Torture Your Heroine to Strengthen Her

Gone with the Wind, Scarlet, Scarlett, Rhett, Rhet, hero, heroine, writing, how to

Gone with the Wind, Scarlet, Scarlett, Rhett, Rhet, hero, heroine, writing, how to
I love to write strong women, but I also like to make them suffer through a few tragedies before they reach their happily ever after. Think of Scarlett O’Hara from Gone with the Wind and how much she had to struggle through during the ten long years of her story. However, unlike Scarlett O’Hara, my heroines overcome their challenges with their hearts still intact and become the kind of women Rhett Butler wouldn’t walk out on.

I have lots of ways to torture my heroines. Some of my favorite methods are poverty, dead parents, neglectful parents, dead husbands etc. You get the idea. Usually, it’s not just one tragedy they must deal with, but many spread out over their lifetime so that by the time they walk on stage in chapter one, they’re carrying a load a luggage, I’m talking Louis Vuitton steamer trunks.

No matter how I decide to torture my heroines, I always give them two things to help them deal with and overcome their troubles; heart and grit. For each leading lady, grit can be something different, from the courage to carry on after a nasty shock, to the sheer determination to succeed no matter what. My heroines aren’t the kind of women who sit down and give up when faced with disaster or setbacks. Instead, they figure out how to overcome them, and in the process, become stronger women.

Cornelia, Comtesse de Vane, the heroine of my novel The Courtesan’s Book of Secrets has suffered her share of tragedy by the time her story begins. Her father neglected her as a child then tried to gamble away her virtue when she was a teenager. Her mother died when she was young and she had to deal with a nasty stepmother. As an adult, she married a man she thought was rich, and when he died, she discovered he was poor. Yet through each difficulty, she has retained her ability to love, as seen in her regard for her young step brother, and her desire to acquire enough money to make sure he is secure and safe. It is her ability to love, despite the cruel hits she suffers from life, which help her capture the heart of the hero and get her happily ever after.

Sometimes it doesn’t seem right to torture my heroines so much, but in the end it’s for their own good. Without suffering, they can’t discover their inner strength, or become the kind of woman the hero needs to help him deal with his troubles (don’t get me started on the ways in which I torture my poor heroes). Through their trials, they learn about themselves and what is most important to them and their lives. All Scarlett O’Hara got at the end for her suffering was Tara and a possible divorce because she lost her ability to love (did she ever really possess it in the first place?). My heroines achieve their Tara and their Rhett after a lot of suffering because heart and grit are the dominant characteristic of my kind of heroine.

If you love the idea of torturing your characters then check out my novels. I really stick it to my characters

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