Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Writing Tips for aspiring authors - Character Traits for the Romantic Heroine

She's gutsy, clever, and stands up for what she believes. She's the romantic heroine. She the perfect "girl" for the hero, so I thought I'd talk a little about what character traits which makes our heroines special.

For a modern reader, a romantic heroine must embody three things: an ability to connect with the reader, strength, and she must deserve the hero.

Connect with Readers:

What makes her sympathetic?

How does she deal with sorrow and loss? Does she fall apart or put on a brave fa├žade?
How does she deal with loneliness?
Does she have a sense of humor. Laughter is one trait everyone finds appealing. Who doesn't enjoy a good laugh?


I try to draw on the following qualities:

I like a smart, clever heroine who can figure things out for herself.
I like her to have some inner strength. When it gets tough, I want to her to be able to look her problems right in the eyes despite the challenges she faces.
I like her a little gutsy and brave. I'd like her to be willing to take chances.

Deserving the Hero:

Does she have a like mindset as him?
Does she embody the inner nobility he does?
Does she do the right despite the temptation to lie, cheat, and steal?
Does she hold firm to her values like he does his?

QUESTION: As an author, what traits do you weave into your heroines? As a reader, what kind of heroine appeals to you?

Stephanie's latest release is "Feast of Candles," a spicy contemporary romance. When Drake steps into Lily's lonely world, he's determined to win over her heart, but is she willing to let him in?


She placed her hands on his chest, aware of his strength and warmth. Over the past week, she'd become comfortable in his embrace. "The van leaves at eight from the winery and we'll arrive at the hospital around ten. We'll set up and meet with the children at twelve. After passing out the gifts, we'll share a dinner with them and then we're done around four."

"Sounds like a busy day."

"Have you ever been to San Francisco?" "My plane landed there, but I didn't linger." "I'll show you the sights, then."

"Do we have a place to stay?"

"My penthouse. I have a gorgeous view of the Golden Gate Bridge."

"Is there anything you don't own?" Amusement danced in his eyes.

She placed a finger to her cheek. "Give me a minute. I'll think of something."

5 Stars, Amazon Reviews, Loves Romance
The ending with the feast of candles is so romantic you'll want your own. Lovely Story.

Buy Link:


  1. Spunky! Doesn't wait for the hero to rescue her! :) A woman with a mind of her own. Sense of humor and honor and family. These are all important to me as a reader and writer. :) Great post, Stephanie! Sounds like a super story!

  2. I agree, Terry - I really enjoying reading about a decisive heroine.


  3. Absolutely: doesn't wait for the hero to rescue her! That's not to say that the hero shouldn't try, but she has to be able to stand on her own. Stephanie, I think you covered all the bases well.

    Sounds like a great love story,

  4. A very good synopsis of the qualities of a good heroine! Well done, Steph. We like our heroines capable of taking care of themselves, don't we? Did the early romance novels show the heroines like this? I truly don't know, but I bet our contemporary heroines--or even those from the Nineteenth Century--were spunkier and had more courage than the early ones.
    Good reminders, and thanks.

  5. Good post Steph. I like contemporary heroines to be thoroughly modern, knowing what they want and fighting adversity, even if deep inside they hide a certain vulnerability. While to be realistic, a historical heroine cannot be too strong or independent, simply because at the time it was not the norm for a young woman to be without a protector. A historical heroine who acts like a contemporary one looks like a fake.

  6. I've been wanting to talk about this subject over at my blog, as romance is a key element in the early western, especially after THE VIRGINIAN (1902). You all might find B.M. Bower's novels of interest. Her heroine in her first novel, CHIP OF THE FLYING U (1906), is a smart, likable character who gets involved with a cowboy with interesting results.

    If it's OK with you, Steph, I'd like to use your talking points in a future blog post about romance in the early western.

  7. Lovely cover, Steph!!
    About heroines, they definitely must be deserving. I was reading a book this past week, I won't name names. Anyway, it was kind of predictable, but also kind of enjoyable. Until the heroine began doing unheroic things, putting selfish motives above the hero's welfare. No, it wasn't good enough if she felt sorry afterwards for her dumb mistake. When I hit that spot in my kindle book, I pressed and sent it to archives where it belongs.

    Morgan Mandel

  8. I like alpha heroines, who can kick ass better than the hero. I guess that's why I like beta heroes. I like to turn the woman/man dynamic upside down and play with it.