Weepy Heroines and a #Giveaway by Barbara Monajem

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!)


Spilt Milk from Wikipedia Commons
Spilt Milk from Wikipedia Commons

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.


To Kiss a Rake 600x900

Follow Barbara Monajem:

Barbara Monajem started writing at eight years old. She has wandered from children’s fantasy through mystery to paranormal and historical romance. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.

20 Responses

  1. teatimeandbooks76

    I think it’s OK for heroines to cry or be strong but feeling the tears coming. It shows they are human and a strong woman can still cry. If they lost a loved one, or were terribly embarrassed, lost the love of their life, etc. tears are fine. It’s especially nice to see that they let their tears flow and feel the pain they are going through, but pull themselves up with conviction and pledge or vow to get through whatever has them so hurt. They are hurt, sad, etc. but they aren’t going to let it break them down completely!

    On that note, I don’t like to see wimpy girls who cry over trivial things that aren’t of importance, I.e. She didn’t get the gown she wanted, she didn’t get her way, etc. unless this is a villain, then I say let the tears and pouts flow!

    Great topic! I admit, I’m a very emotional person and not afraid to show it. I don’t cry over nonsense, but if it’s serious like the death of a loved one. Oh yes, I cry. I even cry over good things, too, and that’s OK.

  2. Barbara Monajem

    Thanks, that’s very reassuring to me, because I can’t entirely stop my heroines from crying. They do have a will of their own! And as you suggest, they pull themselves together.

  3. Linda Nightingale

    I have to take care or my heroines will become a bit weepy. I like strong heroines as much as the next reader, but I don’t particularly care for what is termed “Kick Arse” heroines. I prefer a little need of something! My weepiness passed with the years, too, but I still find tears in my eyes–mainly for cause–these days. Lovely post, Barbara. Your covers are very intriguing. I know the words inside are too.

    • Barbara Monajem

      Thanks, Linda. Nice to know I have good company in past weepiness. 😉

  4. Linda

    I like strong heroines, but strong doesn’t mean the person doesn’t cry. I reckon tearing up is not within a person’s control (I tear up really easily to my utter embarrassment). Bursting into tears, being silly about it and acting helpless is quite another thing & that is what I don’t like in a character.

    • Barbara Monajem

      Hi, Linda. I try to make sure my heroines have a good reason for crying. Sometimes bursting into tears at a very emotional moment seems just right for a scene. 🙂

  5. BelleAmiAuthor

    My goodness, what a bunch of political correctness, no weeping? Yikes, I’m in trouble. I’ve been known to shed a tear over a commercial, let alone a movie, book, or true life incident. You know those PETA, or Humane Society ads with those tearful doggies or kittens with pleading eyes staring into the camera, oh my Lord, that can set me off for a good deal of crying. I’m a very strong person, but I’m a weeper. Now that I’ve had my say, thanks for sharing.
    Tema Merback
    Writing as Belle Ami

    • Barbara Monajem

      Hi, Tema. I think it’s totally PC to cry about sad animals. Readers are usually fine with that. But a heroine who cries out of fear or anger, for example –I’m not so sure, although to me these are normal reactions.

  6. Josie

    My heroines tend to be weepy, Barbara, although I’ve never thought about it until now. Great blog!

    • Barbara Monajem

      Hi, Josie. Sorry to make you think about it!! LOL.

  7. bethtrissel

    I’ve been accused, at least in my earlier works, of having heroines who cried too much. Considering the harsh circumstances they were under, I’d say the weeping was justified, but I cut out a few bouts. So, I agree with those who think some weeping is normal and not weakness.

    • Barbara Monajem

      Hi, Beth. Yep — Sometimes I let them weep in the first draft, then give them more of a stiff upper lip in revisions. 🙂

  8. Glenda

    I’m good with heroines who cry at times. Let’s face it, there are plenty of reasons for real tears. That said, I’m not a fan of the ones who turn into water faucets and bawl all the time. At some point you have to stop crying and start dealing with things.

    • Barbara Monajem

      Hi, Glenda. I’m totally with you here. Let the heroine cry when she has good reason, and then get on with handling it.

  9. Diane Eberly

    Hi, I like a few tears even a teary-eyed guy once in awhile. Tears just happen – for sadness and joy. I’d like to see that more often it books lately no one cries, they are strong, stoic and independent. Need a little more femininity with the ladies. I so enjoy regency romances with a good cry, a swirl and up the stairs to her room.

    • Barbara Monajem

      LOL, thanks, Diane. I agree, sometimes heroines are a little too independent. Also it’s nice to see a hero who truly depends on his heroine. 🙂

  10. Maggi Andersen

    A heroine crying – for a good reason, makes her more human. I used to cry at the drop of a hat when young. I still can tear up watching a sad movie. 🙂

    • Barbara Monajem

      Hi, Maggi. Nice to know I’m not the only one who used to cry so easily.

  11. Barbara Monajem

    And the winner is — Janet G of Teatime and Books! Janet, I will contact you about your prize. Thanks for the reassurance, everyone. 🙂

  12. davisbk121

    I know the contest is over, but I wanted to comment anyway. Hope that’s ok. I don’t go to any sad movies anymore. I just can’t handle it. I cried for days after watching PS I Love You.