Ever been asked this by someone you’ve just met at a party or an event? I have. Too many times to count. My usual response is, “As little as possible.” Snarky, I know, but hey…it works for me.
When it comes to what your characters do in life – specifically your heroines – there’s a wide range of fun and exciting occupations you can give them these days. Gone is the literary era where a woman could only be four things in a romance novel: a nurse, a teacher, a nanny, or a secretary. Not that those aren’t noble and good occupations. I’m a nurse, so I know that. But nowadays, to grab a reader and keep them occupied throughout your 200 plus page story, you need to be creative.
The world is wide open for our female characters, and hopefully gets wider every day we are on the planet. There are more jobs and careers open to women now than at any other time in our history. And girls are going for it. They are smashing through that glass ceiling and coming through stronger, more united, and better educated than their mothers and grandmothers.
The gals in my stories usually have some kind of artistic bent. I like the way the artistic brain looks at the world. They’ve been professional photographers, portraits artists, murder/mystery writers, sculptors, and chefs. But I’ve also written stories where my female lead was a precog psychic who helped the police find missing children. One novel involves an FBI profiler who has intelligence off the chart, but can’t cook worth a damn or even program her computer. One’s even a veterinarian.
As women forge forward in the corporate world ( Lean In, girls!) you can devise any kind of career from CEO of her own company, CFO of a huge foreign conglomerate, head of the IT devision, or even make her in charge of a military operation. Doctors, lawyers, politicians. All are there for the taking for your female leads.
The basic premise behind the romance – boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl – stays the same. So why keep your heroines in the same occupations we’ve seen forever?
Here’s a brief ( 2000+) list of occupations to peruse. Find one that fits with your heroine.
And don’t forget: no matter what job/occupation/career you give your girl, the cake of the story is the romance. The career is the frosting.
What kind of careers/jobs/occupations do your female leads have? Let me know and we can discuss!