What Do Readers Want Most in a Romance Novel?
When I asked readers what character qualities their favorite heroines have, I got some interesting replies. Most interesting of all? Few character qualities match those wanted in a favorite hero!
Personally, I like heroines to be spunky, and funny, too. They never give up on their dreams. I try to write all my heroines this way. I have to say Stephanie Plum in Janet Evanovich’s novels is one of my favorite heroines. (And who wouldn’t want to be a girl with two hunky guys pursuing her? :-) )
Other reader favorites include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Elena Estes, Amelia Peabody, and Sookie Stackhouse. In sum, favorite heroines are spunky, quirky, flawed, intelligent, independent (yet will let the hero help, if needed), and strong (yet vulnerable).
I just read the list again. Quirky. Flawed. Strong, yet vulnerable. We don’t like heroines who are perfect, because, let’s face it, who is? We want a heroine we can identify with, and maybe even admire. I suspect we’d all like to change something about ourselves. Our favorite heroines let us know it’s okay to be imperfect, yet inspire us to be more. As they do this in their quirky, engaging way, we feel that perhaps we’re not so very different from them, after all. And maybe—just maybe—our lives could be a little like theirs.
What makes you pick up a book? What makes you decide to buy it? I’ll report the top reader answers tomorrow.