Monday, December 26, 2011

The Strong Heroine

I read an interview this week and the interviewee mentioned the characteristics of her heroine. Thankfully, I can't remember who gave the interview because I wouldn't want anyone to think I was talking badly about someone. I'm not...and the truth is, I've heard this answer soooo many times, I'm coming to think of it as being cliche.

The answer? [in my own words] I write heroines who are feisty and strong, take control. Don't you hate a heroine who simpers and waits to be saved?

Of course, I agree with this sentiment. Most heroines I like are strong and can take care of things. I've read a few over the top bitchy ones, but overall, I like the strong ones.

The problem is... what books are they [all the people who say that] reading, anyway? I haven't read a book with a wimpy heroine in years and years unless I've picked up a book published before 1990. The statement is a standby answer for almost every romance author out there in the past 5-10 years. Does anyone even write a heroine who needs help? Or is wimpy?

So, I had a revelation after reading another interview with that line...about not liking heroines who whimper and can't take care of themselves. I should pitch a wimpy heroine. Write a heroine who needs a strong man, someone smart and take control. A man who will pat her on the head, give her a little peck and tell her, "Now, don't you worry, little lady."

Now that would be different! That would be refreshing! Perhaps THAT would catch someone's eye.


  1. As I was reading, I had the same exact idea you did! I would love to see a wimpy heroine who got a bit better by the end of it. Not saying she has to be turn into the toughest cookie on the block, but maybe a small change in personality, a little bit more of a backbone. I would read a like that if it came out.

  2. Hi Bethanne,

    Most writers don't want a wimpy heroine and most editors won't contract a book with one.

    In my own stories I write a heroine that gets strong as the story progresses, but she not wimpy to begin with.

    In all stories you have to show the growth of your characters.

    I hope you and your family had a wonderful Holiday.


  3. I just read you post and found it very interesting. I guess that you havent seen a meek heroine since 1990 because women writers these days have grown up seeing strong women that can get the job done you write books?

  4. Oh wow, Tara. You really opened a bag of worms with that. I'll get back to that in a minute, and then again in a whole new blog post... or two.

    Marlena, I'm still with you. publishers want something fresh and unique. I would think a weak[ish] heroine would do the trick. The Damsel in distress hasn't been portrayed in too long and with a good dose of humor, I think you could pull it off!

    Janice, honestly, I agree with you. But I also think that editors and publishers have become BORING! They say they want fresh stuff, but they aren't serious.

    Anyhooo... about strong women. It's a lie to believe that only women after the 1960 are strong. It's true we saw a lot of damsels in distress in books before the 80's, but I believe that's due more to the romance of being saved than it has to do with who women were before 1990.

  5. One of the best romantic books (well, Urban Fantasy Romance) I have read in recent years featured a "wimpy heroine". Exactly what you were talking about. The Alpha and Omega Series by Patricia Briggs. I think showing more true character development and overcoming of adversity with emerging inner strength would be a positive thing.


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