Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wicked Wednesday - original PNR heroines



I love the kick-butt heroines of paranormal romance (PNR). I love their physical and mental strength, their immense supernatural powers, their intelligence, and their wit. But sometimes they start to blur together.

It's fun to read and write about a strong female character, but there are a lot of them in this genre. When you get so many of the same type of protagonists, the books don't stand out from one another. It's the author's job to make sure their heroine is unique and memorable.

Here are a few tips to having a fantastic and original PNR heroine:

- Give her an unexpected job. We see many assassins, spies, and law enforcement officers. While those careers provide a good background for fighting experience and opportunities to mix with the dark side, there are several other jobs to choose from. What about a teacher or a nurse? Or even a rattlesnake milker. That's a dangerous job!

- Don't make her a loner. There are too many orphans and women from broken homes in PNR. Everyone needs some support. Give her good (smart!) friends and/or a decent family.

- Wit and sarcasm is fine. So is a little attitude. Yet don't go overboard. If the protagonist gives sass back to everyone, no one is going to like her. If she never follows her boss' orders, she's not going to keep her job no matter how good she is.

- Don't make her a glamor queen or a scarred beautiful killer. Not every man needs to lust after her. What's important is that her love interest finds her gorgeous.

- Make her strong, smart, and brave, but most importantly, make her flawed. Everyone has flaws. Protagonists become boring if they're perfect. Give the powerful characters flaws equal to or greater than their strengths. It'll be much more worth the reader's while when the protagonist overcomes them.

What types of heroines do you see too much of in PNR? Any additional tips on how to make them unique?

13 comments:

  1. I think you pretty much covered all the stereotypes here!

    I hate the whole scarred, beautiful killer thing.

    Also, I think the reason there are so many loner heroines is because in order for them be so brutal, they need to have nothing left to lose. It makes them a heck of a lot more reckless and unafraid.

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  2. Great list! I love all of your tips, especially the one about flaws. (Perfection is always so unrealistic, not to mention boring!)

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  3. Great tips. They were all great ideas to make a character stand out. And making a list like this is a great idea if you're stuck when developing your characters.

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  4. I like your tips. I do get bored with these similar heroines; I wrote about it not long ago on my site: http://pepperwords.com/?p=3936

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  5. You make great points Christine and these are some really good tips. Thanks for sharing =-) My favorite point is that it's most important that her love interest finds her enchanting, not every guys alive. Love it.

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  6. I think these tips work well for any genre! Taking notes :)

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  7. I think some of those apply to male characters as well. (Says the man who created an orphaned loner with snark and attitude for a character.)

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  8. The 'everybody loves her' thing really irks me. Really? I don't want to know her.

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  9. Thanks for stopping by, everyone. I do think it can apply to every genre and to guys too. I love immensely flawed characters and reading how they struggle to overcome their flaws. A story's external conflict has to be gripping, but the protagonist's internal conflict is what gives the story heart.

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  10. LOL. My daughter and I laugh about how every young woman in YA or NA is an orphan. Must they be?

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  11. Great pointers... agree with them all. I like my heroines to have a bit of sassiness but also not be afraid to kick-ass:)

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  12. I'm all for the unique careers--like a park ranger or undertaker.

    Truth? I'm tired of love triangles. Yup. I know that doesn't have much to do with the character, but at the same time it does. I NEVER at any point in my life liked two guys equally. Ever. I think it's a weakness in character if a girl can't decide. A silly, shallow weakness.

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  13. I just want her to be a relatively normal person who suddenly finds herself thrust into a situation she's uncomfortable with. That's someone I can relate to.

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