My heroine! *sigh*

Talking heroines is a slippery slope for me. You see, I was raised by wolves with five older brothers, so I’m not a particularly girly girl. Don’t get me wrong. I can appreciate the perfect pair of shoes, and I have lust in my heart for most any handbag, but I’m not the girl who gets all twitterpated about things.

My husband is the sensitive soul in our household, much to his alpha male chagrin. You know it must be a sad, sorry state of affairs when I’m the calm one, but the man is so high maintenance he makes me appear comatose in comparison. I know there are times my friends wish I were a little more comfortable with communicating my feelings, but that’s probably not going to happen at this point. Lucky for me they’ve learned to read between the lines. Plus, they seem to appreciate the jokes I use to deflect any outpouring of emotion. My mother would probably freak out if I ever gave her one of those mushy mom cards. Then again, I’d wig a bit if she sent one to me. The woman bore seven children. She’s tough as nails.

I was raised in a ‘no blood, no foul’ environment. Outnumbered and outsized, my sister and I developed sharp tongues and devious minds as the first line of defense. Tears were the absolute last resort. I have a strict ‘no wussies’ rule when it comes to writing my heroines.

I enjoy reading stories about women I would want to know in real life. We don’t have to be kindred spirits, but if she makes me want to slap her silly every few pages, we’re probably not going to become BFFs. I like a heroine who sees life clearly, makes thoughtful decisions, and isn’t afraid to own her mistakes. She doesn’t have to be a kick-ass warrior or a corporate titan. She just needs to be able to hold it together when her car gets a flat tire.

Nothing makes me quit a book faster than a woman who dissolves the minute the first drop of adversity hits her. A chick who plays the victim? She can just move on down the road.

How about you? What types of heroines do you love? What makes you crazy?


My heroine! *sigh* — 6 Comments

  1. I like this heroine, too, because angst (one of my favorite things) is like a treat with her because she buries it so well. I only have three older brothers, which I found challenging enough–I really can’t fathom five. :-)

  2. I can totally relate to this post, Maggie. I didn’t necessarily grow up in a macho household but I do have a pants-wearing mother and frequently assure people before they meet my husband, “don’t worry, he’s the nice one.”

    Personally I love smart, independent heroines who, as you say, aren’t perfect and are aware of that. This is probably quite specific, but the ones I can’t stand are those who hate their obviously beauty-enhancing quirks. Just last night I read a line (in a 2012 release, so not vintage) where the heroine referred to her “cursed freckles”. Oh come on, we all know you’re gorgeous! 😛

    • It’s fun to be married to the nice guy. I particularly like it when my hubby bows up and gets all “mister man”. It makes me giggle because we both know he’s the softy. Yes, I also love it when a flaw is thrown in as an afterthought.

  3. I was raised in a primarily female house (my dad was the only male) so I’ve never had that “raised with brothers” experience. Then again my mother realized that their “build it ourselves” house was never going to get finished if she left it to my father, so my sister and I were raised learning how to put up drywall, put up ceilings and lay floors, so we can wield a hammer pretty damned well. And yeah, my hubby’s the sensitive soul in our household now–I’m the one who curses like a sailor. Not sure if any of that comes out in my heroines though, and I think sometimes I find the type of heroine you describe hard to identify with. Or maybe it’s jealousy sometimes as “I wish I could be like that.”

  4. I was raised with one older brother who used to put me on farm machinery, tease me mercilessly, and punch my arm regularly when I was little, so I can’t imagine living with five brothers. Yikes! For all their faults, those brothers did help to make us stronger. I’m an emotional person, but when there’s an emergency or things get tough, I’m calm and rational. I want my characters to be that way too.

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