Would You Be TSTL?

April 5, 2011 at 6:43 pm 12 comments

My biggest–and I mean BIGGEST–pet peeve in a romance is when my heroine is TSTL.  Meaning? Too Stupid To Live.  You know what I’m talking about here.  The heroine who you just hope will fall off a cliff and die, thus leaving you alone with that fine specimen of man-flesh, who is Too Hott and Cool To Die.

Oh the TSTL characters.  They drive me crazy.  But see sometimes I wonder….if my life were a romance…would readers think I am TSTL? Would I be voted off the island? Made to walk the plank into shark filled waters? Tied to the train tracks while my hero was off being way smarter than me? Oh. My. God. What if I am???

Great, Just Great! I am a TSTL Heroine!

Better yet, in the romance novel that is your life…what if you are TSTL?  Would you know?  My friend Ria was like, “I wish I could poll the audience about my life. That way I would know whether I should be with someone or be doing something else!”  Life would be easier if you could read the Goodreads account of your story, but alas, unless you write your own autobiography, you really can’t skip ahead to the spoilers.  However, to help you find your way, I decided to make a handy quiz.  So dearest reader, are you TSTL? Take my quiz to find out!

1. Opps. You’ve been caught in the middle of a shootout, and your hunky hero whips out his Big Gun. You…

A. Run after him, this putting both of your lives in danger.

B. Stay right where he left you, thank you very much.

C.  Get caught because you just had to try to “help!  Thus forcing him to come to your rescue.

2. Someone is stalking you. Bummer. Thank God your beau is a cop. He tells you to not go ANYWHERE alone. So you…

A. Stay inside your house, only leaving to get your mail and paper.

B. Find some saucy ways to keep boredom at bay with your man. After all you can’t be alone…

C. Ignore him. Duh! What does this super sexy cop know anyway. I am a kindergarten teacher. I know how to care for myself. Thus forcing him to once more save your worthless hide.

3. You’ve been framed for murder.  It’s just not your week.  Luckily, sexy cop believes you and the two of you run away to clear your name. You…

A. Call your mom to tell her your safe before going into hiding.

B. Follow your cop’s lead, dye your hair, and try to remain as inconspicuous as possible.

C. Use your credit card at the local diner, go on a shopping spree, and stay at your home.  After all, you didn’t do it.

Okey doke.  Done with the quiz? Collected your answers?  Good.

If you answered all A’s, then you are ATSTL–Almost Too Stupid To Live.  Sure you do some pretty dumb things, but I’m sure you have (what you think are) valid reasons for being a little silly.  Thankfully, your story wouldn’t be instantly shelved.  Sigh of relief.  No, we will give you another chance to redeem yourself.  Just try to think before you act–meaning never call your mother while on the run as calls can be traced in romance novels. Duh.  But we will forgive you, because you and the sex-on-a-stick hero have sizzling chemistry and you mean well.

If you answered all B’s, then CONGRATULATIONS. You are one smart cookie.  Following your man’s lead is not anti-feminist.  When you’re over your head in dangerous situations, it’s just plain smart.  Plus, you get some great sexy time while not endangering anyone’s lives.  You’re the heroine everyone wants to be! An instant classic and good read. Way to stay alive in both the book and our hearts!

If you answered all C’s, then I am sorry but you are TSTL. And I am sorry again, but I just threw your book against the wall, while issuing a fierce war cry at your behavior.  Don’t worry.  Identifying the problem is the first step to recovery, and we can get through this! Just stop ignoring smart advice, running off and getting in trouble, and basically acting like a silly damsel in distress.

So there you go, dear friends.  TSTL characters simply drive me crazy, but what about you?  Do they drive you bonkers? What makes a character TSTL for you?  For me they are simply women who ignore all logic–the women in the action movies who run after the hero after he tells them to stay put, screaming his name, and overall being idiots.  (Example: Lora Harding in Karen Robards’ Wild Orchid. My Goodreads review can be found here!). But that’s just me!  I hope that I’m not TSTL.  What about you?


Entry filed under: Ramblings on Romance. Tags: , , , , .

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12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Spencer  |  April 5, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    I LOVE this post! I literally LOL’d when I read answer 2c. Believe it or not, I’ve read multiple books where this has happened and it infuriates me to no end! Luckily I’m a smart cookie 😉 Then again, I’m sure terror and being on the lam can make you do stupid things…

    • 2. Lizzie Poteet  |  April 5, 2011 at 10:18 pm

      And do them again and again and again. Oh those TSTL characters they drive me bonkers! But seriously, I know what you mean. Even the “call my mother while on the run” plot device has come up so many times!

  • 3. Audra (Unabridged Chick)  |  April 6, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Loved this — in our house, we’ve expanded this to movies, and we also have a ranking of Too Stupid To Live – Too Pretty to Die for all those aggravating heroines who you know will survive simply because they’ve got gorgeous skin or nice hair or whatever.

    • 4. Lizzie Poteet  |  April 6, 2011 at 12:44 pm

      HAHA the characters they just keep around because of their looks? I know the kind. They often frequent horror movies as well as action movies. In my house–TSTL characters are male and female. My father literally yells at the TV when characters do something stupid in a comedy, drama, or action film. Merry and Pippin in Lord of the Rings? He calls them “Stupid Hobbits.” Every family has their definitions 😉

  • 5. Stephanie  |  April 6, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Phew! I’m good! Great post!!!

    • 6. Lizzie Poteet  |  April 6, 2011 at 3:32 pm

      Thanks and congrats for not being stupid! I’m sure you were incredibly anxious about the whole thing 😉 But I am glad that I wouldn’t have to throw your book across the room if your life were a romance novel!

  • 7. Jennifer Probst  |  April 6, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Hooray – I am smart after all! I LOVE this post and must retweet. Best quiz ever – and it’s like watching the stupid heroine run and fall, run and fall, then stand and scream while the crazy maniac kills her!

    • 8. Lizzie Poteet  |  April 6, 2011 at 3:36 pm

      Oh that silly heroine! I am glad that your results saved you from the shame of finding out that in the novel/movie of your life you would be her after all! It’s always nice to find out that you really are smart enough to live.

  • […] Sometimes they are right.  See  the cover made the heroine seem like a sensible woman not a TSTL heroine.  My […]

  • […] As much as I love a good steamy scene–let’s be honest here 89% of you agree with me here dearests–I do have some standards. Gah. Here’s some advice dearest heroines! Heed it or I may add you to my TSTL list! […]

  • 11. Cruel to be Kind…or Just Kinda Cruel « Reading Romantically  |  September 21, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    […] then the author lost me. Our quirky, spunky, stubborn heroine transformed into the cliched TSTL female–you know the kind, rushing into danger, refusing to listen to logic, spurring good advice all […]

  • […] the fact that our heroine was often TSTL was kind of refreshing: she was shallow and frustrating in precisely the same way as any other […]


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