Heroine Rules

This was one of the search engine terms that landed people on my blog.  It’s nice to see people are landing here outside of the normal “big nipples”  or “swooping breasts”, or even the very funny, “tall, dark and mute husbands”.

 Heroine rules.  Are we talking like… GIRLS RULE!  Or more like an aspiring writer looking for any deal-breaker, hard and fast rules…. We’re going to assume the second one.  Every reader has their own personal rules…or characteristics, actually, that we want to see in our characters, just like every writer has their own set of rules that they follow.

As a reader, when I read, there are some lines you can’t cross if you want me to love your book.

  • no sleeping around.  I actually prefer this for both the hero and the heroine, but I’m a little more likely to forgive with the guy than with her.  I don’t like it.  I don’t want to read about the heroine’s five lovers she’s got going on the side right up until she meets Mr. Right.  I have, and will do so in the future, dropped a book right back where I found it if this character trait shows up.
  • immoral.  I didn’t like the movie, Mr. & Mrs. Smith.  At all.  The actions scenes were pretty cool, yes, but two people that loved each other wouldn’t agree to take a contract out on their mate.  Just didn’t like it.  Reformed bad guys, reformable bad guys (or girls, whatever!) are one thing, but if you are going to write an assassin as the main character, be it the hero or the heroine, she better have good reasons for being an assassin…something other than money.
  • Relatable.  Not necessarily likeable, right off the bat.  But she has to grow on me.  I have to understand her motivations when she does something that pushes buttons.  Like if she is an assassin…. why?  Was her sister killed by drug dealers so she makes a living going around getting that kind of scum off the streets?  If so…I may not approve her lifestyle, but I can relate.  It’s understandable.
  • NO WIMPS ALLOWED.  I hate wimpy, whiny heroines. 
  • Don’t change for me. I hate heroines who expect their hero to change for them & vice versa.  Yes, love can change a person, and in some ways, it should  Love makes better.  It’s supposed to.  But I don’t want to read about a woman who goes into a relationship with oh… say a cop.  She loves this cop.  She adores this cop.  But two days into the relationship, she expects him to stop being a cop.  It’s a dangerous job, honey.  You knew it when you signed on, deal with it.
  • Waffling.  If you fall into bed with the guy before you should have, deal with it.  If it was a mistake, accept it, try not to repeat it, but please please please don’t moan about it for the next 100 pages.  You’ve got a story to tell, get on with it!

 So those are the rules that really do it for me.  I try to stick with them when I write and these character traits are the ones I need to see when I read romances.  A good writer might be able to bend or break one or two, but it’s only going to happen if that story just sucks me right in.