Thursday, November 4, 2010

Author Guest Post: Lisa Desrochers

The trend in both YA and adult urban fantasy is definitely toward strong heroines, but I think the perception of a strong heroine is mostly in the eye of the reader. The same heroine might seem strong to me, but wishy-washy to someone else.
In my eyes, a strong heroine doesn’t have to be perfect, and she doesn’t need to have all the answers. Everyone is flawed. That’s reality. It’s also okay for her to need help sometimes. No one can do everything themselves. To make a heroine all knowing and totally self-sufficient wouldn’t ring true to readers. It would also make for a really boring story.
I think where the strength needs to lie is within. A strong heroine may not know what she wants, or even who she is, but there’s a strength of character. She needs to have integrity and believe in something, even if it’s not herself. Especially in YA, many heroines are still discovering themselves, and that’s half the fun of the story—watching her character develop and evolve. But, she needs to have some solid beliefs. Of course, it doesn’t hurt if she also can take care of herself physically, for the most part. Someone who always needs to be protected and taken care of (especially by males) becomes tiresome very quickly.
I think a lot of writers make the mistake of thinking that a strong heroine needs to be outwardly tough. Some of the most kick-butt heroines I know aren’t. (Think Kristin Cashore’s Fire and Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre) They don’t wield swords, or beat the crap out of people. If she’s smart and can outwit her opponent that’s just as good, if not better, in my book. I love both Katsa and Katniss (Graceling and The Hunger Games, respectively) because they’re smart and inwardly tough (and can shoot a mean arrow), without being outwardly overbearing.
In Frannie’s case, she’s seriously confused, and even damaged in a lot of ways. She’s jaded and has some major trust issues, but, deep down, she cares about her family and friends. As confused as she is, she has integrity. She struggles with right and wrong, just as many of us do in real life, and, even though her decisions aren’t always the wisest, she tries to do what’s right. And, did I mention that she works on cars with her grandpa, has a black belt in judo, and isn't afraid to take a swing at a demon? :p


  1. Thanks for posting! I really enjoyed this guest post - Lisa named some of my favorite heroines!

  2. I agree, I like it when the strong heroine is flawed, still learning/discovering/etc, it makes them more relatable and likable and real.


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