In every story I write, my heroines are always tough women. In Hurricane Crimes, Beth Kennedy takes on a hurricane and a man who might be a murderer. In 30 Seconds, Dr. Dani Hart has to deal with a police-killing Mob. Both women are tough cookies!
In your story, make the heroine’s role important. Give her big things to do. Don’t just have her fall in love with the hero, or rely on him to save her. Make her as physically strong and as smart as the hero. She has to be able to keep up with him, not sit on the sidelines, and she definitely has to be able to stand up to him. A strong heroine should never cower when the hero (or any man) yells at her. In other words, she can’t be a weakling! But she can still have a soft side.
Heroines are usually beautiful in books. There is nothing wrong with making your heroine attractive, but make her different, too! Not all heroines have to be blonde-haired, blue-eyed babes.
Along with beauty, give her abilities, skills, and strengths that no one else has. These can be supernatural or just different like carpentry, boxing or maybe she’s a drummer. She should also have the respect of other characters. Not necessarily all of them (like the antagonist, enemy or even an older sibling), but most of them.
When you describe the heroine’s actions, use detailed descriptions, especially if she’s in a position that requires her to be feisty and show her strength. Use strong verbs to reveal what she does, and how she feels in that moment. And when you write her dialogue, make sure she speaks her mind and speaks from her heart.
Here are 15 additional things that you can do to make a strong heroine:
1. Crown her with a high profile career where she has a big role. She can be a cop, doctor, lawyer or self-defense instructor like Beth in Hurricane Crimes.
2. Make her brave. This doesn’t mean she’s not scared (we all get scared), but that she can push aside her fear to do what needs to be done.
3. Give her a temper. Some would argue a heroine should be poised and calm all the time, but a heroine who unleashes her anger when it is warranted can be very exciting and entertaining. And we all get mad.
4. Don’t let her apologize, defend, or explain herself to anyone. What she does, she does for a reason, but she can still be compassionate.
5. Show she’s smart! It’ll be hard to convince your readers that your heroine is an all-around tough woman if she’s dumb and can’t think for herself.
6. Emphasize her flaws to make her real. All women have flaws, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t strong. By showing her flaws, you can also make her more confident.
7. Give her determination. In everything she does, she has to be following her heart.
8. When challenges are thrown at her, let her meet them head-on, even if they momentarily knock her over.
9. Don’t let her take any B.S! She must stand up for herself, and others.
10. Make her strong. She can be athletic or even have supernatural powers. Whatever her strength is, she needs to know it and use it! Maybe her greatest strength is her brains.
11. Allow her to recognize when she makes a mistake, even if she doesn’t apologize for it immediately.
12. Let her help people in their weak moments.
13. Give her a fear she has to overcome, or an enemy she has to beat.
14. Whatever her destiny is, have her move toward it even if she has moments of fear and confusion. And if she has goals, let her strive for them with her head held high!
15. Here are characteristics you can give her: passion, ambition, confidence, honesty, courage and loyalty. (This doesn't mean she won't have weak moments. She will, but she'll overcome them.) She can also be humble, responsible and energetic.
SHARE: Your tips for creating a heroine of steel.
QUESTION: Who is your favorite heroine of steel in your writing, and/or in a book you've read?