Writing Romance 101––Part IV

We’re discussing crafting the Heroine––the key to any romance. To get your reader involved in the novel, convince her that your heroine is not only someone she would like to know, but someone she would like to be. Click to Tweet #amwriting #writingromance101 #craftingtheheroine

Review. Last time, we created a heroine named Susie. We said she has to be “real” and respond in a realistic way to things that happen to her. Conflict is also a major part of any story, and our heroine must be knee-deep or deeper in it.

We decided that Susie fears rejection because several boys in high school dumped her in favor of the head cheerleader. This fear kept her from entering the dating game, and she has no frame of reference for dating “etiquette.” Let’s add to Susie this time.

Identifiable Character Traits. Let’s give Susie some things that are easily recognizable when the reader thinks about Susie. Often, characters live a life we “common” folks would never lead. Let’s create a job for Susie. Even a career that seems far outside the realm of possibility for the reader can still make for a likeable and relatable heroine. Let’s say Susie is a woman rabbi, who comes from a family of rabbis, and she went to a Jewish high school. That’s an unusual job. Maybe fellow students looked at her like people look at “P.K.’s”. The Preacher’s Kid who never fits in. What other traits can we give her? What talents? When I think of a PK, I think of Anne Graham Lotz. She’s Billy Graham’s daughter, and got his preaching gift. She’s an outstanding woman, but she had a trouble gaining acceptance when she started out. Maybe Susie will, too.

Complexity. Think of character quirks that are unusual, human, and interesting. The last thing a reader wants is a boring heroine. There’s no way they can identify or cheer on a lead female character who isn’t complex or imperfect. So, think about that as you build your protagonist.

So, let’s give Susie a stutter when she gets nervous. Most of the time, her messages at synagogue are inspirational and helpful to the congregation. Except when she sees a certain guy (who is probably the hero of the story she’ll end up with). When he walks into her sanctuary, he’ll unnerve her to the point that she loses focus and stutters.

Craft your heroine with a small character trait you only have to mention once or twice in order to have it resonate with the reader. This trait should be something that readers can identify with and think “Oh, she’s not so different from me.” Click to Tweet #amwriting #romancewriting101 #craftingtheheroine

What other traits would you give Susie? Think about it. Leave a comment and let me know.

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