Heroes and Heroines, especially in novels, must be handled very carefully. They deserve more than an introductory paragraph or two in the beginning of a book. A reader wants to know all about them; what they look like physically, what kind of personality they have, are they people of good character, etc. But as a writer, you need to develop their “persona” throughout the whole book from beginning to end as you describe their actions and reactions in various situations. In addition, if you’re writing a novel, perhaps you can show how a character changes over time.

You can accomplish this in bits and pieces as the storyline unfolds from one event to another. Each time the heroine takes part in an event, it’s an opportunity to add more to the reader’s understanding of the person. A good example of “careful handling” in The Road At St. Liseau shows how Lisa matures when she finally consents to let Robert go on one last espionage mission

(p.165 – “…all your beautiful medals, your terrible bombs, ships, airplanes, can never bring back my husband’s life if he dies in some dark horrible Nazi dungeon. I care nothing about this dismal world – I only care about my child and my husband. If he dies to accomplish everything you say he did, his family will have only memories and our arms will ache for him every night for the rest of our lives.”

Such a speech can only be spoken by someone who has endured great hardship and has amazingly matured in the process.

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