TSTL Characters

Haven’t we all run across romance book characters who are Too Stupid To Live? You know the ones—like the heroine who makes the ridiculous decision to march straight into a dumb or even dangerous situation despite her instincts warning her against it. Sometimes characters make bad decisions, just like real people do, but if they have plausible motivation to make those poor decisions, we can excuse them.

For example, if a character walks into a dangerous situation in order to save a child/elderly person/person they care deeply about, well, then that character isn’t stupid, but brave. Heroes tend to do things like this all the time. So why are male characters so often painted as heroes yet female characters are so often the ones who do the plain old stupid stuff?

Now I’m all for alpha males, but frankly, I enjoy a book more if the heroine rescues herself or someone else rather than being rescued by the hero.

In my upcoming romantic suspense book, Protective Custody, I put the heroine in a dangerous situation (which she did not walk into, BTW) when she witnesses a murder. Each time the villain comes after her, she—not the hero—is the one to save herself, except once. It was important to me that Megan not be TSTL. I wanted her to be strong and brave but not quite as much as the hero. After all, the hero must earn his stripes!

Have you ever read about a TSTL character that made you throw the book (or the ebook reader) against the wall? Comment and I will enter you in a drawing for your choice of my erotic romantic suspense, Tropic of Trouble or for Protective Custody—your choice. I hope you’ll check out my upcoming release, Protective Custody coming from Carina Press on May 9.

Protective Custody – Available from Carina Press
Witness to a murder, but no one will believe her…

Shocked by the brutal crime she witnesses through the window of her small office, Megan Jackson calls the police and is devastated when they question the truth of her story. With no body and no evidence of a crime, she’s written off as a nutcase.

Megan suspects the killer saw her face. Terrified, she calls the only person she can trust—her ex-boyfriend and former police officer, Will McCoy.

Despite a devastating breakup, Will jumps at the chance to help the woman who broke his heart. When the killer ramps up the stakes, Will is forced to take her into hiding—where the passion they once shared reignites, deeper and hotter than ever. But can Will keep Megan alive long enough to win back her heart?

Wynter Daniels lives in Central Florida with her husband of more than twenty years and their two nearly grown children. They are all the slaves of two very demanding cats. After careers in marketing and the salon industry, Wynter’s wicked prose begged to be set free. She writes for several publishers including Carina Press, Ellora’s Cave, Loose Id. Join her Facebook fan page HERE and her Yahoo! Group HERE. She loves to hear from readers, but only if it’s good;-)

Buy Protective Custody HERE.
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Text Copyright © 2011 by Wynter Daniels
Cover Copyright © 2011 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A. Cover Art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited. All rights reserved. ® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license.


  1. I can’t recall any recently, but there is a reason I know there were some books in my past that are directly responsible for me becoming an author. I would get so frustrated reading them that I gave the ole’ “I’ll do it myself” speech. 🙂

    I can’t wait for the release of Protective Custody!

  2. Too funny! And how cool is that – TSTL characters are indirectly responsible for you becoming a writer! I love it.

  3. I read one recently, written by a very well-known author with a significant number of successes, so I’m not going to name either the author or the book, or even mention some of the TSTL incidents, but I got the feeling there was a looming deadline and it was written in haste. I found it an anomaly in the body of work this author produced, so it’s not going to keep me from reading the next one(s).

    Terry’s Place
    Romance with a Twist–of Mystery

  4. Watch out flying e-books. LOL love your interview today and yes I have come across a few books that made me what to send my e-book flying. Good thing we can delete bookes we don’t like.


  5. Terry – I’ve run into that, too. Good think for the author that you and probably most of the author’s fans saw it for the anomaly it was!

    Good point, Terra. I’d hate to kill my Kindle because of a book;-)

  6. Great post and I will stop reading a book if the heroine is just too stupid for words. I have run across many before and its frustrating as a reader. It happens more and more in romantic suspense books, I genre that I love.

  7. Just one more thing, I read Belle Behind Bars and thought it was great!

  8. I agree, Harlie – it does happen disproportionately in RS.
    And thanks – I’m so glad you enjoyed Belle Behind Bars!

  9. Great post, Wynter. Definitely not a fan of tstl heroines or hero’s for that matter. I might put up with those character flaws for a book or even two, but then I move on. My favorite characters tend to be smart and strong, both mentally and physically, and they know when to ask for help.

    caity_mack at yahoo dot com

  10. I love a strong heroine, too, Cathy. That’s generous of you to put up with a TSTL character for one or two books!

  11. I drew Terra to win! Please email me at Wynter @ to claim your prize. Thanks to everyone who commented.

  12. i am crazy about this blog i like it very much

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