Some muddled thoughts on heroines:
Character-driven stories always appeal, because of our fascination with how the set-up, principal characters react, respond or instigate the plot.
Have been mulling over heroines lately -- how they are primarily categorized and the dangers of disgusting readers if said heroines inappropriately blend the characteristics of more than one type.
One could roughly classify lead females as (1) smart-ass/kick-ass, as (2) gentle feminine creatures/wimpy/TSTL, or as (3) Red Hot Mammas.
Ideally, I suppose, the best heroines will tastefully combine elements of all three types. We like them to be strong, feminine and sexy.
Yet, while reading book reviews, I see a lot of criticism. A mess-with-the-best-die-with-the-rest heroine who always seems to need high-power rescue by the hero, or who turns into a complete pussy and can't keep her mind off the hero's body. A jelly bean girl.
I became seriously annoyed with a heroine recently because she was always screaming, B-movie style.
As well as arguing w/hero and slow to follow orders while the bad guys were beating down the door/shooting at them, etc. in a peculiar determination to indicate to the reader she was independent and, you know, strong.
Tickers depend entirely on personal fetishes of course. My limit is one scream per story.
On the other hand, I have no problem with tears, as long as they are not hysterical, and I don't remove strong woman status from a heroine if she has female fits after the action is over. I don't consider that character wimp, merely a physiological stress reaction. One not confined to gender, either.
Lillie, btw, hurls a couple of times. While realistic, not romantic -- and might well cause a reader with expectations of a strong heroine to feel betrayed. Maybe too close to the Squick line for some people.
For while we claim we want developed characters with weaknesses as well as strengths, we're picky about the form those weaknesses assume.
What inconsistent character reactions, regardless of sex, turns your crank?
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