This is intended to be the Magnum Opus about how I view heroines and how I write them.

I guess I’ll start with a short descriptions of the various heroines that I usually interact with. This is a ‘personal’ blog post. I will not be doing a compendium of all heroines or all the kinds of women out there. I’m different from many, and they’re different from me. If something offends you, I hope that you will continue to read our blog.

First, lets talk about types and characters who are good examples.

What is a Heroine? A heroine is a female hero. This is more than just the main character. It doesn’t have to be a main character. A heroine is a female character, who, like the hero, grab your attention. They are also movers and shakers of the plot. A hero(ine) is more than just a plot point dragged about by the true Hero(ine), he/she’s an important character in and of themselves, not by what they can do. Remember, you can have more than one hero, like you can have more than one protagonist.

In other words, say the hero gets sick. If the love interest goes on a quest to get the flower that will cure him, she’s a heroine. If she stays by his side, she’s the love interest and the chick, which is not a heroic character (but usually on the side of good). Another way of putting it, is when the character is female and  she’s capable of a good smiting (or her specialty, doesn’t necessarily need violence) whether or not she’s a protagonist (but not antagonist), she’s a heroine in my book. Let’s talk about types.

First off the Plucky Heroine (often called ‘plucky girl’ due to usual young age)

Traits: Courageous, loyal, strong right/wrong, kind hearted, innocent, usually inexperienced, potentially trickster, good humor, curious

Characters who I feel best describe it: Arietty, Rapunzel, Satsuki (Tortoro), Sheeta (castle in the Sky), Natsuki (Summer Wars), Cornflower and Rose from Redwall. Arcadia Snips (book of same name), Elena Fisher (Uncharted), Alicia (Valkyria Chronicles), Lucy (Chronicle of Narnia) Real Life: Joan D’arc,

Description: Characters like this are always nice and refreshing. They’re a little special compared to the rest. They’ve usually not experienced the dark part of life. It’s a bit more dangerous for them as they don’t have the experience the Lady of War or the Matriarch will have. They don’t have the allies (to start with) either, but benefit heavily from mentor characters. They are innocent, but not as a rule. They are afraid of the world around them (sometimes) but overcome it. This makes them the heroine, as opposed to, say, the love interest (not that they cannot be a love interest). They also will likely believe the best in people, and that mankind is ultimately good. They may try to convert the villain, if not too evil.

How I see it and write it: ultimately, most Plucky Girls are usually on a journey of self-discovery. Usually, they know what they are to a point. They need to solve a crisis/defeat a villain that stands in their way. They must have some growth to properly be strong characters in their own right. I.E. the story of Rachel Fleuret. She starts out as a rebellious and callow youth, despite being a princess (duh, there’s rules to follow here). She joins up with the wandering warrior, Armaran Forscythe to travel the world and see the sights. For her, it’s a period of growth and maturity that eventually will bring her back to her family and her responsibility. However, she starts out the load and must leave ‘chickhood’ and then towards the plucky girl when she overcomes her natural fear. That is, from being a needy, inexperienced waif to courageous, independent youth. This is part of the essence of the Plucky Girl as I see it.

The Lady of War

Traits: Elegance and grace, tough and a fighter, Mature, loyal, experienced, strong character, skilled,

Characters: Amira (A young bride’s story)  Briar (Boneshaker), Cornelia (Code Geass),  Erza Scarlet (Fairy Tail), Lady Eboshi (Princess Mononoke), Touka (Utawarerumonono), Susan (Chronicles of Narnia), O-Ren Ishi (Villain! Kill Bill), Selene  (Underworld), The Bennets (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), Selvaria (Valkyria Chronicles) Tila (Cold Iron)  Real Life: Scythian Noble Women and Samurai/Knight wives

Description: These characters are very attractive to readers. In stories that involve maturity, it is extremely satisfying to see a Plucky Girl become this. In actuality, the Lady of War can be one of the most savage characters on this list. She’s capable in combat (as a prerequisite, at this age, they usually move on from the ‘love interest’ catching phase of their lives)Likely they have had traumatic experiences that have broken their ‘plucky girl’ attitude (as in the case of Briar) but never turned into a Dark Action Girl (for long). The character can be cruel or kind, but it depends on their past. As they have a past, it defines them more than any other character, as the Plucky Girl has none and the Matriarch has dealt with hers (or it died).

How I see it and Write it: They are strong characters and personalities in and of themselves, and can drive character driven stories if done right. In Young Bride’s Story, Amira’s character is able to drive the story entirely during the beginning chapters. The same is true in Boneshaker, though Briar is driven by finding her son and dealing with the ghosts of the past. A major character in the Utan Migration War: Valkyrie Sky Queen Stellaria is this, or rather, a subversion of it. She’s lost her husband and her kingdom is abandoning her. As she is now, she needs to deal with her depression as well as win back the respect of her peers. She also needs to teach her son how to be a good Valkyrie. She has all the elegance and potential to be a Lady of War, but her circumstances are holding her back. At the first climax of her story, she finds the will to fight and fully becomes the Lady of War. Later, she is able to demonstrate to her son maturity, so that he can fully understand what it is to be a Valkyrie Man. She starts as a character too weak to be a lady of war, and matures as her own character, rather than defining herself as Belgan’s widow.

Matriarch

Traits: MASSIVE wisdom stat, smart, experienced, teacher, honorable, responsible, leadership, social, calm, capable, age

Characters: Sanae (Best example and picture, Summer Wars), Princess Celestia (MLP:FIM a goddess variant), Grandma (from Young Bride’s story), Angela Petrelli (Heroes), Dora (Castle in the Sky), Grandma “Rose” Ben (Bone), Constance the badger (Redwall, and by proxy, Tansy and other Abbesses/Badger mothers) Mama Odie (Princess and the frog) Real Life: Queen Elizabeth II (may she reign forever! she’s so cool!) Everyone’s grandma.

Description: Very old and very experienced, she’s likely the leader of the family, despite males present. She’s iron willed and ‘an old battleax’, capable despite her years. Likely she acts the perfect lady, but can remove the veil in a second when she has to. She’s protective of her family, and takes it upon herself to train the younger generation. Likely, she has been both a Plucky gal and a lady of war (even if she didn’t fight) at least in spirit. Honor is one of her bywords, and it is dreadful for her (unless she starts it) to have the family act poorly. Sometimes she’s sickly, which makes for a tragic character. This is the final ‘evolution’ of the Heroine.

How I see it and Write it: The Matriarch character is a hard one to write, it’s subtle. For my own writing, I’ve created no character that fully exemplifies her. The closest is the High Admiral of Jaedinar, Witha the Handsome. She’s an old battleax who fully went through the three stages. She’s against the general war against the Estellion Sky Empire, but keeps it to herself. She’s protective of her under-admirals and captains, having taught many of them since they joined the military. She’s wise in the ways of war, and calmly assesses all situations. Her major actions of national importance is founding the Delegation of Three Nations with other Admirals. She’s the head of that, cooling the head of Helia Ordin and the wisdom giving of Gil Colin Graham. All in all, a very cool old lady in a powerful position.

I hope that this explains much of how I view things. Obviously this isn’t meant to apply to all female characters, but rather certain traits (tropes) I have seen very commonly in my exploration of literature. Enjoy reading!

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