What is….a heroine?
A lady in distress? A top-level spy? A woman running from a dark secret? Or the girl next door?
Where a hero needs to fit the plot, a heroine will determine the romance book's storyline. The standard rule of thumb is if multiple point-of-views are use, sixty percent is from the heroine's. So it stands to reason the person doing the most talking will have the most influence on the story.
Often an author will have a heroine in mind and then create a story for her. In Treasure Hunt, I wanted to write about a female pirate. I thought about writing a historical, but decided the restrictions of the time period wouldn't work for my heroine so I created an entire world for her.
The heroine will also determine what type of hero she needs (a good author listens to her heroine and doesn't force a hero on her if that isn't who she's going to love). The heroine will also determine what type of romance setting will work. If she has major allergies, a love scene in a meadow probably isn't going to work. Nonstop sneezing isn't sexy.
So every book needs a real kick-ass heroine, right? Well…sort of. I disagree with the idea every heroine needs to be wonder woman on steroids. I do think, however, she needs to well-defined. By that, I mean she needs to be fully developed, her only weakness can't be her desire for the hero.
Some readers will have certain types of heroine, the spy, the homemaker, or business executive - they prefer, but as with the hero, don't force the story. The best plots are those that allow the characters to develop, grow, and fall in love.
What makes a great heroine for you and why?