In the long journey I took with my main character, Cat Rucker, the one that was most enlightening was discovering I was writing a character that many people would not initially like. Cat’s intensity, her tenuous grip on reality and her anger at the world was what made me love her and nurture her through her story, I was surprised when I heard people in workshops ask if I could make her less angry, if maybe she couldn’t drink so much.
I was told she was too intense, that what happened to her was something people didn’t want to deal with. Some said the brutality of her life was hard to take.
Of all the feedback I got the one that shocked me the most was that my main character was not a nice person.
I couldn’t help but wonder, if Cat Rucker was a man would anyone care?
This “nice” thing pushed a button in me, are our stories only valid if they are told in a nice way? What is nice anyway? Is it kind, loving, respectful, I can get next to that or is it code for something else. Is it a way of saying, you are too much, you are not apologetic enough about your feelings.
I define a heroine as a woman who is unapologetic about her feelings, who owns who she is and what she does, who struggles to transcend and embrace her upbringing, societies expectations and her own limitations. A woman who speaks her truth and respects others but has neither the time, interest or inclination to be "nice," especially when being human is so much more interesting.