I’m currently staying in Arizona, anticipating attendance at a writers’ conference later this week. I have been having a great time, and the Catfish-I-Haven’t-Met is now the Friend-Who-Really-Exists. My travel was uneventful, the hurricane stayed out of my pocket of Florida in my absence, and I am so relaxed right now I can’t even get worked up over the Saints loss to the Vikings. In short, life is good.
Which is why it’s time for another Reader Rant.
My reading preferences cross a lot of genres, but I really enjoy romance, fantasy, supernatural and mysteries. Bonus points if they are combined (I’m envisioning Arrested by the Alien Vampire right now, and it’s amazing. Someone should totally write this. Or just design the cover, which would be filled with blue muscles and a look of utter adoration on the face of the alien as he gazes at the woman he’s hauling down to the station.)
Ahem. Anyway, one of my chief complaints over the years has been a lack of variety in the protagonists’ careers, and while all of the genres are guilty of this transgression, I’m looking right at you, Contemporary Romance. Why, in this day and age, are the men still magazine publishing tycoons and the women working as executive assistants? And why is ‘bada$$ ninja sniper’ the only alternative to this?
Too many authors treat the protagonists’ means of making a living as an afterthought. They choose to focus on the story and the action, and relegate the job to the background. I get this, but it’s lazy. Most people spend an awful lot of their time at their job, and the standard work week in the USA is considered to be 40 hours a week minimum. Many of us work more hours than that, so how does that not impact the story itself? And is the CEO/Admin pairing really the only possible way you can imagine them spending time together?
I took my rant to a friend last year, where I commented that I was so thrilled to read something the other day where the heroine worked in a grocery store AND THE HERO DIDN’T ‘SAVE’ HER from this terrible job. The author treated her protagonist’s work situation as perfectly acceptable, because people who stock produce need love, too. The author also understood that ‘success’ is not defined by your job. A Fortune 500 CEO is no more ‘successful’ than an electrician.
Somewhere in this discussion arose the need for a ‘what career should my novel’s heroine have?’ flow-chart. The bean-counter in me prefers a matrix over a flow-chart (nice, orderly boxes!), so I’m offering up some employment suggestions to get you started. Please note that since men are stereotyped as much as women, most of these careers would be a refreshing change for either one.
A brief preview is listed down below; the expanded version is available here: All in a Day’s Work
|Office||Secretary, CEO||Director of Business Development||Facilities Maintenance||Collections Agent|
|Airport||Flight Attendant, Pilot||CEO, Airport Authority Procurement Board||Baggage Handler||Federal Air Marshal|
|Newspaper & Magazines||Journalist, Photographer||Production Manager||Distribution||Press Operator|
|Places with Food||Chef, Bakery Owner||Franchise Owner||Inventory Stocker||Food Safety Inspector|
|Places with Drinks||Bartender, Barista||Brewer||Beverage Delivery||Bouncer|