May 30, 2017

The Heart of a Heroine


After sharing the above quote from my next book, Amongst the Roses a few weeks ago, I sat back and stared at it. Sure, that day the ever present Imposter Syndrome was flaring, but something bugged me about the quote I shared from Chapter One. It reminded me of a strong pet peeve I have when it comes to my favorite genre and it's heroines.

I loathe women in fiction that are swoony and whiny. Especially in historicals. I don't care if they're incredibly feminine or giggly and positive or what have you. Ella from Roseanna White's latest fits this description AND she had depth, growth and a vivid, caring heart. Example of an exemplary heroine right there. I just hate seeing heroines who are All About A Man and nothing else. What's worse is when this is a heroine working within a thinly veiled plot device that keeps her busy whilst the romance unfolds and she hops into the hero's arms to be swept off into the sunset.

I want to see transformation. Strength in the face of adversity. A test of character by either a past, the present or a shaky future. That is what hooks me into a story I read, and that is what I want to grip my own readers. That is the type of woman I want to be known as. Strong, brave, and gracious in spite of life, because of pain, in spite of my weakness—because of the Author and Finisher of my faith, He whose strength is made perfect in my weakness.

So why don't I rewrite my Margaret if I'm so annoyed with her? It's because I was nearsighted in that moment after I shared that meme. I couldn't see far. I had to zoom out, with the help of some caffeine and opening the two hundred page work in progress sequel, A Rose Long Awaited.
The War Between the States changes my heroine Margaret Isobel Bryant. When we meet her she has a single mission in mind, he is entitled and a control freak, somewhat spoiled and self centered. Okay so the control-freak doesn't completely go away. I write what I know.
But when the war comes to slowly but surely overturn her entire life and everything she's ever known? It changes her. The war and its tragedies both on the field and homefront break her heart.
But it all breaks her heart open to hope, teaching her that the One who holds the world in His hands is capable of holding her heart.
And she is a different person at the end of the first book, and changed even greater still by the end of the second.

For all you aspiring writers out there: write your heroine/hero true. Don't box them in according to genre. Write them human— but pay close attention to their journey. Even if, like in life, it's one step forward, two steps back.