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Flo Fitzpatrick

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To Stupid to Live? Ouch
2/9/2011 8:35:48 AM

"To Stupid to Live"

I truly hate this particular comment – used most often by a breed of “reviewers” who have determined that because they can read they can automatically review with the same skill as a seasoned editor. Perhaps the first time someone used To Stupid to Live it might have been witty or cute. Let me stress - Perhaps. (When one has taught kids and watched the look on a little face when one child yells “you moron” at another, the phrase ‘too stupid to live’ gives you a kick in your heart forever.) Ask any author. When one’s heroine is given this TSTL label - even posted in a review by an anonymous blogger – it hurts.

Apparently all our heroines should have IQ’s over 160. Yet the fact is heroines often let the heart lead. Shoot, don’t we all at one time or another? Most heroines, unless they have serious trust issues to begin with, are not going to meet someone they hope is their soul mate and immediately surmise, “Hmm. This guy is obviously a serial killer.” (If she did, there probably wouldn’t be a plot.)

Want to play a game? Here’s an imaginary review from an equally imaginary Blogger we’ll name, I.M. SoSmart. Ready? Here’s SoSmart’s review: “This heroine is an idiot. She’s mousy and wimpy. She’s off on a holiday with her employer – she’s acting as a paid companion – and she up and marries this guy she’s known for about a week. It’s obvious this guy has more secrets than the deodorant aisle. So, they’re married, they go his place, the heroine is completely cowed by the staff, especially his demented housekeeper, she keeps getting in deeper and deeper by making dumb mistakes and falling into traps any moron could see coming and she finally learns her new husband probably was a murderer. JEEZ! Any decent heroine would have picked up on this guy day one and run. The girl is definitely Too Stupid to Live!”

So – did y’all guess the book? Rebecca, the classic by Daphne Du Maurier.

Here’s another. I’ll do this one as a blurb rather than a review. “Southern Belle falls for wishy-washy Southern aristocrat and does everything she can to nab him, blinding her to the truth about her true love, a somewhat shady rebel who put the S in Swagger and the R. in Rogue.”

Yes, folks, I’m talking about Miss Scarlet – not in the library with Col. Mustard and a revolver, but on the plantation with Mr. Rhett Butler. A feistier heroine would be hard to find. But, in the minds of many of the the Smart Heroines Only breed reviewers, she’d be dismissed as Too Stupid to Live because - let’s face it - didn’t we ALL know Ashley Wilkes was wrong from her from his first entrance?

Just when did “stupidity” become a sin? Look at a male hero, Harry Potter. (And before I get to Harry why is it that only female heroines seem to get the TSTL label? ) Young Mr. Potter overcomes evil through love and through courage and through loyalty and a desire for justice - seldom does he use his intellect for solving problems and he often gets into terrible life-threatening situations by procrastinating (Ex. Goblet of Fire - waiting forever to get the answer to the under-water egg riddle) or being unable to figure out a puzzle his buddy Hermoine grasps within seconds. Bless J.K. Rowling for creating such a wonderful character; someone kids can admire for making use of qualities one can discover within oneself rather than making him a genius.

Genetics does usually decree one’s certain intelligence. But no matter the IQ, one can learn how to be loyal to a friend, how to stand up for another, or for oneself, how to tell the difference between right and wrong, how to love and accept love. No great brainpower required, just the desire to be a better person.
So - how about a new phrase? GTCL
“Glad this character lives.”

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More Blogs by Flo Fitzpatrick
• Writers Who Care - Tuesday, December 20, 2011
• A WRiters Work - Monday, December 05, 2011
• Tell Me a Story! - Tuesday, October 25, 2011
• A Gentle Ghost Story - Sunday, October 09, 2011
• I Got a Name - Part Two - Saturday, April 16, 2011
• Self- E and POD versus Trad - Wednesday, March 23, 2011
• More Dialogue Tips for Writers - Friday, March 18, 2011
• How I Spent Spring Break (A Cautionary Tale) - Wednesday, March 16, 2011
• I got a Name - Friday, March 11, 2011
• Want to help name a book? - Tuesday, March 08, 2011
• Spring Break - Break! - Saturday, March 05, 2011
• Dialogue Tips for Writers - Wednesday, February 23, 2011
• Writing Tip - Singing -Keep it OFF the Page - Tuesday, February 15, 2011
• Respect - A Writing Nudge - Friday, February 11, 2011
•  To Stupid to Live? Ouch - Wednesday, February 09, 2011  

• Writer's Tip - Know Thyself - Tuesday, February 08, 2011
• "Risky" Business - Sunday, February 06, 2011

Electra: A Gender Sensitive Study of the Plays Based on the Myth by Batya Casper

In this book, I studied the deep structure of the Electra myth and applied it to plays as early as those of Aeschylus,Sophocles and Euripides, through Shakespeare's Romeo and Julie..  
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