Tuesday, May 6, 2014

How to be a YA Heroine

How to be a YA Heroine
(A semi-sarcastic guide)

(Obviously not all heroines are like this. Most are amazing and wonderful, but this is the stereotypical, overused heroine. We've all probably met her before.)

1. Be Completely Average

By average, we mean white, straight, cis, 100% physically and neurologically abled. Brown hair, green or brown eyes. You are the water, the white wall of society. Nothing special, nothing to notice. You may have up to one missing parent. If you choose to have both, don't mention them much. They're not important. They don't exist. Shhhhhh...

2. BUT- Don't be like the Other Girls 

The Other Girls, if you don't know them (you do, you're the only girl who isn't one of them), are a disgusting race of vapid, superficial cakefaced "girls". The wear skirts so short they could pass as- OMG- BELTS. Those revolting Other Girls. All they care about is boys. You are the only girl in the entire world that actually thinks about your grades or books. I mean, gosh, you drink TEA. Other Girls run entirely on Starbucks.

This is why you have so few friends. And those friends, well, they're just some of the better Other Girls. They don't matter much. You'd never waste page space with something as pointless as platonic relationships when you have HIM- but we'll get to that.

3. Have One to Two Diverse Friends

Obviously those evil PoC and/or LGBTQIAP+ people would KILL you if you didn't throw away some of the words you could describe HIM with to say 'Devon was gay'. So have one or two (no more) diverse friends. 

If your friend is a person of color: Describe them with phrases like 'coffee with lots of cream' or 'bronze'. This helps the reader to establish that they are objects or consumables, not actually important or human. Mention it once, ignore it later.

Saying your friend gets the ambiguous 'mocha' or 'coffee with lots of cream', do not actually elaborate as to their ethnicity. South Asian? Latina/o? West Pacific Islander? Who cares? You could have been describing HIM for all the words you took to vaguely state something about skin.

If your friend is LGBTQIAP+ (Just kidding, silly, it's only ever the G): They are white. First thing. You cannot be in two marginalized groups at once, that's common knowledge. They're guys, too. Only befriend sassy gay guys who wear scarves and talk with traditionally feminine characteristics of speech. This lets us know that they are gay. No straight man can wear a scarf, unless they use the magic chant to ward of its evils- "No homo no homo no homo no homo."

4. Meet HIM

The most pivotal part of any girl's life is meeting HIM (except those Other Girls- they're ugly, you hate them, and because of that they will never find love). He's perfect. He has abs. Did you see his eyes?! They're the color of a crisp autumn twilight sky with minimal cloud cover over a small town which has few artificial lights to cause light pollution. As soon as you see him, you know he's the one.

This isn't simple infatuation- oh, no- this is the rest of your life and plotline calling here. Waste no time to coo over how his face looks like it was carved by a Greek god, or how chiseled his jawline is. Before he speaks, have at least three paragraphs describing his eyes, two for his eyes, and one for the rest of his body.

His personality can be completely cardboard, all we need is your codependency with him. If he leaves to go to the bathroom, cry. Throw a fit. He LEFT you. It's not his fault, though. Nothing is his fault. He is perfect. He has perfect hair and teeth like a military cemetery. And when he smiled, you fell instantly in love.

5. Find Your Rival

She, however, is going to get in the way. By 'she', I mean the queen of the Other Girls. She has the laugh of a hyena and the proportions of a Barbie Doll. Also, she hates you. A lot. You may have been friends, but then over the summer she got hot and you stayed not.

She plans to steal your beloved Love Interest. Due to your and her love for him, you guys butt heads a lot. It's sad, though, because she only loves him for his body and you love him for his body and your freaky symbiotic relationship.

She is the scum of the Earth. Do not forget.

6. Assert Your Dominance

You are the most important person other than HIM in the book. You have to stay on top. You could, of course, achieve this by being a proactive character and having an interesting personality. But isn't just so much easier to make sure you're better than everyone else?

If you see a girl and call her pretty, point out a flaw that you don't have. Yeah, she looks nice, but her hair's a mess. You always brush your hair. Or maybe you don't. You're flawless, you don't have to. And them? They're funny, but their grades are terrible. Your grades are perfect. You are perfect. Only HE can be more perfect than you.

Even friends should be subjected to this. Wouldn't want to think that your confectionery-skinned buddy was prettier or nicer or smarter than you! Now that you've found HIM all your friends talk about how hot he is. You find this acceptable, but you still quietly chuckle about how boy crazy they are. You're not. Your boyfriend and you have just happened to join skins or whatever.

7. Throw Yourself in Harm's Way

While your readership no doubt cares about HIM and how you can kiss five times a paragraph, your story needs a bit of spicing up. Injuries are a perfect way to do that. Get hit by a car. Go into a coma for three days. Faint, wake up a week later, and sustain no serious brain damage or long-term health affects (like dying). Get MRSA! Spell it Mersa because, by golly, you can! Recover from Mersa. It only took two weeks or so, and neither of those weeks were covered in text or will ever be mentioned again. However, you bulked up the story by a chapter or two, so it was pretty good.

8. Learn How to Lie

No matter the genre, you're going to lie. A lot. And while it's nice that your family has absolutely zero sense of deception and will let you get away with anything, you've got to lie convincingly. Or non-convincingly. Maybe your voice squeaks and you shake and you sigh in relief as soon as they agree with whatever you said. They'll never notice.

Also, if you need to go someplace, just say you're going to the library. Doesn't matter that you're not going to come back with a book. You might "go" there every day and not once return with a book. Parents don't see this kind of thing.

9. Suddenly Remember the Plot

In the last forty pages, remember that you actually came here for a reason. Finish what you were doing. End with a kiss.


(Might do YA heroes next. Anyone catch the WTNV reference? I felt kind of bad about it, because WTNV has, like, romantic development and an interesting story to tell. And I compared it to Miss Heroine here. Oh well.)
 (Added because I can.)

1 comment:

  1. Whenever I read these tropes, I have to remember that these are grown-up and supposedly mature adult-aged people writing YA. The mind boggles. Do they think that real young adults really act like this? Is this their attitude when they were young adults? Do they really have no regrets??