I write about the paranormal and supernatural.
Stop the presses! Thank you for that scintillating observation, Captain Obvious. Clearly if you’ve followed me for more than a day or two, you already know that.
The other day I had a conversation on Facebook with someone who wants to read Red. She’d seen the cover and read my first chapter sample via somebody else’s “I want to read…” post, and made the comment that she hoped that it wasn’t another needy female character who needed a man to save her. I felt compelled to chime in that it definitely wasn’t and that Elodie is sort of like the anti-Bella. Which led to a brief discussion about strong heroines before the poster finally realized that I was actually the author and really could promise that there were no weak heroines. That cracked me up.
One of the things that goes along with writing the paranormal or supernatural or urban fantasy is that you frequently deal in heroes and heroines who are in some way fantastic or super or otherwise beyond human. This leads to lots of fun powers to play with and is particularly fun in battle scenes. But when I say I write strong heroines, I’m not meaning physically strong as in can lift a car over her head without breaking a sweat (although it’s not outside the realm of possibility in my worlds).
When I say strong heroines, I mean emotional and personal strength. I mean a woman who, when life or love positively guts her emotionally, doesn’t deny the pain, but gets up and pushes on and does what needs to be done rather than flirting with thrill-seeking and suicide (okay, yeah, I’ve got a very serious problem with Bella). I mean a woman who accepts pain, acknowledges it and works through it, rather than letting it beat her. A woman who ultimately defeats the Big Bad because of WHO she is, not WHAT.
That led to another interesting discussion with another writer friend. She was really dissatisfied with how Buffy ended because they won because they were slayers, because they could kick ass physically. It really wasn’t about WHO they were, about their emotional strength. Which really kind of puts them with their strength being measured by a male yardstick. Frankly I had other issues with the final episode of Buffy (really, you’re going to let Xander the Annoying live?), but it’s a relevant point to bring up.
I think it’s really important for character arc that a paranormal or supernatural heroine (or hero, for that matter) defeats their Big Bad because they defeated their inner demons (whatever those may be), NOT because they can physically kick ass. It makes for a far more relatable character and greater reader engagement. And, frankly, a way more satisfying ending.