Literature / TCWGTHAH-Heroines
aka: Romance Genre Heroines

This is a summary of the Heroine archetypes from The Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes & Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes (see the footnote on that page). The list of Hero archetypes is here.

Also listed are the villainous versions of the Heroine archetypes; these come from the website of one of the authors (again, see the footnote).

Quick Overview

The eight Heroine archetypes presented are as follows:

Their villainous versions are as follows:

  • The Bitch
    • Self-centered version of The Boss who "lies, cheats, and steals her way to the top."
  • The Black Widow
    • Evil version of The Seductress, The Vamp who can charm her way into anything.
  • The Backstabber
    • Evil version of The Spunky Kid who uses your secrets to get her way.
  • The Lunatic
    • Insane version of The Free Spirit who is less eccentric and more "unbalanced madwoman."
  • The Parasite
    • Self-serving version of The Waif who could free herself but chooses to participate in atrocities rather than give up comfort and security.
  • The Schemer
    • Evil version of The Librarian who uses "elaborate plans, intricate schemes" to ruin reputations and end lives.
  • The Fanatic
    • Self-deluded version of The Crusader who "justifies her actions by her intent, and merely shrugs her shoulders at collateral damage."
  • The Matriarch
    • Deluded version of The Nurturer, a "motherly oppressor" who controls the lives of her loved ones.

Character Examples

Comparing the Gender Roles

Let's consider the Hero/Heroine pairs. These subdivide as follows:

  • A. Roughly the same thing regardless of gender:
    • The Chief and The Boss are both goal-oriented leaders who don't usually back down.
      • The Boss usually gets a layer of equal rights propaganda thrown in.
    • The Professor and The Librarian are both data-oriented introverts who don't know how to connect with other people (and often don't care).
      • The Librarian gets a layer of Beautiful All Along, which is something The Professor usually does not get. (Please list exceptions under the Examples section!)
    • The Warrior and The Crusader are both tenacious protectors who can easily snap into Determinator mode.
      • The Warrior gets nuanced by whether he's willing to accept The Call, whereas The Crusader gets nuanced by whether she's trying to save the world or just her little group.
  • B. Rough counterparts who still amount to the same general idea:
    • The Bad Boy and The Seductress are both scarred by childhood and have troubled connecting with other people.
    • The Spunky Kid and The Best Friend are both dependable allies who are always ready to help when the chips are down.

And then there are those who don't seem to pair off as well. The Charmer, The Lost Soul, and The Swashbuckler don't seem to have female counterparts, while The Free Spirit, The Waif, and The Nurturer don't seem to have male counterparts.

In other words, according to the book, when working in the Romance genre:

  1. A guy can be an irrepressible rogue who shows you a good time but doesn't stick around when it's over, but a girl is less likely to be like this.
  2. A girl can be a quirky eccentric who lives life to the fullest and doesn't care what the neighbors think, but a guy is less likely to be like this.
  3. A guy can be a gung-ho action hero with an eye for adventure and a blindness to possible risk, but a girl is less likely to be like this.
  4. A girl can be a Damsel in Distress, a child-like innocent who needs to be protected but yet has great strength of will, but a guy is less likely to be like this.
  5. A guy can be a brooding loner, a sensitive and vulnerable artist with a Gothic outlook on life, but a girl is less likely to be like this.
  6. A girl can be a selfless caregiver who listens to your problems and warms your spirit with her genuine optimism, but a guy is less likely to be like this.

If you're going to defy gender stereotypes, those six are a great place to start.


  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: According to Lauren Faust, the main girls are based around these.
    • Twilight Sparkle is The Librarian.
    • Pinkie Pie is The Free Spirit.
    • Applejack is The Boss.
    • Fluttershy is The Nurturer.
    • Rainbow Dash is The Crusader.
    • Rarity is The Waif.

Alternative Title(s): Romance Genre Heroines