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Your ideal heroine
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Missy4u



Joined: 19 May 2008
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 5:11 am    Post subject: Your ideal heroine Reply with quote

Hi guys,

Just wondering what makes YOUR ideal heroine. From these boards and others I get the impression that many times as romance readers we are frustrated at the heroine who is usually describe as too weak, shallow, whiny, no backbone etc etc. With that in mind, what characteristics would your ideal heroine have?

One heroine who I felt was too much as in too strong, too wilfull was in "BirthRight" by Nora Roberts.
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cheri



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1350
Location: michigan

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love a tortured heroine any day of the week. She's got backbone, spirit and is not TSTL nor will she make decisions that are TS, unless the author screws her up. Most of the time this type of heroine has lived a lot already and there's usually some emotional baggage,always a good thing in a book IMO. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of them in Romanceland. cheri
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4223
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If anyone is familiar at all with the heroines in most of Robyn Carr's books, they would probably epitomize what characteristics the ideal heroine would have for me. Nobody's perfect and that's exactly the kind whom Carr usually depicts. Not perfect--but trying, and usually succeeding--sometimes by one step forward and two steps back, but eventually getting there. I like that.

Another recent heroine that I admire comes from Nora Roberts' High Noon. Phoebe was strong, but not stupidly so. She had issues going on in her personal life with family and friends. She continued to put one foot in front of another and dealt with things as they came up the best way she could or thought she should. How novel!

In contrast, a heroine that I absolutely detest also appears in one of Roberts' books, Northern Lights. Meg was way too brash for me; I really had a difficult time with her and consequently did not want to even finish the book. A waste of my time with that one.

For me, a really TSTL heroine can totally ruin a book for me, even if everyone and everything else works well enough in the story. I guess a lot depends on the reader's personality coming in to the story. Whether in real life one is more or less assertive, happy, depressed, etc, matters much when trying to identify with the characters. And I'm sure this can change day to day, week to week, depending on the issues we're confronting at the time.

By the way, I love this subject. I think it can be quite revealing to a person when they really delve into what kind of people or issues push their personal buttons, even fictional ones in books.
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 6635
Location: minneapolis

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess my favorite heroines are the ones who handle themselves well in the face of adversity. I don't mind if they seem weak or flighty in the beginning, but when they have to pull themselves through difficult situations, I want them to be inwardly strong, and that includes dealing with a difficult hero. I like to be able to admire her. Claire from Outlander comes to mind or Tatiana from The Bronze Horseman. Both of these heroines did some really idiotic things, but when it mattered, they came through. I suppose I like the heroine to show some growth and to learn from her mistakes.
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becky d



Joined: 24 Mar 2007
Posts: 114
Location: Baton Rouge

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 3:23 pm    Post subject: ideal heroines Reply with quote

In agreement with the other posts, I also prefer heroines who are strong despite adversity, horrendous situations or events. If they are "too weak," i.e. TSTL or Doormat, I get bored quickly. However, if they are "too strong," such as "abrasive" or mean (I think Tee described one of these), I have trouble identifying with that person.

One good example of a strong heroine that I enjoyed recently was India in The Winter Rose (Jennifer Donnelly). She survived personal losses, heartbreak, difficult work situations and more. Her predecessor (Fiona) in the first book, The Tea Rose, was also a "survivor" of intense loss and hardship.

I enjoy seeing how other women cope with traumatic events and still remain emotionally whole.
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Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 4708

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quirky and fun with a terrific sense of humor.

Linda
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Nana



Joined: 02 Apr 2007
Posts: 947

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heroines who make personal, character-based connections with the hero. Lust is fine, but she must be able to control it. None of this "He's an ass, I hate him, he's the worst man alive, he does terrible things. If you need me, I'll be out on the balcony kissing him. And then hate myself for doing it. And do it again tomorrow."

Heroines who make mistakes and bad decisions but learn from them.

Heroines who either refuse to be doormats or learn not to be doormats. And if they go so far as to become bitches, somebody calls them on it.
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RichMissTallant



Joined: 06 Jun 2008
Posts: 148
Location: Washington, DC

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure how I would describe my ideal heroine. I can say however that I've been so turned off by heroines in the romance novels I've read lately. I've had to resort to old faves because there are so many TSTL heroines out there. I don't understand - we all hate them, but they pop up time and again. It's almost as if authors must have the heroine act like a complete jackass to advance the plot. Ugh.
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Missy4u



Joined: 19 May 2008
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
In contrast, a heroine that I absolutely detest also appears in one of Roberts' books, Northern Lights. Meg was way too brash for me; I really had a difficult time with her and consequently did not want to even finish the book. A waste of my time with that on


That is the character I was trying to remember. You are so right in your description of her. I could not handle her at all.

Does TSTL mean too strong to love? If so then yes I agree with the idea that the heroine must be strong but not too strong to love.
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cheri



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1350
Location: michigan

PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 6:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Missy4u wrote:
Quote:
In contrast, a heroine that I absolutely detest also appears in one of Roberts' books, Northern Lights. Meg was way too brash for me; I really had a difficult time with her and consequently did not want to even finish the book. A waste of my time with that on




Does TSTL mean too strong to love? If so then yes I agree with the idea that the heroine must be strong but not too strong to love.


I suppose it could stand for that too, however, I used it as in, Too Stupid To Live. Basically defining the character, as doing some really dumb things. If I were watching a horror flick and I was screaming at the character on the screen not to go outside to check that noise she just heard. When she does, it was pretty stupid. There is only so much stupidity a person can take and then we give up on that character.
I want to agree with Linda. A sense of humor is great in a heroine. cheri
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4223
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Missy4u wrote:
Does TSTL mean too strong to love?

TSTL stands for "Too Stupid to Live," just as cheri said, Missy4u. Sorry--sometimes we forget that some people aren't aware of some of the abbreviations that are used on message boards. I only have a limited knowledge of them, too, since I don't visit that many boards. But TSTL is one that's used quite frequently here.

And all it really means is that some character exhibits such stupid traits and actions that it's impossible to either believe this person could exist or that you even want to continue reading about him/her further.
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

+IHS+

I have a soft spot for "ugly duckling" heroines. Smile

While I'm as irritated by doormats as the next reader, I am even more turned off by brash and argumentative heroines. One can be assertive without being vulgar!

It takes me longer to warm up to uber-competent heroines who have it all together. If we knew each other in real life, I'd find much to admire; but I'd rather read about someone who's a bit frazzled or just more laid back. Smile

My own favourite heroine is Penelope of Julia Quinn's Romancing Mr. Bridgerton. Very Happy
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 6635
Location: minneapolis

PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suppose it could stand for that too, however, I used it as in, Too Stupid To Live. Basically defining the character, as doing some really dumb things. If I were watching a horror flick and I was screaming at the character on the screen not to go outside to check that noise she just heard. When she does, it was pretty stupid. There is only so much stupidity a person can take and then we give up on that character.



Oh, I just hate it when a heroine acts like an idiot...especially in contemps where the hero is a cop, undercover agent, or whatever. He asks/tells her to stay put because of a mad killer on the loose, and as soon as he leaves, she goes wandering right into danger like she's a two-yr. old without any notion of danger. Sometimes, I think she deserves to be captured. I realize a book has to have a certain amount of conflict, but sometimes the heroine's brain power seems to disappear. Rolling Eyes
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

xina wrote:
I suppose it could stand for that too, however, I used it as in, Too Stupid To Live. Basically defining the character, as doing some really dumb things. If I were watching a horror flick and I was screaming at the character on the screen not to go outside to check that noise she just heard. When she does, it was pretty stupid. There is only so much stupidity a person can take and then we give up on that character.


It's even worse when you're reading a "horror" Romance (that is, a Gothic Romance) and the heroine insists on exploring everything that goes bump in the night in the run-down, poorly lit, haunted manor she is occupying by herself after she has nearly been strangled by some unseen force while walking along a certain corridor the caretaker warned her about. Laughing

I won't give the title, but I remember screaming every few pages for the first half of the novella: "Now do you believe it's haunted???"
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Allyson



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 567

PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maturity, a sense of humour, and being a Reasonable Person.

Too brash doesn't usually bother me unless it gets petulant or pointless. I generally prefer a heroine not be stunningly gorgeous Every Man Wants Her type. I like the hero to see something special in her.

I'd love to see more heroines who are both tough AND funny--so often in romance novels and media in general, strong/tough women are so serious and angsty. And it's always because of a Horrible Past. I'd like to see more heroines who are capable because they just *are*, and not because of some hidden trauma.

My main requirement, though, is that she make sense as written. That is, if I'm reading about a police officer heroine, love of all that's holy don't make the hero jump in to save her or have her doing completely unprofessional things! I have absolutely *no* issues with him jumping in to save her if *he* is the cop and she's a chef or something, mind. I guess what I dislike is making the Traditional Mold fit every single couple/book--like the virgin widow thing.
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