What makes a heroine likeable?

We spend so much time developing heroes, taking classes on developing heroes, making sure our heroes are not just likeable, but loveable, that it often seems the heroine is secondary to the story-writing process.

I think in many ways this is because the majority of romance authors are women, and we all have a set of predetermined ideals of what we, as women, would like to be. A utopian vision, so to speak.

This isn't to say that every one of our heroine's is some great metamorphasis of what we see ourselves as, or how we'd like to see ourselves. It can be aspects of our personalities.

For instance. There are days I wish I had the grace and poise of Miss Melly from Gone With the Wind. Normally when I recognize I'm on a particularly Scarlett day.

Other days I'd like to have the drive and determination of Renee Zelwiger's (oh I can't spell her name) character from Cold Mountain.

On still other days I'd like to have the hardened, "I can handle anything", approach of Diva from NCIS.

And every once in a while I'd like to possess the sultry attitude and mannerisms of Catherine Zeta-Jones in Entrapment.

It's fairly easy to look at these characters and see where we, the author, lack those personality types. Because we don't have to change our total way of thinking, writing female characters often comes easier. If you are a natural Miss Melly, you know how you need to react to be Diva. If you're Bridget Jones, you know what you'd need to do to become Rose from Titanic. If the author is a natural Elizabeth (Queen), perhaps the author has even, at some point in life, wished "Man, I wish I could come up with witty things to say on the fly like that gal in Cold Mountain but my position forbids it."

Where one might get tongue-tied and or held up by propriety or circumstance in the real world, on paper you can take as many hours as you want to come up with the right, witty comment. You don't have 2 seconds to have a natural smart retort. If you're inclined the opposite way, on paper you can take days to temper your character into a Miss Melly when you think your hero has cheated.

Anyway... this is a start. We'll look at heroine's this week, and we'll start with the Miss Melly personality -- what makes her a success, how her faults can be detrimental to a plot, and how to overcome what many might say are weaknesses, to make her a loveable, unforgettable, character.




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"Victorians used the term 'limbs' as a euphenism for legs, which were thought to be so sexually exciting to a man, even a glimpse of a table leg could incite him to sexual frenzy. Table skirts were invented to prevent any unnatural unions between men and furniture."
(History Channel International)



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