Saturday, July 23, 2011

Swooning tips for kick-ass heroines

I recently read a blog post by a fellow author who dislikes weak heroines. Girls with no backbone, wimpering and swooning at the slightest hint of danger, who never take charge and always wait to be saved by a powerful hero. I must say, I sympathize. I have read stories like that too. Stories in which the girl was constantly whining and fainting and getting on everybody's last nerve. I mean, come on! Are we supposed to read this as typical feminine behavior? 
There is much to be said for kick-ass chicks who can hold their own. Strong female characters should have a personality and that includes problem-solving strategies and intelligence too. Otherwise they're just decorative elements like the typical Bond girl used to be, you know, before they were allowed to know martial arts and be agents themselves.
Okay, I'm rambling. The point I was trying to make is: even strong heroines should be allowed their weak moments. Sometimes a girl wants to be saved. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying let's all go back to the 50s and behave like headless chicks or something. But don't you just love to read a story in which an old-fashioned gentleman swoops in at the right moment and offers the desperate heroine a strong arm or a shoulder to cry on - or, come to think of it, any other masculine body part in her support?
I always go all mushy and fuzzy inside when the hero sweeps the heroine off her feet and carries her out of danger / to a strategically placed bit of furniture to kiss her senseless. I love it when he goes all protective and won't let her walk on her own even if she could. Hell, even if she possessed super powers and was able to kill the villain and save the world all by herself it's neverthelss lovely to know that he cares about her and wants to protect her.
What does this say about me? I don't know and I really don't want to analyze the psychological implications of this. I'm just saying, bring on the strong heroes so a girl can swoon a bit once in a while (before she goes back to saving the world single-handedly, that is).

A few safety tips, before you to try this at home:

a) Make sure you are standing in easy catching distance of the hero so he can prop you up BEFORE you actually hit the floor.

b) Do not try to faint quietly! Eighteenth-century men may have had faint detection radar but nowadays you will have to be specific. Make sure you have your hero's full attention (turn off the TV if necessary) then let him know that you are going to faint (you could for example say "Oooh, I think I'm going to faint." Raise one hand to your forehead and let your eyes roll up into your head before you begin to sway on your feet. Then let yourself fall into his arms (make sure you fall towards him, not away from him, so he'll be able to catch you).

c) Make sure there is a comfortable piece of furniture nearby - especially if you're a stronger built like myself. You don't want to give him back pain (that can totally destroy the romantic mood). If he just stands there, holding you upright, not knowing what to do with your senseless body, you might want to suggest (in a very faint voice, of course) that he lower you onto a bed, a sofa or even a chair (as demonstrated here by the divine Sarah Bernhardt). Once you are safely (and seductively) reclining, he can concentrate on reviving you, or kiss you senseless (see above).

In case you were wondering what motivated this post: I am currently working on a contemporary erotic romance story which made me reconsider my approach to heroines. It's easier to write the swooning type in a historical romance (although even there you don't want them to be totally brainless weaklings, right?). By the way, if you want to read more about interesting techniques to revive a swooning heroine, have a look at my story HOT BUTTERED STRUMPET (please note carefully-placed publicity here). But in contemporary romance it would take a little more to make a heroine faint. Like tying her up, flogging her a little and then... Did I mention it's a BDSM story?
More to come.

Have you ever swooned strategically? Do you like swooning heroines or would you rather like to see a swooning hero once in a while? Let me know in the comments!


  1. Love your topic! I agree wholeheartedly. Love to see strong heroines succumbing to the vapors, on occasion...when the powerful hero is ready with open arms to catch her. And the reviving...Whew!


  2. Oh yes, there's much to be said for a good reviving ;-).
    Thanks for stopping by, Suzanne.

  3. great essay! strong woman need saving grave love
    too - especially us, it can be tiring being strong all the time - cool blog.