We’ve discussed leading ladies before on this blog, and I think we agreed that we all put a lot of ourselves into our heroines. In fact, most of the time we ARE the heroine, just in disguise. This means, of course, that they take on a lot of our own likes, dislikes and idiosyncracies.
This is certainly true for me. For example, I hate the colours beige and brown, so would never make my heroines wear it. I don’t like sausages, therefore my heroines don’t either. I love long hair – whenever possible I let my heroines have abundant tresses. I love animals, so my heroines do too. And so on and so forth.
There is one way in which we differ fundamentally, however – I’m a chicken, they’re not. In real life I’d probably rather run away than get involved in a fight, would faint in horror if I saw a ghost or was confronted with anything paranormal, and I doubt I could save anyone’s life except if they were drowning (I love swimming). But my heroines can’t be like that – they have to be feisty, capable and stand up for themselves. They have to be courageous and self-sacrificing, ready to take risks in order to get what they want. That’s definitely not me.
But on the other hand, it’s the “me” I’d like to be.
I’m sure we all dream of doing things we’ve never dared to – whether it’s skydiving, bungee jumping or just travelling the world. I do wish I’d been born braver, but because I’m not, it’s even more satisfying to be able to make my alter ego courageous. I know some authors do go out and try all the things they write about, but I content myself with living vicariously, through my imagination. Perhaps it’s not as satisfying as doing something yourself, but I think it’s enough for me. Or is it?
I recently read a novel where the heroine drew up a list of ten things she’d like to do before she died and then acted on it (Swimming with Dolphins by Deborah Wright). This made me wonder what I’d put on mine and whether I’d be able to tick any of them off. The list was supposed to be secret and some of the items on it may not be at all feasible, but it’s quite a fun exercise. Mine isn’t complete yet, so I’ll have to keep working on it. I definitely know I want to go to Pompei and Herculaneum, so that’s item no.1 (and I don’t think I need to keep that a secret), and I would love to swim with dolphins, even if that’s a bit clichéd, but I’m not sure what else.
How about you – what would you definitely want to do before it’s too late? Or how far would you go in the name of research?
Please come back on Thursday to hear from Liz!