In this post, we look at the lead character of a category romance, the romantic heroine, and give you tips for writing about her.
This post is based on a section of our romance writing course: This Kiss
The Romantic Heroine
The heroine is at the heart of your romance novel. This is her story, her journey. She takes centre stage.
Most romance readers are women and they want to see themselves mirrored in the stories they read. In this genre, the heroine is essentially the reader’s alter ego: she controls everything the reader feels emotionally. Therefore, she has to be a very likeable character: someone you’d like to be.
When the reader identifies – consciously or subconsciously – with your heroine, she vicariously absorbs the heroine’s emotions as her own. She feels this is happening to her – rather than some fictional character.
[Must-Read: All About The Romance Writing Genre]
1. The Secret Weapon Is Empathy
Just as the heroine falls in love with the hero, so must the reader of the novel fall in love with her. Getting your reader to identify with your heroine is your secret weapon. Your heroine’s feelings – conflict, desire, fear, excitement – become your reader’s feelings. When your heroine falls in love with the hero, your reader falls in love with him too.
Exercise: Create a likeable character for your book.
Create a character you’d like to be friends with. Use this quick questionnaire: Character Interview
2. The Day Before You Came
Get ready for the first meeting. The moment of change in a romance novel is when the hero enters (or re-enters her life). It’s important for us to know what her life was like before he came into her world.
Exercise: A day in the life of…
Write one day in the life of your heroine before the hero shows up. Take us through her routine in the form of a diary entry, a schedule, or a scene that shows us what she does every day.
3. She Must Be Independent
It’s just as important for us to know she can survive without the hero. She must be independent, spirited, with a strong personality at the core.
Exercise: A life without him.
Write a short summary of what she would do with her life if she had never met him.
4. The Centre Of Attention
Your heroine has to be at the centre of the story. This is her story and it must be interesting enough and well-plotted enough to keep a reader interested.
Exercise: What is her story goal?
It is not simply to get the hero’s love. She needs a physical story goal. The emotional fulfilment is a by-product of achieving that goal. For example: She might need to save her family’s business. This could lead to her making a deal with the hero. This forced proximity ends up with the two falling in love.
5. Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder
Your heroine must never be aware of her own beauty. If you have a heroine who knows she’s beautiful, you create hubris. Nothing turns a reader off more. You will lose empathy: Readers don’t identify with a perfect heroine.
Rather, let the heroine be seen through your hero’s eyes. No one can argue if he finds her irresistible, now can they?
Your heroine doesn’t have to be poster-girl pretty, but she must have attractive qualities that counteract her flaws.
Find a picture of your heroine.
- Sign up for our romance writing course: This Kiss
- Use our Character Creation Kit to help you create great characters for your stories.
by Amanda Patterson
© Amanda Patterson
If you enjoyed this blogger’s writing, read:
- What Is An Epistolary Novel? & Tips For Writing One
- 3 Essential Exercises For Writing Endings
- 3 Essential Exercises For Writing Beginnings
- Why You Need Surprises In Stories
- 7 Tips From Journalists To Write A Better Memoir
- What Is Flash Fiction & Why Should I Write It?
Suggested Posts On Romance Writing:
- All About The Romance Writing Genre
- The Almost Moment Is The Secret To Successful Romance Writing
- 5 Ways To Write A Modern Romance With A Classic Twist
- Why I Write Romance
- 20 Things To Remember When Writing Category Romance
- 5 Ways To Add Layers To Your Scenes In Historical Romances
TOP TIP: Use our Character Creation Kit to help you create great characters for your stories.