This will be the final post in the Characteristics of Characters and Their Character series (Say that one five times fast). I have a few ideas for a new series, you'll just have to wait and find out what they are. Mwhahahaha
Today we will discuss heroines--a very special and important part to many stories.
In case you didn't know, heroines are the female heroes of a story. Whether the main character or supporting I am honestly moved by these characters. Sometimes in positive ways, sometimes in negative ways.
If you haven't noticed, most fantasy stories are written with male heroes, male supporting characters, and if there is a girl she's the lover of the hero. Most of the time.
But, there are many (increasingly so) stories that use the girl as the hero and have important female heroes throughout the story. These are the heroines. These characters excite me.
Dragons in Our Midst, The Door Within, Inkheart, The Sword of the Dragon, The Lord of the Rings...all of these had wonderful heroines.
All of these women/girls have the following in common:
- They are strong in mind
- They are strong in body
- They are strong in soul
- They, often times, stir the heroes to action
- Many times strong willed
- Tender and sweet at the heart
This is not only plain ridiculous, but it is also contrary to what I believe to true purpose of fantasy to be.
So if a good heroine isn't wimpy then what is she?
Naturally, she would be strong.
Strength in the mind is where I would first begin. This aspect is more commonly found than some of the others. Society likes to admit that women are smarter than guys (Admit it guys....they are). But as a newer writer, and a male, we might forget this.
The hero can get easily excited. I'd actually go as far to say...if your hero stays calm all the time...he might not be the best hero. If your hero is getting excited, impatient, angry, or something similar it is often the best salve to have the heroine step in and save the day.
The masculine nature of the hero would tell him to run straight into the faces of the enemy army. But, of course, this would not be the best idea if he was outnumbered 10 to 1. Often times the heroine steps in with reason.
To step out of fantasy, this is especially true of romance stories. Think Romeo and Juliet. Romeo is head over heels for her, but, at first lol, Juliet is thinking more rationally of things and forces Romeo to sleep on his thoughts of marriage.
And if your main protagonist is a girl this is also important. I like reading intelligent, not stupid, heroines. Don't you?
Next would be the physical aspect.
We guys like to brag at being bigger and stronger, *flexes*, but though this may be "technically" true, this has no bearing at all on whether or not girls can defend themselves. Honestly, I know girls that are offended when chivalry etc goes so far as to underestimate their physical prowess.
And you see this in good heroines as well.
A good heroine can and will defend herself. Actually, showing the controversy between the genders is fun to read/write as well. You have a hero trying to be honorable and a heroine that just wants to do what is right. Most of the time, the girl ends up winning ;)
Again, weak wimpy heroines are boring. My favorite characters are often times the fiery girls, sword in hand, charging the gates of hell itself. The tough gals. Plus, let's just think marketing here. If you write a story with wimpy girls....what kind of message does that send to your readers?
Like I said, fantasy is meant to be inspiring. Are you inspiring girls to be wimps?
The spiritual side of this is also very interesting.
In Dragons in Our Midst, by Bryan Davis, I was so emotionally connected to the heroine, Bonnie Silver, because of the strength of her soul. She was so pure, innocent, and yet had all the powerful aspects listed above.
I think what I am trying to get at with these last few points is confidence. Heroines need to be confident. Spiritually, physically, and mentally. Sure, they can doubt just like a guy. And that's when you would shape the male characters. But, especially as supporting characters, they need to be capable of strength.
This next point is perhaps my favorite. When you have a masculine hero and your heroines are supporting characters, it seems that the girls are the ones that give the heroes a reason to fight. They are the reason the knights go to battle--to guard the fair ladies. Whether they are capable of defending themselves or not, that is the reason a man fights.
And so, when you are writing heroines, this is very important.
I actually have a lot to say on the topic, but I'm not sure how to word it all.
What are your thoughts? We can discuss this in more depth in the comments section if you'd like.
Oh yes, and now for an epic quote:
I am not a man!
Let the battle of the sexes begin :D lol
To the end,