Monday, June 25, 2012

Weak heroines

What makes a heroine weak in a reader's eyes? When she doesn't stand up for herself against the hero? When she doesn't walk away from her mother when she's being picked on? When she lets the hero hurt her emotionally and still goes back to him? When she's hurt by a friend she trusted? I've had all those situations in my stories and while some readers love them, others hate them - with a passion. I wonder if they realize how lucky they are, that they feel strong and confident and in control in their relationships that they despise women who aren't. Most women do put up with more than they should. My heroine in Doing the Right Thing is very down trodden. I was like that. She was based on what it's like to be the one left out, the one others make fun of, the one with no friends, the one boys never pick so when you find one that seems to like you, you hang on as tight as you can and forgive maybe more than you should. I don't think that's being weak, I think it's being realistic. We can't all be alphas.
My heroines are all flawed characters. I think that makes them more interesting. If you want perfect Alpha Queens, I'm not for you.


Arlene said...

I'll take your heroines anyday over the kick-ass, snarky, constantly in your face carboard cut outs.
I was wondering the other day about the hero. There's many romances with a woman whose on the plumb side, but the guy's always muscular, the most handsome in existance and ends up wealthy, if not rich to start. If I wrote about a scrawny, flat chested woman interested in a man with love handles, I wonder how many one stars it'd get. Realistic and flawed, that's my cup of tea as well.

Fred said...

Perfection is boring. Real people don't behave the way readers who like "strong women" want, at least, not without years and years of training. The part of a character tha interests me is the flaw the character overcomes.

Barbara Elsborg said...

Thanks, guys. The flaws are the parts that interest me too. I don't like reading about kick-ass females so I dont' create them either!

Laurie A. Green said...

I always love your heroines because they're like real people, Barbara. They aren't like superheroes or women with hearts of iron, they can be hurt and feel pain, but they appreciate joy, too. I hope you never stop writing these wonderful, flawed, relatable characters.