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Once upon a time women in novels were frail creatures always in need of rescuing, or silly dolts who could not be expected to know the time of day, or malicious bitches always stirring up trouble and generally getting in the way of everyone’s happiness. Recently―all too recently in fact―authors are expected to write their female characters as smart, sexy, confident, and capable. But is that any more realistic?

Life is full of contradictions and people come in all shapes, sizes, and personalities, not to mention having a vast variety of abilities.

Personally, I prefer that my heroines and other distaff characters be neither vacuous nor superwomen but perhaps a little of both, and “average” for the most part. Too brilliant, and she can’t make mistakes. Too flawed, and she is unlikely to appeal to the hero, much less to save them both.

Besides, do any of us really know how to be perfect?

Flaws and mistakes are fun to write, lend themselves to laughable moments and humorous tales, and remind us all that while we are none of us paragons, we are real people with real potential.

Do “perfect” heroines put you off? Do ditsy characters drive you batty?

[Photo courtesy of franco]