A Flawed Heroine is a Strong Heroine

Posted by November 12th, 2011

Book Country Twitter Chat (November 3, 2011)

Bestselling authors Christina Dodd and Jeaniene Frost talk about how to write a strong, but flawed, heroine and why it’s important.

 twitter_newbird_boxed_blueonwhiteWhen creating a strong heroine, there’s a delicate blend of assets and flaws that must be found. She should be realistic and sympathetic, yet she also needs to be special, unique, and strong. But how do you know if you’re achieving this goal? What can you do to ensure you’re on the right track?


Like all elements of writing, mastering this mix takes time and practice. It also takes knowledge. So, we asked New York Times bestselling authors Christina Dodd (@ChristinaDodd) and Jeaniene Frost (@Jeaniene_Frost) to be our professional tag team and share with us their expertise on the subject.

Christina Dodd is the bestselling author of numerous historical romance, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense novels. Her heroines are always the perfect mix of strong and sympathetic. Don’t believe me? Just check out her “Scarlet Deception” series and you’ll see for yourself!

Jeaniene Frost is similarly skilled at writing the strong-but-flawed heroine. Her array of bestselling paranormal romance and urban fantasy novels portray female protagonists at their finest. Cat from Frost’s “Night Huntress” series is as imperfect and kick-ass as they come!

These two ladies–and our awesome participants–had so much to share with us in our hour-long Twitter chat:

@ChristinaDodd: Flaws are there for a reason. Strength is there for a reason. You as writer have to know those reasons/create story from them.

@Jeaniene_Frost: I first jot down my heroine’s fears and affections. What/who she loves most & what/who she fears most tell me a lot.

@Chumplet: Heroine can use her flaws to move plot forward. If she didn’t screw  up sometimes, there would be no crisis to deal with.

@jimnduncan: Yank the rug out from under [your characters]. Disable all of those props they use to keep themselves standing (emotionally)

@ChristinaDodd: A hero/heroine can do anything, no matter how stupid or trivial, if they’re well motivated.

@Jeaniene_Frost: A heroine’s strengths can become her flaws when they endanger the people around her, emotionally or physcially.

@Tina_Moss: As a reader I want to relate to the heroine and fall for the hero. W/hero’s flaws, I see fixes. W/heroine, I see a mirror.

If you missed the chat or want to remind yourself, we’ve posted the entire transcript as a PDF document here. The PDF will open in your browser and you’ll be able to save it to your computer if you like. You can also get to know your fellow genre fiction lovers by clicking directly on their Twitter handles.

Bear in mind that the chat appears from newest to oldest tweets, so start on the last page of the PDF and work your way forward to the first page

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to participate!

REMEMBER: Book Country Twitter chats occur every other Thursday night from 9-10 pm EST. Just use the hashtag #bookcountry to participate or follow along. Topics are announced in advance in the Book Country Discussion forums, so be sure to take a look!

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