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.

5 comments:

  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.

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  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.

    Janice~

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  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 themselves.....do you write books?

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  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.

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  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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