Sunday, September 18, 2011

Jane Porter on: Unforgettable Heroines

Jane Porter hosted this seminar as a follow-on to her Alpha Hero workshop.  (See previous post). 

Since women are still a mystery to me and I finished the alpha male class, I figured I'd follow-through and see what makes heroines so unforgettable, which are:

She's someone you'd want as a best friend.
She's someone you'd want to be like, or get to know.
She's not stagnant.
A heroine has to be better than good--she must be compelling.

In developing heroines, the key point to remember is--women readers are harder on women protagonists than they are on men.  So a writer must conjure-up a heroine that is interesting, real, complex and with a lot of depth.

Oh and give the readers a fantastic story.

Once again, Jane used scenes from several movies--some I've actually seen--to make the following points:

1. The Problem of Being a Girl (Princess Diaries)

Women often look for validation.  They're torn between being tough and tender.  Late-bloomers make popular characters.

2. The Historical Perspective (Mansfield Park)

Womens' choices were limited.  Women without means were powerless, but even well-established women were controlled by males.

3. The Modern Perspective (Erin Brockovich)

Women gain power through money or status, which even in today's times, can be difficult.

4. Sexism, Feminism & Prejudice (Legally Blonde)

Women often have a tough time challenging men.
Strong women are viewed as bitches.

5. How Tough? (Miss Congeniality)

Some women don't trust other women who are pretty.  "Pretty" is often viewed as weak, or worse--coniving, as opposed to being up-front and honest.

6. Getting Serious (We Were Soldiers)

Men feel safe when they're with their woman and their family in a stable condition.  However, women are often placed in the difficult role as the peacemaker.
Women don't want to receive bad news from strangers, in order to gain support from those they know.

7. The Magic Ingredient (Shrek)

Those intangible qualities that draw others, especially the hero, to her.

8. The Complete Package (Legally Blonde)

The climax, success gained by balancing the competing factors in a heroine's life, such as family and career.

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