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What Can't a Hero/Heroine Do?

Time for a pop quiz.

Get your pencil and as fast as you can (you get points for speed!) answer the following questions.

Can a romantic hero/heroine:

drive a pickup truck?

drive a garbage truck?

kiss someone besides the hero/heroine?

make love with someone other than the hero/heroine?

be a bank robber?

write a bad check?

write a series of bad checks?

be an unwed parent?

give a child up for adoption?

be a con artist?

kill someone?

steal from petty cash?

embezzle from his/her father's business?

kill an animal?

strike a spouse?

serve time in prison?

kidnap someone?

commit armed robbery?

desert a child?

have an abortion? 


If you finished in less than five minutes, reward yourself with two chocolate chip cookies (or other similar vice).

For each "YES!" award yourself one chocolate chip cookie.

For each "NO!" take away one chocolate chip cookie.

And if your answer to each question was, "IT DEPENDS," you get the whole bag of cookies and a break to drive to the store for another one.

When you get back, though, work through the list again. For each question, write a one-sentence explanation about what circumstances would make this particular action by a hero or a heroine possible, understandable, and sympathetic to a reader.

Possible answers

(These suggestions are possibilities only and are not suggested as the right answers or best options. They are intended to stimulate your thinking.)

Can a romantic hero/heroine:

drive a pickup truck? Sure, especially if living on a farm or a ranch, if it's borrowed, or if it's a business vehicle.

drive a garbage truck? "Borrowing" it to chase the bad guy; the hero owns the garbage business; hero or heroine is under cover watching the neighborhood.

kiss someone besides the hero / heroine? As an experiment to check out the feelings.

make love with someone other than the hero / heroine? Unlikely after becoming seriously involved with the hero or heroine, unless convinced that the significant love is dead.

be a bank robber? An agent working under cover.

write a bad check? Accidentally. Knowingly, with the intention of covering it (but it turns out the money's inaccessible through no fault of the individual's).

write a series of bad checks? Testing a partner's trustworthiness.

be an unwed parent? Of course.

give a child up for adoption? Yes, if it's established that the reason was for the good of the child, not the convenience of the birth parent, and if there was no viable alternative which would allow the parent to keep the child.

be a con artist? If it's more in the nature of a practical joke than a scam which defrauds people. Every good hero has a bit of con artist in him.

kill someone? In self-defense, in war, or to protect a loved one.

steal from petty cash? If it's the only source of enough cash to buy bread for a starving child.

embezzle from his/her father's business? To test an employee; to protect the father from fraud (beat the bad guy to the money, with the intention of returning it once the bad guy is defeated).

kill an animal? If hunting for food.

strike a spouse? To prevent a greater harm -- that is, knocking out the heroine so the hero can carry her to safety.

serve time in prison? If not guilty of the offense charged.

kidnap someone? The bad guy, in order to prove a case. The hero or heroine, to force a confrontation/discussion (though not with violence).

commit armed robbery? To defeat a larger evil--the undercover cop establishing himself with the gang of bad guys in order to bring them down.

desert a child? If it can be established that it's for the good of the child--e.g., a child has been given up for adoption, the birth parent finds the child but concludes that leaving the child in the established family would be better for the child than reclaiming him.

have an abortion? If it's in the past rather than the current story; if the fetus was genetically doomed to a horrible life.

This exercise is copyrighted material and is offered for the individual's own use. Further distribution or sale is not permitted without permission of the copyright holder. Copyright 2013 Leigh Michaels. 

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