Bad Girls Make Good Copy

on March 16, 2014 in Misc

Sigmund Freud once asked with frustration, “What do women want?”

beck squareAccording to book sales we want Fifty Shades of Grey.  (This SO doesn’t include me.)  In which a young woman signs a contract that forces her to do bad sexual stuff with a gorgeous billionaire who can buy her all the designer shoes she wants.  (And you thought Cinderella was a silly fairy tale.)

According to suspense writer Lee Child, mega seller among women, we want justice and / or revenge.  And also please a passing-through-town handsome hero who takes a middle-aged woman as a lover and sees her for how wonderful she is.

Oh wait, that’s also the plot for the gazillion-selling Bridges of Madison County.

Finally, there are literary bestsellers like The Help and The Invention of Wings.  In which women rebel against nasty conformists and do what’s right and make the mean lady eat shit pie.  Literally.

Then there’s my elderly religious mother who called me up when she finished reading my second Charity MacCay manuscript and exclaimed, “I’m so glad Charity shot that man!”

Gee, Mom, thanks.  Glad you like the deadly part.

See, what I’m exploring in last week’s post and today’s is how most women secretly want to be sorta bad in a glamorous, sexy, power-wielding way.  NOT a trashy Lindsey Lohan way.  We want bad with class.

Oh sure, we admire saintly ladies like Mother Theresa and Jane Goodall.  But try marketing a book with a heroine like that.  When Angelina Jolie played a noble heroine in the movie A Mighty Heart, it did little business, but her bad-girl kick-ass movies have been hits.

The fact is, most women—and most men too—want a woman in a story to have a dark side.  Like Kate Beckinsale in those vamp-in-leather flicks (see photo above).  This is why Scarlet O’Hara is the heroine of Gone With the Wind and NOT nice innocent Melanie.

So I figure that to be good at marketing my upcoming books I’ve gotta go bad.  Emphasize why Charity is NOT always a lady.

This is where fiction meets reality.

8 Responses to “Bad Girls Make Good Copy”

  1. Bad with class!
    I know I want Kate in her black leather outfit.

  2. I totally agree about the “bad in a glamorous, sexy, power-wielding way.” Looking forward to reading Charity’s story.

  3. Helena says:

    Alex – Oh yeah, I knew you had a thing for Kate.

  4. Helena says:

    Carol – We wanna be bad with style!

  5. Nas says:

    Ah…sounds great! Love the bad girl with class theme.

  6. Helena says:

    Nas – As long as we have class, then we can’t be all bad.

  7. “Bad with class” is a good way to put it. I enjoy strong female leads, and I try to give my female characters opportunities to show what they’re made of.

  8. Helena says:

    Milo – And you write superb sci fi/horror stories. I find it striking how those genres usually have stronger and more gutsy women than most serious “literary” novels I come across.