Waif heroines

So, I know I shouldn’t be thinking about this now, not when I still need to get Hot Shot to Emily and I want to get Surface to her by the first of the year, but I’ve been thinking about a story I started last winter and never finished because…well, it wasn’t coming out the way I wanted.

Part of my problem, I’ve decided, is my heroine. She’s a waif. It’s an action adventure novel. She has no place in that book.

But….here’s her story. Her father ruined the family name scientifically speaking. She’s a biologist trying to rebuild her reputation. She’s very knowledgeable about nature, but she’s not particularly assertive.

So the question is, how to make a waif heroic?

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Shesawriter said...

How to make a waif heroic? Simple. Grow her. Let the reader see her morph from pixy to queen. :-) They love that sh**. LOL! It makes them feel like they knew her when. Ya know? :-)


MicheleKS said...

Like Tanya says, grow her. To me that would make a good story: one in which she is forced to face her deepest fears and become the woman she was meant to be.

Also, since she's probably pretty smart there may situations that she can think her way out of. And size does not matter. She may be able to get in places that others can't. I see tons of possibilities here.

Stephanie said...
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Stephanie said...

I agree with the above and will add a postscript: heroism comes from within. She can be physically frail, but her words and her actions are what make her heroic. The size of her heart, the strength of her convictions, the intensity of her emotions...

Use her! She's dying to spread her wings!

Unknown said...

She's gotta have fears, right? Figure out three, maybe four of these fears. In the course of the book, she can find a way to overcome them, or at least deal with them and move forward.

You said she's trying to rebuild her professional career. What if one of her big fears is "winding up just like her dad?" How can she right this? How can she beat this problem? She has to find a way to prove herself, to make sure that everyone understands that she's not her dad... So how does she prove this?

That's one way to make her grow...

Anonymous said...

Everyone else beat me to it.
Grow her.
And waif can still be kick-a. She just needs a gun. Or a taser. Or a bottle of bleach. Thinkthat show where the guy could get out of trouble with a paper clip and a spool of thread. I can't remember the name of that show!
Or give her a hero who pushes her to be tougheer until she turns around and kicks his butt and then kicks other butt.
I love waif heroines that turn out to be bigger and better. Kind of like Sydney on Alias. when the show started she was a freaking English major. Sure she ran and kick boxed, but it was for exercise, not because she was out saving the world. I love the save the world people who are also REAL. Sounds like an awesome book to me.

MJFredrick said...

Thanks, y'all. I have tried to grow characters before but I get dinged on the wimpiness, the unheroicness, that type of thing. Of course, I'm not entering contests anymore, so....

I love the idea of having three or four of her fears for her to confront. And yes, she's smart, she knows the environment better than the hero. Hey, and using her brain will prove to her she has what it takes....

Anonymous said...

I love a reluctant heroine, especially one who starts out frail and becomes strong. Just motivate her properly, make her awkward in the beginning and then start the "training" process. I'd read it!

KATZ said...

Hey Mary!
Wanted to say hi! I've been slack in my blogging.

I think just finding the inner steel core of the waif heroine is important. I mean, all characters have to grow, but I think finding out that she really did have that strength to begin with is great - like someone said, the hero brings it out in her.
That's why he's her match! :)

You are way too motivated for the holidays! I'm trying to talk my husband in to just an artificial tree with some pine air-freshener! :)

MJFredrick said...

Hi, Michelle and Sarah!

I was listening to Robin Perini's Story Magic workshop and she was talking about a chart ::::shudder:::: . I may just have to use one for Sydney.


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