Paula looks at the ‘victims’ in our stories.
The dictionary definition of victim is “someone or something that has been hurt, damaged, or killed or has suffered, either because of the actions of someone or something else, or because of illness or chance.”
If we were writing crime novels, the ‘victim’ would probably be obvious, but if we look at the wider definition, we can see that characters in romance novels can also be victims.
They can, of course, be victims in an accident of some kind – a car crash, flood, or fire, or they can be victims of some form of physical abuse.
Other times a character can be the victim of anger, jealousy, lies, emotional blackmail, false accusations, or other ‘trouble-making’ by another person – an ex-lover (either the heroine’s or the hero’s), or someone with a grudge, or with their own agenda.
And, of course, characters can be the victims of their own inner issues e.g. self-doubt, misconceptions, false reasoning, lack of trust etc.
The important thing is that the hero/heroine are no longer victims by the end of the story. They have found a way to handle the victimisation and overcome it, or have developed inner strengths to deal with their own inadequacies. In this way, our characters will develop and learn more about themselves and other people.