NaNoWriMo Writers: Let’s Kill the Everygirl Narrative This Year
NaNoWriMo is coming up! If you’re a planner, it’s time to develop your characters and get your plot in order. Even if you’re a pantser, you probably have a rough idea of the main character come November 1st.
Here’s a wild idea. Let’s refuse to create heroines in the Everygirl archetype that has seeped into novels across all genres — but is particularly pervasive in romance, YA, and fantasy.
Who Is Everygirl?
Everygirl is the starting point of every heroine at the beginning of the novel. Normal. The hero’s journey hasn’t yet begun. She hasn’t been chosen by destiny to grow and complete the story.
She could be you. She might be me. Because she could be any one of us, she sells. It’s an easy way to let the reader slip into the fantasy of taking over the character, discovering their glorious destiny, and have two impossibly hot men vie for their affections.
Everygirl usually gets assigned a hobby for depth. One she quickly abandons to spend more time with the hero or 2nd male lead.
Everygirl doesn’t communicate well. Her inexplicable ability to have a conversation about her feelings always leads to misunderstandings with the hero — which they’ll resolve in a chapter or so.
Everygirl starts out with the same skillset she’ll use to save the hero later. If she does acquire new skills through her journey, she has an innate affinity for them — mastering skills with less effort than it takes you to roll over and whack the snooze button.
The hero will inevitably come along and see something in Everygirl that he can’t define, but he loves her and only her. Sometimes it’s identified as innocence or naivete.
She’s always beautiful — but doesn’t think she’s beautiful. Her BFF sees it, of course. But she’s left with the same body insecurities everyone on the planet has.
Why Everygirl Is A Menace
Without the struggle to grow, the reader doesn’t change. The reader loses the opportunity to struggle with the heroine as she masters difficult skills, matures, and comes out of the story arc as a different person.