Ways to Torment a Heroine Challenge

What happens when a fame whore of an ex drops a famous ballerina on a popular reality T.V. show, breaks her ankle, ruins her career, then blames her average-sized chest for it all?

I love reading stories where characters are put through the ringer, where a laced up heroine ends up face down in the mud, where characters learn about themselves through situations they least expected.

In my debut novel, KNOCK OUT, releasing on December 2nd, Logan Rettino is forced to make a 180 degree career change, hanging up her ballet slippers for an MMA ring card–which takes some getting used to, especially with six-feet-two of oh-so-sexy MMA fighter standing between her and her future plans.

I thought it would be fun to list ten “torment the heroine” challenges I think would be horrible for any character to face, and yet a hilarious to read.


Ten Horrible Circumstances a Heroine Should NEVER Encounter

1. Get Trashed by an Ex – “Oh, no, he didn’t!”  All the juicy details of their relationship abuzz on every social media outlet, where he looks like the injured party and she looks downright ridiculous.

2. Give Up a Career She Loves for One Less “Suitable” – Like poor Logan, who one minute is dancing at the Lincoln Center and is the most beloved contestant on America Gets Its Groove On, and the next minute–viola!—an MMA ring card girl. Really?

3. Be Forced to Eat Brussel Sprouts – Sautéed, baked, mashed, barbequed, incognito or plated in any fashion.



4. Have the Hero Discover Her Wearing a Headless Beaver Suit – This one is a shout out to the fabulous Susan Elizabeth Phillips, where her heroine in A Natural Born Charmer is discovered wearing exactly that. Hilarious!

5. Have Her Sexy Lingerie–or Worse, Her Very Unsexy Lingerie—On View for the World To See – Whether she’s wearing it or its strewn along a major interstate highway like a naughty trail of breadcrumbs. I’ll keep you posted on the status of this one!

6. Wake Up Next To “What’s His Name?” – Her house, her bed, and so not her boyfriend, ex, or guy she last remembered talking to before that final shot of tequila kicked in.

7. Sit Through Dinner With Mr. Obnoxious – You’ve heard how he dislikes fat chicks, how much he pays in taxes—a substantial amount because his salary is THAT enormous—how impressed he is with his wonderfully humble-like-a-pit-bull self.

8. Have the Date of Her Dreams Only to Discover An Unidentified Object Wedged Between Her Teeth – Every woman alive can relate to some version of this one!


9. Leave Unforeseeable Evidence Behind As She Makes a Fast Exit – Empty shot glasses, a broken heel, her leopard print undies. She’s in too much of a hurry to make it out of his bed before he wakes up.

10. Faster than A Bullet Train, Have Fame Twist into Notoriety in Five Seconds Flat – In Knock Out, Logan’s ex makes her out to be the most notoriously buxom ballerina to ever grace the stage—why else would he drop her? The lying cheat! It’s a story about heroine’s struggle to survive the low blows in life, and who comes out a better person because of it. And, don’t worry, Logan plans on getting sweet revenge.

So, how would you torment a heroine? What is the most HORRIBLE circumstance she has to overcome? Everyone is invited to comment!

Until next time, have a wonderful, disaster-free, month while I continue working on putting another heroine through the ringer.

For more information about my debut novel, KNOCK OUT, please visit my website: www.michelemannon.com


Leave a comment


  1. Great post! I love number seven. So many scenarios running through my head on that conversation! I once had a heroine in a short story be forced to babysit her toddler niece..on News Years Day, snowed in…and she hated kids. Diaper duty and baby-proofing the house was fun to write as she trudged along, griping the whole time. The character was “loosely” based on my own niece (who swears the only kids she actually likes..err..tolerates, are my own). Cannot wait to read Knock Out!
    Happy Monday!

  2. Mia

     /  October 28, 2013

    Hello Michele,

    The Viscount Who Loves Me by Julia Quinn the heroine, Kate, had to hide under a desk while the viscount was seducing his mistress. Kate by accident walked into the wrong room and not to be caught she ducks under the desk. And yes the Viscount does see her and sparks do fly.
    I can’t wait until Knock Out releases. I wish you many sales and a happy release day.

    • Oh yes, I remember that one, Mia. Julia Quinn is a master at tormenting her heroines, too! I can’t imaging a more awful, and awkward, situation! Thanks for commenting. Cheers, Michele

  3. First of all, I LOVE brussels sprouts! Now, if you replace the brussels sprouts with liver….

    With #1, I might add video evidence of the heroine in an embarrassing sexual situation. That might be my worst nightmare!

    I love that you drag your heroine from the rarefied world of ballet to being a ring card girl. I can just imagine all of the fallout that ensues. I can’t wait until it releases in December!

    • Diana, one word for brussel sprouts, even in disguise (bacon) . . . Y.U.C.K. I’d eat liver before them, really. I ordered a dinner dish – Pate – in a fancy restaurant in Paris one time. Fully expected a Fois Gras, and instead was served . . . jello-wobbly liver. Clearly my French wasn’t as great as I had thought. Still, I’d take jello-fied liver over brussel sprouts.

      Video evidence of any embarrassing situation would be horrific, but a sexual one. Horrible.

      Cheers, Michele

    • Diana,
      I like brussel sprouts too (but I didn’t want to admit)…glad you did! If they are sauteed with a little balsamic and olive oil in a pan carmelized a bit….yum. Liver??!?!…never…ever…ever..tastes like an old shoe (or what I think would taste like an old shoe)..YUK. This post is so fun. Now back to WIP.
      🙂 Nicole

  4. What fun, Michele! I think #5 is my favorite.
    I do love embarrassing my characters. In a fun scene from my WIP, my heroine gets a little carried away kissing the hero on an elevator. When they reach their floor, they’re greeted by the heroine’s sisters, who are quite amused and let the heroine know it. Minor, compared to your list, but fun none-the-less.
    Looking forward to Knock Out when it comes out in December!

    • Hi Emma, Depending on the situation, being caught kissing in an elevator by your sisters could be a total disaster! Sounds mortifying. I’m wondering how long the doors were opened before your heroine realized, given she got carried away! Thanks for commenting. Cheers, Michele

  5. You are wrong about brussel sprouts. They just need BACON. I’ll make them for you once and you’ll be a convert. 🙂

  6. The heroine of my next story gets caught in a compromising situation by a family member. The same heroine gets caught multiple times with her top down (and I don’t mean convertible). Fun post, Michele.

  7. Maria, With her top down . . . now that’s horrible once, but multiple times. I can’t wait to read it. Cheers, Michele

  8. RoseAnn DeFranco

     /  October 28, 2013

    Michele I LOVE this list and can’t wait to read KNOCK OUT. This list is on fire and so are you. The heroine in RETURN TO AUDUBON SPRINGS takes a fall into a flower bed and lands right on her backside seconds before laying eyes on the hero for the first time in three years. I’m all for physical comedy at the heroines expense.

    I’m on the fence with brussel sprouts. I’m pretty sure the bacon would make me a believer.

  9. RoseAnn, Sounds like your heroine was falling for her guy, literally! Cute. And awkward. I think we’ll have to have a brussel sprouts “fear factor” kind of gathering!!!

  10. Jenna Blue

     /  October 30, 2013

    I want to wave like Horschact (sp? /Welcome Back, Kotter). Oooh ooooh! I know number 5!!! And can’t wait for the rest of you to read it!
    I am going to skip answering the question because apparently I treat my heroines truly horribly (not embarrassed, but endangered!). Love these comments though!!!
    Fantastic post, Michele! Your funny, wonderful, sassy “voice” shines through!

  11. Jenna, I think we need to do a post about what to do with secondary characters, based on what happens to one of yours in the Runaway. I still think it’s a classic!!!

    Cheers, Horschact!!! Michele

  12. Well, Michele, I have number 5 in my current WIP, lol! How about, have heroine get caught in a rain storm and her expensive wool clothing virtually shrink-wraps her as it dries, becoming two sizes too small in the process. Enter hero.

    Oooh, I could have so much fun thinking up scenarios. 😉



Talk Back to the Femmes....

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Recent Releases by the Femmes

  • JB Schroeder

  • Joanna Shupe

  • Tina Gabrielle

  • Maria K. Alexander

  • Michele Mannon

  • Diana Quincy

  • RoseAnn DeFranco

  • The Femmes:

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 13,638 other subscribers
  • Top Posts & Pages

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Stuff

%d bloggers like this: