Writing the Spunky Heroine

I took an excellent workshop on character development from Anna Stuart and Mel Curtis a few months ago. During that workshop we discussed the book, Heroes & Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes which introduces different character archetypes for both the heroine and hero. (Excellent workshop and book – highly recommend both!). I discovered something about myself as a writer in that workshop. I LOVE to write the “Spunky Kid” archetype for my heroine.

The Spunky Kid is cheerful, loyal, spirited, might be sarcastic/witty/funny, generally positive but can be skeptical. They have moxie. I love this kind of heroine and find her to be a TON of fun to write. This is evidenced by…well…every book I’ve written (just about). Cases in point:

Ellie Aubrey from Blue Violet

3c9b3-blueviolet-kindleEllie is my eternal optimist. She’s someone people are drawn to because of her positive attitude. She’s supremely confident in her abilities (well… most of them). She’s also very loyal. Leaving the safety of hiding to try to protect people she’s only seen in dreams takes guts.

EXAMPLE: 

“Griffin’s gonna kill me,” Ellie groaned.

Alex frowned. “Who exactly is Griffin?”

Ellie ignored the question. “He’ll be here any minute. And he’ll be furious with me.”

“He can get in line.” Alex looked sternly at her as she repositioned herself on the couch. “What on Earth were you thinking?”

She returned his look with a glare of her own. “I was thinking I had to get away from you.” She paused for a second, forcing herself to calm down. A repeat of the last few minutes was a really bad idea. “And you really should go,” she finally insisted.

Lila Jenner from Crimson Dahlia

6ff92-crimsondahlia-kindleLila tends to be suspicious and harder to get to know, more closed off and not as friendly as her sister. But she’s a fighter. She leaves her family to get away from the lover who refuses to do anything about their love, but also to help others like them. She deals with entrapment both physical and psychic. And she figures out how to deal with her increasing powers. Spunky.

EXAMPLE: 

“Thanks,” she said when she could finally form words again.

“It’s a miracle. You actually know how to say thank you,” Marcus teased. His gruff voice was laced with a Cajun accent.

“Hardy. Har. Har.” Lila inwardly cringed at such a lame response. She was just too tired and cold to think of anything wittier.

“Ha. It took us a whole year to get you to warm up to us. And when you finally do, we find out that you’re a sarcastic little thing. Even when you’re stuck in a hole in the ground.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m a beacon of sweetness and light,” Lila deadpanned.

Adelaide Jenner from Black Orchid

42704-blackorchid-kindleAdelaide isn’t immediately obvious in this role because she’s more quiet/shy. Also, at the beginning of Black Orchid she’s broken. So she seems more like the Waif. But she is also loyal and generally positive. She also has moxie – living alone in the Outback so she won’t hurt anyone with her out-of-control powers takes guts.

EXAMPLE: 

Adelaide’s lips twitched and then clamped tight. “I think you should start explaining.”

He pointed at himself with a comically incredulous expression. “Me? How about you and what just happened? Or almost happened?”

Adelaide didn’t laugh though. After a moment she said, “This is my house. You first.”

Andie Reynolds from Andromeda’s Fall

AndromedasFall_w9277_750 (1)Andie is probably my most obvious Spunky Kid of the bunch so far. Despite growing up in a rough place, she has tons of moxie. She breaks into the Keller Dare to demand asylum for pete’s sake. Her big mouth can get her into trouble sometimes, but she can back it up with some pretty awesome fighting skills.

EXAMPLE: 

“I want to speak with Jaxon Keller.”

His eyebrows shot up, and he crossed his arms over an impressive chest. “About what?”

“None of your damn business.” Andie’s chin tipped up slightly in defiance, but inwardly she cringed. Stop talking, dummy.

 

So far the only published book without a Spunky Kid heroine is Hyacinth with Selene. But I had set that up for her to be the Waif. Still if you look closely you’ll still see Spunky Kid in there somewhere. 🙂 My characters do get combined with other archetypes of course, to make each one unique and interesting (and keep it fun for me to write). But spunky kids, I love ya!

 

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