Pauline Baird Jones, author, writer, romantic suspense author, science fiction romance author, steampunk, humor, action adventure
The heroine of this classic, Mary Stewart tale goes through a lot for the guy and almost walks away. Luckily for him, he figures it out in the end. 🙂

As I mentioned in my blog about post-finish blues, I always feel a sense of loss when I let one set of characters go and begin the “dating” process with a new set. The process is somewhat akin to speed dating, because I know pretty quickly if a character isn’t right for a story. The harder part is finding the one that is right, that will become a good partner in telling my story.

Because I totally make it up as I go along (sometimes called “seat of the pants” or “into the mist” plotting), my heroine is very important to my story telling. If she’s a prima donna, or relatively inert, then my story won’t ever get into motion. This is very bad for an author.

Sometimes I’ve had to (literally) light a bomb under them, but this wears us both out. I infinitely prefer the cooperative heroine—though I can totally see why they drag their feet at being in one of my stories, since the bullets (or ray blasts) tend to start flying early in the narrative and don’t stop until the bad guy is down. My books are not for the faint-of-heart heroine.

All this got me to mulling heroines in general, rather in my particular (I’m totally NOT stalling…okay, maybe I’m stalling a little. This speed dating is exhausting!).

What are the qualities I love in a heroine? What keeps me taking the trip with them, even when they aren’t perfect?

Probably my favorite quality in a heroine (and in my friends!) is a sense of humor. I love it when a heroine strides onto the book stage (or my mental stage) and cracks a joke. Or makes a wry, but witty comment. I tend to joke during times of stress and difficulty and I like characters who can see the funny side of a tush kicking. I can take angst in small doses, but like it leavened with humor.

Audio cover of Girl Gone Nova
I loved creating a character who’s strength became her weakness in the story. Fortunately she was also teachable, but boy she made me work for this story!

I love heroines who are brave, but not the ones who aren’t smart enough to be scared. I like the ones who are frightened and go forward anyway. It takes a lot of courage to press forward against the odds. Heroines like this inspire me, and they make me want to revisit their stories again and again (yes, I’m a re-reader! So much so I blogged about it twice!)

I love heroines who know they aren’t perfect, that they may have to change themselves to get to that happy ending. They remind me that many of my problems can be solved if I change myself, instead of hoping that other people will change.

I like smart heroines, but “smart” comes in a variety of packages. I don’t require them to never be stupid, because perfect people (if they existed) are annoying. If you never make a mistake, you never learn, even if you’re fictional. My favorite form of “smart” is down-home, common sense. Life smarts. No frills smarts, though I’ve had some fun with geek smarts in my books and I love reading a good, geeky-smart heroine who kicks tush with brain power.

And because I’m romantic (married 38 years!), I love heroines who are open to love, but aren’t so desperate to get it that they’ll do anything to get their guy. I like the ones who have the courage to reach and risk their hearts—but are also willing to walk away from a guy who doesn’t appreciate them properly.

So what about you? Do you look for a particular type of heroine in your reading material? What is about them that entices you to take a book journey with them? How do you know when you’ve found it? Inquiring minds would love to know and…

All comments are entered into my monthly drawing for $10 AnaBanana gift card. Winner is announced in the first blog post of the new month. (Note: It has come to my attention that my comment system was broken. I believe it is fixed again, so hope you’ll feel inspired to leave one before you go! Normally I’d award a winner in this blog post, but because the comments were down, I’m going to extend this and award $20 for April.)

Pauline Baird Jones, author, writer, romantic suspense author, science fiction romance author, steampunk, humor, Project Enterprise

 Perilously yours,


Pauline Baird Jones loves creating heroines and heroes. She loves writing books. She just released #13 and is hoping it will be good luck for her (it’s not like she can skip the number like a hotel!) and her characters. Relatively Risky is gradually going on sale in a lot of places (though not out in print yet). You can find it at:

Amazon           B&N         Kobo      aRe       Smashwords (in distribution for libraries!) and coming soon to iTunes!

Pauline Baird Jones, author, writer, romantic suspense author, science fiction romance author, steampunk, humor, action adventure
When an aspiring illustrator attracts the attention of a New Orleans mob family, and secrets long hidden are unearthed from the past, a handsome homicide detective may be her only chance of surviving the Big Easy.
Best Story Heroine Qualities?

6 thoughts on “Best Story Heroine Qualities?

  • April 13, 2013 at 10:44 am

    Pauline, bought and read the Big Uneasy. I’m on vaca, but wanted you to know how much I enjoyed it. Haven’t been to N O for but your book made me want to go back! Loved the hero and heroine and even the bad dudes were written well.

    • April 13, 2013 at 10:46 am

      Thank you so much for letting me know! I had so much fun going back, at least in my memory! Lol enjoy your vaca!!

  • April 2, 2013 at 8:32 am

    Great post. As a reader I’m drawn to the strong female. You might say I prefer a Hermione over a Bella. 🙂


    • April 2, 2013 at 9:40 am

      Hermione is a great heroine! I love her, too. She reminds me of a book character from my distant past. A book called Jade by Sally Watson. She becomes a pirate! I loved that! LOL

      I read Twilight, started when there were two books, I think. What’s interesting, is that at first I liked the book okay. I enjoyed it. But it is one of those books you need to not think about too much, particularly from an author’s point of view. Of course, I did. LOL But I do wonder what vein or tribal memory she managed to tap into that took the book so big? What button did she push that reached so many readers? Was it something in Bella? Or Edward? Jacob? Was it the simplicity of it all? Love it or hate it, it reached a lot of readers. And got a lot of teenage girls to read books.

      I like my quirky characters, but wouldn’t mind tapping into something universal. LOLOL!

  • April 1, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    You chose some excellent traits for heroines. I especially like the heroine who can face danger with a plan of her own and can find humor in the situation. I also like a heroine with good moral fiber. She thinks long and hard before sleeping with the hero and she has to love him with all her heart. A thought provoking blog. The Big Uneasy (series title?) is a very catchy title and I love the premise.

    • April 2, 2013 at 9:34 am

      Thanks for stopping by, Sarah. Yes, Big Uneasy is the series title. We lived their for 18 years and it was always as Uneasy and it was Easy. LOL! I agree on the moral fiber. The best heroines try to do the right thing all the time, even if they sometimes fail. 🙂

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