Big Girls Don't Have to Cry!

The Rise of the "Curvier" Girl in Romantic Fiction

Copyright Judy Bagshaw - All Rights Reserved

A quick perusal of the covers of romance novels in your local bookstore will reveal the traditional romance novel heroine...small, willowy, narrow-waisted, somewhat buxom, with long flowing hair. Behind or beside her will stand the standard hero...tall, muscular, sporting six-pack abs and dark, brooding, impossibly-good looks.

Heros and heroines have always been portrayed thus it seems. But a change is in the wind.

Some readers are demanding a different kind of heroine and hero--ones who reflect real life a little more closely. Instead of escaping from their reality, these readers are wanting to read about it. It's an opportunity for writers who aren't afraid to write "outside the box". At the risk of being "punny", it's a growing market!

I've always been a curvy girl...full-figured, a BBW (big beautiful woman), zaftig, rubenesque...whatever euphemism you wish to use...that's me. When I began to write with the goal of being published, I made the decision to write heroines like me...large and in life to the max, and making no apologies for it. 

At one point I had a writing instructor (a former editor for Harlequin) tell me that romance stories with full-figured heroines would never find a market. Although disheartened somewhat, a part of me held on to the belief that there was such a market--that women were ready for a different kind of heroine, one who reflected them. 

I have been proven right! I am finding that in the world of electronic publishing particularly, there is a growing interest in books, stories and magazines for and about large sized people. It seems that where the traditional large press houses have turned a blind eye, the electronic world is opening their arms. And the big boys are starting to pay attention. 

My fan mail certainly supports my belief that there is a market for this kind of fiction. Many women have written to express how pleased they are to see themselves represented in romance novels. I've had women, with great emotion, thank me for giving them a new way to look at themselves and their lives. I constantly get notes in my website guestbook expressing excitement to have found a site like mine. 

Pat Ballard is a Tennessee romance writer, who calls herself "the Queen of Romance" said this about her choice to write BBW romances; "After I decided to stop the self-destructive fad diets I'd been on since the age of eleven, and accept myself as what I was meant to be, I set about to write romance novels with Big Beautiful Heroines." She goes on to say, "But the books aren't just for plus-size women." She strongly feels that these novels have a message for women of all sizes--to accept and appreciate who you are, as you are. 

Daisy Dexter Dobbs, who pens erotic romantic comedies with BBW heroines for Ellora's Cave has this to say. "I began writing romance novels featuring curvy, double-digit-sized heroines out of frustration. I was tired of reading books where no one wears anything bigger than a size four." She goes on to say, "it's been reassuring and satisfying to see my Ellora's Cave readers not only accepting the concept of larger women in erotic romance but actually embracing it." 

A Yahoo group called BBWRomancewriting is dedicated entirely to writing BBW fiction. It is a large group of writers from various backgrounds--both women and men--some published, some not, yet all intent on the same thing--writing and promoting BBW fiction. 

And there are small press epublishers who share this vision. Rida Allen, a BBW author herself , started Draumr Publishing with the goal of showcasing BBW writers and their books. "Too many women put down a book thinking, 'Gee, that's nice...but it ain't gonna happen to me.' YES, we want the romance...YES, we want the fantasy...but HELL YES, we want to be able to think to ourselves, 'This could happen to me someday!'...I decided I wanted to be more involved in getting books with curvy heroines out to the ravenous readers." Draumr's Dangerous Curves imprint does just that. 

Peggy Elam, of Pearlsong Press offers a philosophy of Health At Every Size, an "approach to health and well-being that celebrates natural diversity in body size". Isn't it time that this attitude was reflected in our popular literature? 

Just look at the burgeoning list of BBW magazines and ezines cropping up...Abundance, AmaZe, BBW Press, Curvaceous, Dimensions, Curvy Chick, Large in Charge, Venus Divas, to name a few. All will need content as they grow. 

Current statistics place 64% of the US adult population as being overweight. This is a significant segment of the purchasing population who deserve to be represented in print in positive and enlightening ways. This is a group that as yet are vastly under-represented. 

As a writer, I love the fact that I am writing stories that are filling this need--that present an alternative to the traditional "formulaic" romance novel. I love that I can follow my passion and gain acceptance for my work without compromising it...thinning it down, so to speak. I am excited by the rise of the curvier girl in contemporary romantic fiction. May she blossom and thrive! 


About the Author: Judy Bagshaw has been published since 2000. Writing romance featuring full-figured heroines, her publishing credits include 4 novels, 1 collection of short stories, and short stories in three anthologies. She was also part of the writing team for the Ginn Reading Series, and Reaching Readers Series, used in many elementary schools. Retired from teaching, she writes full-time from her home in Ontario, Canada. Visit Judy's website:



Easy Way to Write Romance - by Rob Parnell