Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Passing the Bechdel-Wallace test

When writing heterosexual Romance stories, especially shorter works like a novella, it can be difficult for a story to pass the Bechdel-Wallace test. After all, the plot arc is all about Our Hero and Our Heroine getting together for an HEA. Because of that, most of the conversations that happen in the story tend to revolve around characters and their goals. This means most, if not all conversations in a Romance novella will include or be about Our Hero.

I confess I haven't given it much thought until now, but in "FOR RICHER, FOR POORER" my characters have conversations about:

  • genealogy and family history
  • food
  • flowers
  • property development
  • storage and transportation of antiques
  • history

That alone lifts it a level from the usual conversational topics of a Romance novel.

I'm happy to say that my novella "FOR RICHER, FOR POORER" also passes the Bechdel-Wallace test with this conversation:

Francie turned to Beatrice and changed her tactics. She became soft-spoken, though she never lost the steel behind her voice. "My dear Miss Nottham," she began. "I know how much you love family history, especially something so important as this. I'm sure someone as knowledgeable as you has a preservation room…"

Beatrice gave her a startled look? Preservation room? Of course not. Then she quickly looked away, but too late. Francie must have seen her very thoughts on Beatrice's face, for the Englishwoman's smile eased into smooth triumph.

"…but I do question the conditions on the spaceplane. I doubt they will not be too kind to the poor tapestry. Something so old cannot be subjected to three Gees on takeoff and landing."

Beatrice's heart ached. Was Francie right? A spaceplane journey, which only took three hours instead of the usual nine or ten of an airplane flight, did suffer from an increase in gravitational pull as the plane accelerated up to the troposphere. Then, while at the top of the parabola there was the fun yet sometimes nauseating sense of weightlessness. Then there was the descent where the bottom of the parabola increased to three Gees before settling back to the normal one Gee at ground-level. Would the tapestry survive? Goodness knows the flight made her queasy.

Get FOR RICHER, FOR POORER by Heidi Kneale from The Wild Rose Press or wherever quality ebooks are sold.

Her Grace wonders, how important is topic diversity to you in a Romance novel?

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