Top 5 Reasons to Write a Smart and Savvy Heroine

By Kayla King, Editorial Assistant for Harlequin Intrigue

There are a lot of strong heroines in the romance game these days, and in fact, romance as a genre has become known for subverting dated ideas of how ladies are meant to think and feel. But that doesn’t mean we’re ever done paving the way!

1. There are so many disappointing heroines in books that we have an abbreviation for it—TSTL.  If that’s not a sign that we’re overdue for a change, I don’t know what is.  Do you really want another book starring someone deemed Too Stupid to Live?

2. It’s a total myth that a woman who is intelligent and capable doesn’t have time or interest in love. Writing a smart heroine is really just writing true-to-life!  You should know this better than anyone, right? 😉

3. It’s important to have characters develop and change over the course of a story, but don’t write the heroine in a way that makes her want less for herself or generally compromise herself after she meets the hero. Can she have it all?  Of course.  Another myth busted.

4. Balance her out with a hero who isn’t totally shocked about falling for a smart woman. No more silly revelations about oh, wow, I never thought I would go for such a driven lady.  It’s a little insulting.  She’s better than that guy.

5. Write bright and brilliant secondary characters as well. This is a sharp lady at the top of her game.  How did she get there?  Probably a great support system.  No smart and savvy heroine is complete without her kick-butt friends, am I right?  Before somebody swoops in and puts his foot in his mouth by saying she’s not like other girls, try making the case that this fabulous heroine is strong because of other ladies, not in spite of them.



4 replies on “Top 5 Reasons to Write a Smart and Savvy Heroine”

Yes, but don’t leave them with no room to grow on Page One. That’s boring. I have no reason to keep reading if the heroine is born with a sword in one hand and a PhD in the other. Seriously, I’m sick of that. It’s just not believable or interesting. I’ve tossed more books for that reason than the over-abundance of Alpha Males.

You make a really good point, Kimber Li. I’ve seen that many times, too, and I agree with you,it never makes me want to read on. The key, as you say, is believability. If characters have both strengths and flaws – like us – we care about what happens to them. So much to talk about with this post!

Agreed. I also believe it’s important to remember that there are *many kinds of strength.* For example, Mrs. Weasley from Harry Potter was just as a strong as Captain Janeway from Star Trek. They had different motivations and kinds of power, but they were both strong, gorgeous women. 😉

I agree, Kimber Li! And I love that you bring up Molly Weasley as an example, as I’ve been rereading the series and remain very impressed with the strength of her character. Different kinds of strength are important to highlight!

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