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Thursday, February 4, 2010

What makes a memorable heroine?

I know I've blogged before or have read blogs about what makes a memorable hero...but now I want to talk about heroines. When I first started reading romance in 1987, I read because it took me out of real life's problems and put me in someone else's shoes. It made me want to be that heroine - with the perfect face, body, personality, etc. But really...do readers want to read about perfection? Now, more books are being published with not-so-perfect characters. To me, this is more real to life. True, I want my heroine to be beautiful to the hero, and of course have that sexy figure, but I also like to give my character's flaws. I have to dent their lives a bit so they have room to grow during my stories.

Above all...I must have tough women and HUMOR!

Dorothy Paxton narrowed her gaze at the filthy bastard standing on the other side of the bar. She steadied her aim, pointing the revolver at his forehead. Sweat dripped down his pudgy face as he lifted his hands in surrender. His knees wobbled and his teeth made a loud chatter.

The crowd in the saloon quieted. Even the tinkering on the piano stopped as all eyes focused on Dorothy and the man she’d just threatened to shoot.

“Now, now, ‘lil lady. There’s no need to get violent,” he said in a squeaky voice.

She arched an eyebrow. “There isn’t? I warned you once, Clive Slater, that if you touched me one more time, I would blow a hole through your body. You didn’t listen the first time, so now I see I have to follow through with my threat.”

Slater gulped nosily. “Now, Dot. We all know how you love to tease. We also know how you love to bargain. Is there anythin’ I can do to talk you outta this?”

Nobody crossed her, and that’s how she wanted it. She couldn’t back down on her threat or the others watching might get the wrong impression and take advantage of her one day. Licking her dry lips, she lowered the gun to his trousers, to the spot that could hurt him the most. “Slater, I did tell you not to touch me, so because you went against my wishes, I now have to hurt you.”

The man’s Adam’s apple bounced. Sheen formed on the bald spot on his head, the sun’s ray pouring through the window made it worse. “Please, Dot. Don’t shoot me! I...I’ll do anything.”

She arched an eyebrow. “Anything?”

He nodded so fast the thin hair around his ears flopped against his head and the loose skin around his aged cheeks wiggled.

Nibbling on her bottom lip, she contemplated the situation. She’d spent a few years making a name for herself here in Covington, Kentucky, and she wasn’t going to let some loose-lipped, donkey’s hind end ruin it for her. People around these parts didn’t call her Dot the Destroyer for nothing. There was more than one way to break a man. No matter what, she had to make this man pay. A public flogging sounded interesting, and enjoyable.

“Fine. Drop your trousers.”

Okay...now it's your turn. What makes a heroine memorable for you?

Baroness of Brazen


  1. Strength. Definitely. I want the fantasy, I want to be someone else and not the average girl honestly. I want her to be MORE everything. I want to see hints of myself but I definitely don't want to see any average person because it's too much like real life and I read to get away from real life. But that's me. It's my escape.
    She has to be bigger than life, above and beyond the average. I love to read about the adventress, the seductress, the warrioress! But that's my own preference and I have read stories about the average girl, the plain jane, and liked them, as many of them had extrodinary plots or adventures, or something that hooked me. And then there are others where I just related them too much like real life and got bored.

  2. I agree with you, Melissa. I like reading heroines like that, as well!


  3. I can see where you are coming from, Melissa. I guess for me, I prefer a heroine I can relate to. She can be bold, but I feel so much more for her if she is vulnerable and brave in the face of her vulnerabilities.

    I read a book by a newer author, Alissa Johnson, called "McAllister's Fortune" and the heroine really stood out for me. She had a physical limitation and a facial scar due to an accident, which made her unique. (The hero still found her very beautiful.) What I liked about Evie was her wit, kind heart, bravery and tendency to curse like a sailor when in pain. LOL. I loved that about her! And she had something she felt passionate about. She did charity work helping women escape abusive situations, all done in secret under the cloak of darkness, placing her safety at risk.

    I think heroines can be strong without being over-the-top. However, sometimes it's nice to read about a tough-as-nails gal, too. Just give her some weakness to make her relatable for me, and I'm a happy reader.

  4. While I like a strong heroine, I also like a femanine heroine. The best example I can think of is Scarlett O'Hara. Very female and very strong. Remember the scene where she raises her fist and vows never to be hungry again. She turned Tara around and became wealthy. Now there is a strong heroine. And even Melanie showed her strength when she shot the soldier. These are the types of heroines I can relate to.

  5. Oh Amy, I loved Scarlett! Very strong...and very feminine. lol

    Samantha, I read a story once (can't remember the name) but it was about a beautiful woman who was very shy and stammered. She didn't like to be noticed because of her problem. I think the reason I loved it so much is because she became so real to me at that point and I felt everything she struggled with. Great book!