 comments:

  1. An Aussie romance heroine must also have:
    * long, lustrous hair ( or at least hair long enough to wear up in a sassy pony tail)
    * at least one parent who died when the heroine was a teenager ( usually a mother who passed from Breast cancer)
    * never watch television,
    * own or manage a business/property or work in a family business (9-5 at Woolies lacking the requisite sense of romance, the payscale to allow for a single woman to pay a mortgage/rent on her own, and the flexibility to allow for lunchtime trysts that last all afternoon)

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    1. The long, lustrous hair! How could I have forgotten that one?

      Love your list, Shelleyrae =D

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  2. Loved this post Kathryn - had me laughing out loud! I must pin it to the office wall as a checklist...

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    1. :-) Thank you Rachel. I'm glad that you laughed.

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