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Writing means different things to me. I'm a storyteller, a book editor, and a songwriter. For me, it's like breathing.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Writing a Virgin Heroine

I’m trying something different for my latest novel—a virgin heroine. This is a bit challenging for me because all of my heroines so far have been sexually experienced women. This has me a little nervous about this book.
I want to avoid mistakes in creating this kind of character. One thing I want to make sure I do right is writing a realistic scene when she loses her virginity. This is a huge pet peeve of mine. Too many times I’ve read books with virgin heroines and that didn’t seem realistic to me because the characters experience the perfect first time sex. Seriously? Not one bit of awkwardness? Or pain? I know what I’m talking about here. Most sexual encounters are imperfect, but for sure the very first time a woman has sex is painful.
I realize that romance books are supposed to be a fantasy for women—the guy is a total hunk and the sex is so hot. And that’s okay with me, but how about putting some reality into at least one sex scene, especially if the heroine is losing her virginity.
And just because she’s a virgin, it doesn’t mean that the character has to be completely innocent and stupid. That’s stereotypical to me. The character I am working on has been trained to wed a king, an enemy king, so she is well versed in the workings of court and her role as a queen. She’s intelligent and strong-willed. But when it comes to love, she is inexperienced—unsure of her feelings and easily charmed by the wrong man. I think most women remember being fooled by a guy at some time in the past because of inexperience.
Who knows, the virgin heroine may end up being my favorite character to create. At the very least I will get to revisit my own past as I recall what it was like being a virgin—if I can remember that far back.

Kelley Heckart
'Timeless tales of romance, conflict & magic'

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