by Pat Esden
Whether a character is strong or not has nothing to do with physical strength, mental prowess, or aggressive behavior. They can be a kick-ass man or woman, a high-powered executive, or an underworld spy. But they can also be someone who’s physically frail, introverted, frightened, or a down on their luck. What makes a character come across as strong to readers is that they are active. It’s the feeling of strength that is created when a character strives toward a worthy goal, facing hardships and obstacles, failing and backsliding, but never giving up for long.
Readers derive pleasure from this struggle. It drives the story forward and gives the reader a sense of hope that despite all the horrible things going on in the character’s life, despite their weaknesses and failures, they will never surrender. Instead, they grow and change, become stronger and try harder. In the end, the strong character deserves their happy ever after because they have earned it. And, when they finally get it, the reader can let out their breath and enjoy the feeling of success and joy with the character. Also, when two strong characters fall in love, the innate tension is stronger than if one character passively surrenders.
But this immediate pleasure of escaping into a novel isn’t the only reason strong characters are important in romance novels. Experiencing the roller-coaster ride of a strong character’s actions combine with their emotions can bolster a reader and help them become a stronger person in their own life. This is also a reason it’s important for romance authors to provide a diverse variety of characters and stories. Every romance reader deserves to be able to find novels that offer them strong role models and plots that can help them find the strength to deal with the issues in their individual lives.
Do you think strong characters are important in romance novels? And why or why not?
Her new adult paranormal novel, A HOLD ON ME (book #1 in the Dark Heart series) is available from Kensington Books. BEYOND YOUR TOUCH (book #2 Dark Heart series) will be released August 30th.
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Pat's Newest Release: Beyond Your Touch
His desires could lead to betrayal.
But without each other, neither can survive the dangers ahead.
Annie Freemont knows this isn’t the right time to get involved with a man like Chase. After years of distrust, she’s finally drawing close to her estranged family, and he’s an employee on their estate in Maine. Though she never intended to stay on the estate for long, her father’s illness and the mysteries surrounding her family made leaving impossible. And now with the newfound hope of rescuing her long-missing mother, Annie’s determined to be involved with the family’s plans one way or another.
If only she could keep her mind off Chase and focus on the impending rescue. But there’s something about the enigmatic Chase that she can’t resist. And she’s not the only woman. Annie fears a seductive stranger who is key to safely freeing her mother is also obsessed with him. As plans transform into action and time for a treacherous journey into a strange world draws near, every move Annie makes will test the one bond she’s trusted with her secrets, her desires—and her heart.
Available Here: Amazon | BN | BAM