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Too Stupid to Live

Marilynn Byerly

Readers of romance use the term "too stupid to live" (TSTL) to describe a character, usually the heroine, who does incredibly dumb things to further the plot.

These characters are equivalent to the scantily clad bimbo in a horror movie who leaves a perfectly good locked house to wander around outside bellowing, "Is anyone there?"

Of course, the really stupid or lazy person is the author who didn't bother to create a logical plot.

You're not sure if the heroine is too stupid to live? Here are some examples.

A heroine may be too stupid to live if she

  • Doesn't change her lock or improve security after a serial killer breaks in her home and leaves a threatening note. Nor does she consider staying elsewhere.
  • Sends her guards home after the so-far inept police decide they have captured the serial killer.
  • The heroine gets hot for the hero and does something about it when the bad guys are near.
  • The trained assassin is sneaking up on her professional bodyguard so the heroine, with no fighting training, attacks him herself rather than yelling a warning.
  • The "Full Moon Killer" is savaging locals. The creepy guy next door reeks of Nair, wears flea colors, and buys large boxes of Milk Bones although he doesn't own a dog, but the heroine isn't suspicious because "werewolves don't exist."
  • The heroine has an entire troop of bad guys after her, but she doesn't call in reinforcements, seek help from the police, or tell the hero she's in trouble.
  • She has the only copy of some incriminating documents, and she doesn't make copies, or put them in a safety deposit box in her bank. Instead, she leaves them in her apartment.
  • The heroine's blind date drinks really red Bloody Marys, has a bad overbite, and stares at her jugular vein instead of her large boobs, but she isn't suspicious because "vampires don't exist."
  • The bad guy asks her to meet him to exchange the documents for the hero, and she goes without back up or a weapon.
  • Bad guys are after the heroine so she picks high heels instead of running shoes because she'd rather die than be unfashionable.
  • The heroine starts a verbal battle with the hero while they are trying to sneak up on the bad guys.

THE END

Copyright 2008 by Marilynn Byerly

 

This article may be reproduced, but only with the permission of Marilynn Byerly (marilynnbyerly@aol.com). It must contain the byline and copyright information.

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