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Mickey J. Corrigan on writing Bad Girls!


Writing About Bad Girls

Call me strange, but I enjoy writing about bad girls. Crazy women who drink too much, talk trash about other people, tell raunchy jokes, and refuse to conform to cultural expectations. Girls who sleep too late and sleep with too many men. Women who love the wrong guys, wear the wrong clothes, and get under everyone else's skin.

Perhaps because I was always a good girl, if a bit wild at times, such characters appeal to me. You know the type: their tops are too tight, they chug shots of Wild Turkey at the bar, they laugh too loudly and they screw around—sometimes with your guy. The kind of women we all like to hate. In real life, I kind of hate them too. Yet, they intrigue me. And I love to write about them.

In books, good girls bore me. Bad girls give me hope. Why? Because they represent change. Bad girls are breaking out of socially defined roles, and living as independent operators. (And oh, how some of these women operate!) Bad girls exemplify the existence of freedom of choice for the individual, rather than the group-think indulged in by the everyday card-carrying members of the good girl class.

And I include myself in the category of stereotyped nice girl. But not when I write fiction.

My most recent novella, Me Go Mango, features an out of control woman who is making a whole lot
of bad choices. Erin has recently left her cheating husband and, instead of working on her novel and getting her life back together, she's drinking too much cheap wine and wallowing in self-pity. When Ellen, an old roommate, offers to host a reunion with two of their college friends to provide some necessary emotional support, Erin leaves South Florida for a girls' weekend in Vermont. There, she continues to misbehave. She is less grateful than critical of the friends who are trying to help her, including Ellen, who has so generously paid for the get-together in the green mountains. Instead, Erin focuses on the petty, she drinks too much and acts like a fool. But she's not the only one who acts out among friends. The others also go a little wild, drinking excessively, weeping uncontrollably, coughing up painful secrets, and occasionally indulging in jealousy-fueled catfighting.

Think Bridesmaids meets The Hangover in small town Vermont.

But there's a hot chef in town, and eventually Erin's bitterness begins to smooth out. This is accomplished with the assistance of her friends, both old and new. To say any more would be to spoil the story.

We romance readers love us our bad boys. But we do not like bad girls. Not in life, not in romance fiction. In fact, some readers appear to find the antics of not so nice girls upsetting, even disturbing.

This fascinates me. As a female, I have spent and continued to spend a lot of quality and non-quality time with other females, both intimate friends and groups of acquaintances. I know how women behave around one another. And the truth is, we are catty, petty, emotional, and badly behaved. Sometimes. Put us in a hotel away from home, add some close friends we haven't seen in a while, pour a generous amount of alcohol on the situation—and add a dollop of sexual frustration—and things can very easily spiral out of control.

Yet, women often get their emotional needs met in this type of setting. A shoulder to cry on, a good hearty laugh, and a well-aimed jab or two from someone who knows you well can be psychologically healing. At least in my own experience, hanging with the girls means getting down to the nitty-gritty, arguing between giggle fits, pissing one another off and shoring one another up. And usually running out of Kleenex. Such bonding experiences are some of the most important and memorable of my life.

However, it seems that women (and sometimes men) tend to disapprove when reading about or watching other women behaving badly. Here are some criticisms about the movie Bridesmaids: "extra rude," "extremely vulgar," "I couldn't find anyone worth liking." One movie reviewer advised viewers that the onscreen "characters go to pretty dark places, so much so you may feel compelled to shake them from their funk and give them a big hug." The film proved quite popular, however, and many viewers did like watching a talented all-female cast be funny in ways normally reserved for men, including gross-out humor, physical pratfalls and I Love Lucy stunts. Movie-goers who did not try to sympathize with the characters enjoyed this rowdy chick-buddy flick.

Maybe I'm too much of a realist for my own good, but I'm intrigued by women with a dark side. And I like to write about women who dare to explore this part of the self—honestly, openly, and with a lot of easy humor. In fact, I wished the characters in Bridesmaids acted more like the guys in Hangover: I wanted the girls to stop worrying about who the bride's real best friend was and fly off to Vegas, fall in and out of love with the wrong people, steal a wild animal from a local celebrity, and totally screw up. In fact, they could have been more bad, in my opinion. After all, the Hangover guys' behavior was much worse than the Bridesmaids', yet Hangover Part III was recently released in theaters nationwide.

I hope I've created a good story in Me Go Mango. There's a lot of humor and some hot sex, problems to be solved and passion to be indulged. I've even included some of my favorite mango recipes. So, even if you don't approve of what the girls are up to, maybe you'll go for the Mango Flan, Mango Coconut Chutney, or delicious Mango Guacamole.

I'd love to hear what romance readers (and writers) have to say on this subject.

***

Mickey J. Corrigan lives in South Florida, where the men run guns and the women run after them.
Down in the lurid tropics, there are lots of bad girls around, providing this writer with much inspiration. Her novellas include the Matrix-like cyber-romance Dream Job (Breathless Press, 2102), the financial crime romantic comedy BabyShares (Secret Cravings, 2013), Professional Grievers, a second chance romance about people who attend funerals, and Geekus Interruptus (Noble, 2013), a romantic farce about being married to a geek. The novel Sugar Babies will be released in the fall. Visit at www.mickeyjcorrigan.com.

14 comments:

  1. I totally get what you're saying about "bad girls." I think a bad girl character would be fun to write about and fun to read about.

    And you are oh-so right. Women can be every bit as raunchy as men. Sometimes even more so. Back in the Dark Ages, when my hubby turned forty, I threw a party, and hired a gal from Western Onion, I think it was called, to do a routine. Sort of a stripper, but more funny than anything. The men watched and enjoyed, but it was strictly hands off, and nothing inappropriate was said. Shortly thereafter, my hubby threw ME a forthieth party, complete with male performer. Let's just say the women seemed to (ahem) get a lot more "into" it than the men did...

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    1. That's hilarious! And true--certainly my friends get down and dirty when we're together without the boys.

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  2. I've written a bad girl or two. And they are fun to write. I've also known some in real life. Much less fun there, for the most part.

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    1. Yes, not fun much of the time to be around, but interesting to observe in full drama mode.

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  3. Not only do you write about bad girls, you do it very well. Good luck with the new title.

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  4. I think bad girls would be so much fun to write. Your novella sounds great!

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    1. It is definitely fun.

      And thanks for the comment.

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  5. I like writing bad girls, too. Or good girls finally letting go, or regular girls being the friends who hold the former two together. There are so many facets to explore. Good luck with your books!
    Tina @ Life is Good

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    1. Thank you. Good luck with your bad girls!

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  6. Bad girls certainly would make interesting protagonists. I bet it's fun for you to write about them!

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    1. It is fun. I also like writing about good girls who have had ENOUGH and go bad.

      We can all relate, even if it's only in fantasy.

      Thanks for reading!

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  7. My comment is not so much about bad girls as it is about the way you write. I absolutely love your writing. I just finished reading Whiskey Sour and couldn't put my kindle down. It was that good!

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    1. THANK YOU!! I just read this today and it made my day! So sorry I didn't get to thank you earlier.

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