Friday, October 30, 2015

Let's Play the Dating Game with "The Martian" by Melinda Curtis

Friends have been telling me for months to read The Martian, but I was on deadline for months (honestly, it was a nightmare!) and I'd heard the movie was coming out, so I waited and toiled along on my deadlines like any good writer would. And on opening weekend, Mr. Curtis and I went to see it.

WOW! The Martian is an excellent movie - I laughed, I cried, I angsted over Mark Watney's safety.

But then I returned to my romance writing cave and wondered...What kind of woman would Mark Watney want to be with? He's a botonist who is also an astronaut. He has a great sense of humor, is a good problem solver, and is able to stay calm in a crisis. In a hyphenated word, he's uber-smart! OK, so when he doesn't shave, he doesn't look like hero material (he looked more like a homeless dude on meth), but I think women can overlook that. So I pulled out 8 feminine archetypes (from The Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes & Heroines) so see if I could find this single man a date with the possibility of a HEA!

Let's start with the Waif, which is a classic Cinderella story (before the 1990s when it became politically correct to give Cindy a spine). Would Mark Watney date a princess? I say no way! He'd never stand outside the shoe section at Nordstrom's while Cindy tried on shoes.

What about the Boss, like some of those of the characters Sandra Bullock has been playing lately (Our Brand is Crisis, The Proposal, The Blind Side)? Unless she's a space boss, I don't see this happening either. Mark is opinionated and likes to pontificate and a boss lady probably wouldn't be happy with him!

Which leads me to the Seductress. I'm an 80s girl, so I immediately think of Sharon Stone (Basic Instinct, the original Total Recall). But I have a seductress in my backlist, so I'll toss in Cora Rule (who liked to have friends with benefits in 2 of my books, before she starred in her own novel). I say this might be a temporary fling for astronaut Mark, but not true love. He's so very practical, that he'd probably appreciate missionary for the chance to look deeply into his lovers eyes (and a Seductress would no doubt find this boring).

Which brings me to the Librarian, such as Joan Wilder in Romancing the Stone or Maya in Zero Dark Thirty. Those ladies know their stuff, but they lack a bit of the adventurous spirit that Mark might want. He may be a botonist, but he's not sitting in a lab all day!

He might enjoy finding his happily-ever-after with a Nurturer, such as Aurora in Maleficent. But I think he'd rather do some nurturing, so I'm knocking this girl out of the running as well.

And I'd have to tell him not to waste his time with a Free Spirit, who can be fun to be with, but also a little ditzy and unfocused when it comes to career achievement (Lucille Ball comes to mind, but also Amy Schumer's character in Trainwreck). Mark would be constantly coaching her to try harder at work.

So I'm left with my two best choices: a Crusader or a Spunky heroine. Crusaders are confident and staunch in their support of what they feel is right (think Jo Harding in Twister or Sue Storm in Fantastic 4). I'm a huge fan of spunky heroines and seem to write them a lot. Both heroines in Amber Rules and Blue Rules were of the spunky variety. Sandra Bullock and Reese Witherspoon have played a lot of spunky heroines.

Would you like to play matchmaker with Mark Watney from The Martian? One lucky commenter will win an ARC from Melinda's Thanksgiving online read for Harlequin - Married by Thanksgiving.

Melinda Curtis is an award-winning USA Today bestseller. She writes sweet romance for Harlequin Heartwarming, sweet romantic comedy, and more traditional romances (i.e., with sex and some comedy!). Her latest sweet romantic comedies can be found in the following holiday collections.


  1. Definitely the Spunky Heroine. I was thinking Jennifer Garner, but Sandra Bullock is fabulous as well.

  2. Great post, Melinda. We loved the movie, too!