Sunday, 30 June 2013

Writing Historical Heroines

One of the biggest challenges in writing is writing likeable heroines. As the vast majority of my readers are female (No I haven't researched this and I'm making a general assumption from interaction and reviews), writing a heroine for them is very difficult. As women, we tend to be harsher on our heroines and expect more of them. Heroes flaws are very easily forgiven but not so much in heroines. Maybe its because we expect so much of ourselves. Women are notoriously hard on themselves and I think we often put the same expectations on our heroines. Yes, I am very guilty of this.

 Another hurdle to jump is ensuring the heroine remains suited to her time. This is extremely tough because anyone who knows much about the medieval period knows that in general women were considered a non-entity. With very few rights, a women's lot was usually dictated by the men in her life. Peasant women, less so, but they still worked hard and choice was limited. This doesn't mean all women were meek and mild. Gosh, in some of my research, I've come across some amazing women but again, they are still a product of their time. Even famed feminist, Christine De Puizan, had very strong views on the correct behaviour of women.

But I don't like to patronize readers by explaining this is this and that is that. As a passionate reader of medieval romance even before writing it, I understood there was certain behaviours expected of women and I hope my readers will understand and recognise that. One of my pet hates is when a writer implants our modern ideals into a historical heroine. That's not to say any heroine can't be strong - no simpering ladies here thank you - but I do think as historical authors, its our duty to portray our characters as realistically as we can and that includes remembering societal restraints. Our heroines can certainly break them but should always be mindful of the culture they live in.

No comments:

Post a Comment