Guest post by Zanna MacKenzie
SLS: Today, I have the lovely Zanna, a fellow Crooked Cat author, sharing her thoughts on what makes a good heroine… Zanna writes:
Ever started to read a book and found you couldn’t finish it because you disliked the heroine so much? What was it about her that you disliked? Did she complain endlessly and not take any action to solve her problems? Was she too materialistic or simply too wishy-washy? Maybe she was loud and annoying or too shy and mousy?
Our taste in book heroines is as varied as our taste in friends so what one person finds utterly irritating, another might love, and vice versa.
I think the key is whether or not you can relate to the lead female character in a book you are reading. Can you identify with her problems, whatever they are – a job she hates, a fraught relationship with her mum, a lack of romance in her life, or maybe all three!
Wherever she lives, what job she does, whatever her current dilemma, she has to be likeable. Most of us, I think, probably prefer to read about a heroine who is feisty, capable, a modern, independent woman in search of the right man for her. Maybe she’s a little flirty? Perhaps she has a wicked sense of humour?
Critically she also has to be flawed in some way, have some element of vulnerability, so she endears herself to us. She could have been hurt in the past and is scared to get involved again. Maybe she simply hasn’t got a clue what she wants in life and is trying to sort herself out –we’ve all been there!
She could be a perfectly coiffed city girl in designer shoes with a penchant for expensive handbags. She could be a country girl who lives in jeans and boots and wouldn’t know a designer dress from a high street one. It doesn’t matter, we just need to like her and want to hear her story.
In my recently released novel How Do You Spell Love? there are two female leads – Kat and Summer. Kat, whose life has gone a bit pear-shaped of late, is trying to get over the break-up of her long standing relationship with Nathan, convinced they should still be together. The she meets Alex. Summer is full of the joys of the world, or so she makes out, in reality she’s trying to figure out how to patch her relationship with live-in boyfriend Rob. Then she meets Tom. For a whole tangle of reasons Kat shouldn’t be with Alex, and Summer shouldn’t be with Tom, meaning Kat and Summer have to figure out what they want from their lives and who they want to be with.
At the end of the day, I think we just want to read about a heroine we can identify with, that we can imagine ourselves being friends with, can understand her motives and are rooting for to ‘get her man’.
Make A Wish…
Kat can’t help wishing there was more to life than this. What happened to her dream job? What happened with Nathan?
Summer is wondering where her life is going too… battling the developers of a controversial housing estate and working out why boyfriend Rob is increasingly distant.
When the developers win the battle and move into town everyone’s life is turned upside down.
Kat meets building site project manager Alex. She enjoys his company far too much, even though he’s on the town’s most hated list.
Summer meets Tom who has plenty of relationship troubles of his own, so things could get really complicated.
Soon everyone is keeping secrets, lives change and hearts are broken. Is everything falling apart, or does life just work in mysterious ways…