Well, the situation has become just sad and amusing now. Here are some of the more entertaining comments that have been made by various people (paraphrased):
Mark Twain is my hero. But he is not a hero. And I think the reasoning behind this was because, while he affected this person's life and writing in general, he didn't constantly do acts of heroism, at least not that this person had read about.
Language is flexible, but in the hands of the Politically Correct, it is emotionally manipulated. This is my favorite. This person (different from above) seems to imply that writers can adapt, adjust, twist the English language and that is OK, because the language is flexible. But the minute anyone uses language for PC terms, that same adjusting and twisting of language becomes emotional manipulation and is a Bad Thing.
The intentional misuse of words brings about the devaluation of genuine experience. There are just so many assumptions and connotations in this one that make me laugh at the irony of it all. But they also make me sad. Especially because telling any one person that they can't be a hero, a victim, or a survivor because they don't meet X, Y, and Z requirements devalues that person's genuine experience. And such a statement also puts one person above another, one person in the position to determine whether or not a word has been intentionally misused and whether or not that peron's experience was genuine. And that's really heartbreaking.
One thing in all this has rung very true and been proved countless times by both sides. What we write can only affect people and make a difference if people decide to let it affect them. The same can often be true for heroes. They can be willing to sacrifice their lives for others, but if those others don't want to be saved, then sometimes even the most heroic efforts won't prevent their loss.
But back to writing... I'm feeling better. I'm feeling connected with my story. I feel ready to tackle it and see where it goes. I finally realized what Darren's problem with Denise might be, but I'm not sure how he'll react to it. He may decide to tell me that I'm way off and I need to keep guessing. Men. Of all my male characters in this book, only my "villains" seem inclined to let me into their heads. My, ahem, heroes are rather reticent. This could be a problem.