April 7, 2014

My Heroines

I've been talking about heroines a lot lately on my blog (particularly throughout this month), but this post isn't about ones in books already published.  No, this post is about my own writing, which I haven't talked about in awhile.

Teen Author was my first finished novel.  Its protagonist was Hannah Young.  In retrospect, I can see how weak my writing was, but I'm pretty proud of the fact that I wrote a main character who was quite unlikable at times.

In October, I began writing my retelling of Hamlet, which was also my NaNoWriMo project.  That's currently shelved because I lost half of my manuscript (thanks, flash drive), and that half contained some of my favorite scenes (seriously, big twists, lots of strong emotions, and scenes that were quite different from Shakespeare's original).  Violet LaFleur (the Ophelia character) has been my favorite character to write so far.  She tries hard to please everyone, she loves Grant (Hamlet), and she has an interest in horticulture (something pretty unique, in my opinion), but she's also fiercely independent, smart, and no push-over.  She went through so much in the course of the novel, and while her emotional strength is pretty much sapped in the epilogue, she was definitely still courageous and strong.  I hope to return to this novel some day because I absolutely loved writing Violet, along with Grant and Jonathan (Horatio).

Currently, I'm working on another manuscript that I see having potential.  I don't want to reveal too much about it, but I've researched some interesting things (islands for sale, types of engineering, and acquiring a pilot's license for starters).  I also really love how I'm telling the story, especially because I have no set idea where it's going.  I mean, I have some concrete ideas of how it'll all work, but I'm not entirely sure how it'll end.
This book's protagonist could possibly challenge Violet for my favorite, but it's a bit early to tell.  Her name is Blair, and I've gradually realized it's quite possible she thinks herself perfect (at least when the novel starts...).  She's smart and a leader, and I think she could definitely be a role model.

I have another WIP in the planning process, and it currently has 7 protagonists.  Yeah, I'll need to fix that soon and cut it down to one or two narrators.  They're all strong females, though, and I can't wait to see where their stories go.

I've realized I'm definitely drawn to certain unlikable protagonists (Jane Austen's Emma, to name one), and I think I write a lot of those.  They can't be too awful, though, because otherwise no one will want to finish the book.

So, what do you look for in a good heroine? Do you write, and if so, do you notice a pattern with your protagonists?


  1. What do I look for in a good heroine? The same things I look for in any other character: realistic, unique in some way, has something to make me like them.

    Do I notice a pattern with my protagonists? Yes, I kind of do. All my Alyron protagonists have communication issues. I seem to have a distinct tendency towards semi-mysterious, highly skilled characters with a tendency to rely too much on themselves (Gwen and Hayden being the main examples). And I also seem to have a tendency towards the 'rogue with a heart of gold', since I have at least one in both my main series.

  2. I've noticed that my heroines all have one thing in common: they have a big attitude. Along with that, they usually have a quick temper, and the two combined make it easy for them to get into trouble. The one thing I need to work on with them is making them a tad more realistic; I don't think that someone would be confident to be as bold as they are - at least not all the time.

    What I look for in a good heroine is mostly what I put into my own - a fire. I like shy heroines as well, but if they are the only main character the story tends to be a bit boring for me.

  3. I really like flawed heroines, too. When reading, I have a hard time connecting with a character who is mostly perfect except for a couple issues here and there. I have big flaws, so I like seeing a character with big flaws, too. The same goes for my writing. A protagonist for my first novel and the novel I'm trying to re-outline is flawed to the point of being on the "bad" side of a power struggle. And my two protagonists in my current novel aren't AS flawed, but still struggling with discovering their values and ideals-- and making a lot of mistakes along the way. All my protagonists also seem to be smart, mostly because I value intelligence and also really enjoy reading characters who are intelligent. I find them more interesting because they're able to view the world more complexly and analytically.

  4. This is so great, Emma! I loved reading about the heroines you write and now I'm super interested in Blair (I'm still sorry about what happened to your flashdrive, that's awful)! Flawed characters are my thing (to read), but like you said, they can't be TOO bad or I won't want to read them for much longer (I have low tolerance/patience).


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