How to Write a Feminist Romance

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It seems to make sense to follow up my last blog post with a few tips on how to make sure your romance novel has an empowering slant. After reading what others have to say on the subject and looking at my views on my own work and books I prefer to read, here’s some tips.

  • Give your heroine some spunk; make her independent, self-supporting and confident in her sexuality. Or at least this is her end goal. If you’re writing an historical, make sure she defies convention rather than conforming to it.
  • Don’t make the hero’s desire for her seem ‘rapey’. For example, he just can’t control himself and turns into a salivating dog every time he’s near her. Yes, he fancies her. No, he gets an erection every time she walks past him.
  • Let your heroine push some boundaries sexually. Even if she’s a virgin, give her some control over what happens in the bedroom. Even if it’s a BDSM romance and she wants to explore being sexually submissive, note the emphasis is on ‘she wants to explore’.
  • Cunnilingus. Lots of. And he loves it.
  • Go for a ‘Happy Right Now’ ending, rather than a ‘Happy Ever After.’
  • Your hero can be as testosterone fuelled and muscly as you want, but he respects the heroine’s choices and encourages her to retain her independence.
  • Play around with gender stereotypes. She’s an engineer, he can cook up a storm. Maybe he even bakes cookies.

And finally. If you’re a woman, supporting yourself by writing books that are primarily for and about women, in a genre that dominates the publishing world….Rock on, sister.

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