Barbara here, with a confession: I used to be a weeper. I cried easily and a lot. Often it was over nothing much, although occasionally it was a big deal, such as moving cities in my senior year of high school and leaving my boyfriend behind. That time, I cried so hard and long that my dad let me stay home from school the next day. (My eyes were swollen to slits! Think of the agony if my friends saw me like that!)
This weepiness persisted into my twenties. The crying itself wasn’t the problem—it was that once I started, I couldn’t stop. I would cry for hours, even a whole day. This exasperating tendency went away after I had kids, thank heavens, and now I rarely cry—although that may be not so much because I have matured as because I have chronically dry eyes and therefore a dearth of tears.
What does this have to do with books? Well, several years ago, one of my editors asked me to make my heroine less weepy. Which I did, but in first drafts at least, my heroines do burst into tears from time to time, or at least feel tears threatening—often for reasons that wouldn’t make sense today, because social expectations of women have changed quite a bit. I don’t go for lachrymose females, but still, some circumstances warrant a bout of tears. I know strong heroines are popular nowadays, but does this mean they shouldn’t cry at all? When is weeping weak or immature, and when is it appropriate? I haven’t figured it out, but I’m still following that editor’s advice to some extent.
What I want to know is, as readers, how do you feel about tearful heroines? Do tears annoy you? How often can a heroine cry, or at least hold back tears? Should heroines react angrily instead? Or be stoic? Or what?
I’ll give a download of the boxed set Rakes and Rogues (or another of my books, winner’s choice) to one commenter.
And now for some news: A Very Wicked Christmas anthology — 6 all-new stories by 6 different authors, including me — is up for pre-order at only 99 cents! It includes my novella, Love at First Dance (AKA Jane and the Vile Seducer) — which, by the way, is the sequel to The Reluctant Seductress in Rakes and Rogues. Release date is October 18.
OH, AND BY THE WAY: To Kiss a Rake is still free — at least for today, maybe tomorrow too. I’m not sure, so if you’d like a Kindle copy, run right over to Amazon and get one now.