Discussion: Where are Today’s Heroines?


I recently read a blog entry by a friend of mine (who is a beautifully eloquent writer) called The Death of a Heroine. In her post, she addresses how characters – particularly females – in the YA genre tend to wade on the shallow end of the life. While I don’t believe this goes for all new books these days, or even most,Β  I admit I’ve found myself asking the same question before. In her blog, Kolsen questions whether these surface level characters are a mirror of our modern day culture. She also voices her belief that even young people yearn for heroes and heroines who dare to break beyond superficiality.

So my question to you: Have you noticed this trend as well? If so, what are your thoughts?

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6 thoughts on “Discussion: Where are Today’s Heroines?

  1. I agree completely. I write adult fiction, and the problem crosses into those genres, as well. Publishers are publishing “safe” books, because they need to sell more books to keep up in this economy and they can’t afford to offend anyone. I can see how this would be true even moreso in the YA market. And maybe it’s also because readers are looking to books as an escape now more than ever, and they want feel-good stories that don’t require a lot of thought. With information constantly at our fingertips (thank you Google!) we’ve lost the art of processing information, I think. And with all the media and advertising telling us what to think and how to feel, I think it has resulted in a sense of shallowness in our culture today, so this is what makes it on paper and this is what people want to read.

  2. Ah, great. My YA novel is full of everything Holly just said YA readers aren’t looking for. This saddens me, because as a YA once, this is exactly WHY I wrote my story: I couldn’t find anything like it, and as a young person, I wanted to start learning about the world from a YA perspective. Hopefully the market is one day ready for realistic fiction.

    P.S. My main character is stuck in the shallow end of life, but only because she so desperatly wants to help those around her find something better. Does this still count? Haha, I think so. Oh well.

    • I’m dealing with the same thing! My book has gotten rejected (a lot!) because it is too realistic. And I wrote it that way because I wanted to do something different. But I’m still holding out hope that there are enough deep thinkers still out there that want an honest read that makes them think! You just have to find the right agent or editor who will take a chance on it…still looking for mine! Fingers crossed!

  3. I agree completely with the comments above. The internet age has ushered in an era where we can have a great deal of breadth, but no depth. The books you have written will of no doubt be of interest to many people, but publishers are interested (as far as I can tell), only in mass-market appeal. Perhaps the answer is to market your books as shallower than they are. For example Phillip Pullmans ‘Dark Materials’ books are not really just childrens’ books in my opinion, but that is how they were marketed, hot on the heels of Harry Potter. Its just an idea, I am not exactly sure how you would do what I’m suggesting in practice, but if you crack it I would be most interested in how you did it!

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