Wednesday, March 4, 2009

In Search of the Perfect Heroine

This is tough, I have no idea what men look for in a heroine, but then they don’t read romances so who cares. Well, we must care because she has to be attractive to our hero. We need to know what men look for in their ladies.

I told a lie in my very first paragraph. Can you guess what it is? Men don’t read a romance is an outrageous lie. On one of my loops, several readers said they and their husbands often read a romantic adventure together. I bet you are just dying to know why. Well, guess what, they are learning new techniques for making love. They want the sex between them and their spouses to be more satisfying, more interesting to their respective partners.

Okay, I’ve digressed a bit. My personal opinion of the ideal female protagonist is that she may be us. Of course, I’m not saying I’m perfect (just close to it—grin), but neither is our character. We can make her the way we would like to look or act, but she still has to have ordinary flaws like all women have.

There are physical attributes that most guys look for in a woman when they are on the prowl. Almost all males pant over boobs, the ass and legs, but in the end those features won’t hold their interest forever. No, your heroine better have a personality, be intelligent and strong. No man wants a stick character, a dummy or someone who can’t take care of themselves when he’s not there.

A man wants to take care of his woman, (yeah, the caveman) but not to the extent, she is reliant on him all the time. Gentlemen, you wish for a partner that you can lean on when the need arises. This means the perfect heroine needs to know when to be strong and when not to be.

Appearance is only important as far as description of the female protagonist is necessary in my story, and also, because everyone wants to read about a hot looking female. The old saying that beauty is in the eye of the beholder is true between a man and a woman. What one man or woman finds lovely or handsome may not be another person’s idea of either.

A heroine may be made up of a composite of many people or maybe just someone you might like to meet in your dreams. Take the best from all women and make her your idol.

I hope you enjoyed my silliness. Until next time.



Ann Whitaker said...


I had to comment on your post. I rarely watch Dr. Phil, but yesterday turned on the TV to his show about couples who have lost their libido. Granted, these are married couples, but I think it's a propos to your comments, as most of the program was focused on women who wanted sex and husbands who were reluctant.

One thing I drew from it was that men need to see their wives as sexual creatures. As women. Not just as mothers, housecleaners, cooks, etc.

So what can women do to make their husbands see them in a different light. One thing mentioned was jealousy. Men need to feel this isn't "his" woman. That she's also desirable to other men. And the woman needs to tell the husband her fantasies about other men.

I'm not sure I buy into all this (haven't tried it), but it was interesting.

Dr. P was also touting a book written by a rabbi called THE KOSHER SUTRA.

So to relate this to the hero/heroine, I supppose the heroine would have to present a challenge to the hero in some way AFTER the initial attraction. If he thinks she's "his," there's no reason for him to pursue her.

Love with a Texas Twang
DOG NANNY coming in June

Sandy said...

What an interesting comment, Ann.

I notice my husband shows more after we have bumped into guys I used to work with. lol

There might be some relevance to what Dr. Phil says. Grin.


Stacey Joy Netzel said...

Cute post, Sandy! I've recently noticed a recurring theme in my books...the hero always ends up taking care of the heroine in some way at some point of the book. There's always some 'rescue' aspect, even if it's just loading Christmas presents from her snowbound car into his truck. My heroines aren't helpless by any means, but it's always nice to have a man to help out. :)

Carol Ericson said...

Oh, I think romance writers tend to idealize their heroines as much as their heroes! It seems that most heroines are smart, attractive, in good shape, exercise regularly, are great mothers, don't smoke, don't drink to excess - everything we wish we were. LOL I enjoy reading about imperfect heroines - Susan Elizabeth Phillips does great imperfect heroines. Come on - we all have flaws - I'd like to see a heroine have a little too much wine on occasion and sing bad karaoke!

Z(Aasiyah/Nolwynn) said...


Your silliness is refreshing, so keep it coming. We'll miss it if it ain't there!

Carol - Bridget Jones has a tad too much to drink very often, and her singing is really awful. And she also wears granny panties! That's my idea of a 'normal' woman!

Back to your post, Sandy, yes, we need to make the heroine a woman the hero will love. That's why every heroine has to be different -for her man she is unique. The same goes for the heroes, and this strikes a fragile balance between the main protagonists that the author has to catch and sketch properly on her writing canvas.

My heroines are never perfect. Lord knows they swear and indulge in unhealthy stuff - like Asda chocolate mousse cake - one time too often, but that's what I find appealing about them. They are women you could meet at the grocery store, and women you could definitely be friends with.

Lovely post darlin!



Sandy said...

Thanks, Stacey and Carol for coming by and reading my blog.

Stacey, I agree with you that heroines can be strong, but have times when they can be helpless. Sure, your heroine could have moved the groceries from her car to his, but then he wanted to be helpful and heroic. lol

Carol, I think that for a heroine to be realistic, she has to have flaws. Good for Susan Elizabeth Phillips for making realistic heroines.


Sandy said...


Thanks for liking my silliness. There are just moments when you need it in a marriage. Like right now when hubby is wanting to spend time fixing his breakfast. lol


Chiron said...

I love the silliness!

For me, in my first three books I definitely created heroines who represented the goofier side of my being. I love the "spunky kid" and my first heroines reflected that.

In my current WIP, I drew a different side out. A much more analytical and independent heroine (fitting for a suspense) yet I also think this character is drawn from within, just parts of myself that aren't as readily seen.

The perfect heroine is always the one you can relate to on some level. Even if it's a wistful sigh, "Wow, to be like her..."

GREAT post, Sandy!!


Sandy said...


I agree that the heroine has to be someone we can relate to in some way. Thanks for stopping by.