I’m a sucker for strong female protagonists. Characters like Katniss, Tris, and Elizabeth Bennet. They are girls who stand up for what they believe and create a difference in the people’s lives around them. Sure, they are fictional, but it’s girls like these that inspire readers to face obstacles they deal in their everyday lives.
The question is, how do we create heroines that break through the boundary of being more than just words in a book? What defines a heroine who is strong and inspirational?
My random thoughts:
1. Show Me– One of my all time favorite books is DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth. First of all, if you haven’t read the book, GO OUT AND BUY IT! (I’m so subtle. Smile.)
Tris, the main character, is faced with adversity and the odds of her success are practically impossible. But it’s through her sheer determination to stand up for what she wants, despite the consequences that makes her dauntless. She is a strong character. The book doesn’t need to tell this to the reader. Tris’ actions are sufficient.
2. The Heroine Must Save the Day– Cindy Pon reveals a stunning ending as Ai Ling in SILVER PHOENIX banishes a horrifying force. Sure there is a hot guy, but the hot guy doesn’t save the day. It’s Ai Ling (yay!).
Side note: I’ve always thought TWILIGHT would be so much better if it had been Bella who kicked James’ butt instead of Edward.
3. Motivations– The heroine must have internal and external motivations that push the boundaries and up the stakes. In FIRELIGHT, Sophie Jordan puts a fiery character on the page– Jacinda, a draki. I love how Jacinda longs for freedom and yet is desperate to cling onto her true self despite the opposition around her. She is a fighter for what she believes in.
4. Sacrifice– Characters willing to fight for those they love take a story to a new level. I think that’s why I love Elizabeth Bennet in Jane Austen’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE so much. Elizabeth is willing to sacrifice her love for Mr. Darcy (swoon!!) for the safety and keeping the good name of her sisters.
What about you? What do you think makes a great heroine? Who are some of your favorite heroines?