Last week I attended a panel discussion on kick-ass heroines which directly relates to my Ladies of Black Swan series. Hopefully the first book will release next year.
I’m curious to see if you agree with that panel of authors.
There seems to be an emerging trend for kick-ass heroines. Whether it is because of female dominant characters in newer video games or the attention the American media pays to females in the military, the popularity is reflected in increasing book sales containing this type heroine.
Side bar here for a moment. The panel and attendees all agreed that there is a difference between a strong heroine and a kick-ass heroine. The latter is usually physically strong. As a group we decided that, unless paranormally enhanced, women are physically weaker than men. Given the right circumstances, though, a woman can kick a man’s ass and put a serious hurt on him. Women are usually underestimated in the physical strength department so when they have the capability and are forced to use their muscles, men are often surprised by what a woman can, and will, do. Women are much more cunning than men, and when attacked, there is no such thing as fair play.
I asked the panel to tell me the characteristics they thought a kick-ass heroine needed. Here’s the list
Confidence. A strong heroine doesn’t necessarily have to show this trait until the end, but a kick-ass heroine should be a little cocky and display self-assurance. Her underlying quality may actually be self-reliance since she is the lone wolf persona in female form.
Intuitive. Her experience has taught her to depend on her instincts and she reacts quickly. Since we write romantic fiction, she’s almost always correct in her assumptions, except where the hero is involved.
A kick-ass heroine does not show Vulnerability except to those very few people she lets in. But a hero eventually sees through the hardened outer shell to her softer side.
Cut and Dry. Black and White. Good and Evil. There are no gray areas to this type heroine. That is, of course, until she interacts with the hero and blurs the lines.
The next two are tied together in my mind. Loyalty and Sacrifice. She will do anything for those she cares about and it usually involves sacrificing something she wants to give others what they need.
Faith. Not religious, although that too can play into it, but primarily faith in herself. She can get the job done and the fight is worth whatever it costs her.
One of the panelists summed it up very well…
“Kick-ass heroines are the women we all wish we were.”
Were there characteristics they missed? What do you think makes a kick-ass heroine? Which heroine do you prefer; strong or kick-ass? Who was/is your favorite strong or kick-ass heroine?
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