First and foremost a romance heroine needs to be someone any other woman would like to be. And it’s a given that she has to be someone a hero can love.
She’s a woman who isn’t afraid to go after something she wants.
This woman succeeds because she’s the person she is.
Here are some traits romance heroines have in common:
a. A capacity to love
b. A degree of practicality
c. A sense of humor
d. Is a caring human being
e. Can admit her fallibility
f. Can apologize when she’s wrong
g. She is loyal and likes loyalty in others
h. She is passionate---about many things
A heroine doesn’t have to be beautiful, but she needs to be comfortable in her own skin and because of that other people see her as beautiful.
A heroine needs to be an interesting person who is multi-dimensional
At this point you might ask—if this woman is such a paragon, why doesn’t the hero instantly love her?
Because the very nature of a romance story that keeps readers reading romance books is that romance heroines operate from a premise that faith in the human heart can overcome the harshest reality. Romance heroes operate in reality, but from a standpoint of cold facts such as a fear of intimacy, suspicion of people’s motives, or even scoffing at blind faith in the beginning. They do come around, because underneath the strongest of heroines lies a component of a nurturer. It’s a trait that tugs at the core of the most flawed hero. Heroines nurture from the strength of love which makes them so appealing to alpha or beta heroes.
Once, Jude Devereaux said something in a talk that stuck with me. She said of romance heroines and heroes--beauty and virility doesn’t last for twenty or thirty years. By the time readers close our books we must have shown them that our characters possess traits that will keep them together for a lifetime. It’s their inner characteristics and personalities that let them ultimately work together and work things out, leaving readers with the understanding this couple has what it takes to truly live happily ever after. I’m sure you all have lists of traits you work with. I’d love to hear what some of them are.