I’ve just re-read The Virgin’s Promise by Kim Hudson and while the readers among you probably won’t have heard of it, the writers among you most probably have. It’s an exploration of the arc of a specific type of story. The arc of a person coming to grips with who they really are, what they really want, and whether they are prepared to sublimate that want to fit in with the expectations of others, or whether to break free of those expectations and allow themselves to fulfil their own destiny.
The book discusses various archetypal characters, and our mythological and folklore basis for these types of stories, but what came to my mind on this read through of the work was the various ways our characters can face a heart of darkness.
I’m all for the action-packed, butt-kicking kind, but this book reminds me that that isn’t the only type there is. We can also look into our own heart and find darkness, or in the ones closest to us. And sometimes that’s a lot scarier. And more interesting.
I love a heroine (or hero) who faces their darkest fears and overcomes them. I like writing about it myself. In the book I just finished, which is due out sometime next year, BANQUET OF LIES, my heroine has a very real enemy, but she internalises the fear she feels for him, and overcomes it, using her background in fairy tales and folklore. I made up a fairy tale which she tells to other characters in the story, and found it very satisfying and cathartic. A truly heroic act doesn’t necessitate that your heroine (or hero) has to be an ass-kicking karate pro to pull it off.
So, which great heroines can you think of that faced their darkest fears and triumphed – in film or book?