What makes a good heroine?
Hi Nas! Thanks for having me here again, so lovely to be back!
There’s much talk in romance writers’ circles about heroes. What makes a perfect hero? Alpha? Beta? What are the most attractive male personality traits, what are the best body bits (LOL)? Is sense of humor important?- you get the picture.
|The Australian Edition|
cover of Louisa George's
ONE MONTH TO BECOME A MUM
But, as a writer, my main focus is to make a connection with the (usually female) reader from the heroine’s POV. As Leslie Wainger (author of RomanceWriting for Dummies) puts it: the heroine is the reader’s alter-ego. As my editor puts it: the reader should want to be the heroine. Some writers have gone so far as to say that romance heroines are all about women’s rights- that they never settle for second best, that they give readers hope that they can be heroines of their own lives. And, as such, romance heroines are great role models.
This brings about all kinds of issues for a writer- I was told, for my second book Waking Up with His Runaway Bride, that my heroine’s reality was too bleak. She was grieving, her business was failing, she was in the middle of a bush fire…could I please make her world more aspirational? As a newbie writer I’m learning all the time and this idea was new to me. I’ve read so many books about women in desperate circumstances I almost thought this was a pre-requisite, but then I realized good heroines usually had one thing: a sense of humor, a best friend, a resource and resilience that made her world bearable. Sure- I get that there should be a connection, but does the reader really want to be the heroine? And then I thought about my reading habits and preferences and yes…I do imagine myself in the heroine’s shoes, I live her emotions and dream her dreams.
|The French Edition cover|
of Louisa George's
ONE MONTH TO BECOME A MUM
That got me thinking about the kind of women I write about, I like sassy, feisty, up-front heroines. I like independent thinking women. Women who can stand up for themselves. I like heroines who are brave enough to say and do the things I would like to say and do. (So now I understand the backlash against Bella in Twilight- a girl who reacts rather than acts, who doesn’t take charge. And also why women like Scarlett O’Hara and Stephanie Plum are so popular). When I was younger I used to want to be like Linda Hamilton (John Connor’s mother in Terminator Two- boy, that woman was strong.)As a medical romance writer all my main characters are based in the health professions. I make sure that there is a meeting of minds, an equality between the hero and heroine (things have definitely moved on from the unequal doctor/nurse relationship of old. Believe me, as a nurse married to a doctor, I know!). I try to write intelligent and independent characters- all different, all flawed in some way. Most of my characters have body issues of one type or another, they’ve usually got baggage, and none of them believe they are beautiful. But they are strong and healed.
Is that what my readers want, though? What kind of a heroine do you enjoy reading? Any heroine you’d like to BE? Do you like to see them swept away by a powerful man or do you think the heroines should be powerful enough to do the sweeping (but allow the man to do it anyway! LOL!). Any memorable heroines? Any heroines you hated?
Louisa on the web:
One Month To Become A Mum
Some things in life are worth waiting for…Jessie Price has lost her only chance at motherhood – it’s a constant hurt, until she meets sinfully sexy single dad Dr Luke McKenzie and his gorgeous little girl. Luke’s intoxicating kisses and his daughter’s adoring hugs have Jessie
longing for the impossible. But she's a temporary locum, the clock’s ticking – and there’s only a month to make all her wishes come true…