I keep thinking about this question as I'm trying to get a good grip on the heroine in my current WIP.
In real life, and by that I mean, the life in which I have a double Masters in Engineering, have a day job I'm good at, and have always passed classes with better than average grades, I'm a confident, self-assured person, in contrast to the insecure, whiny mess that I'm as a writer. :-) and as a mother....
Growing up in a conservative culture in India( even though my dad was the most open minded, awesomesauce dad among our friends and families), I've been called arrogant, outspoken, and many more things by some small minded family members. I was the first in both my dad's and mom's family to come to USA alone (in contrast to being married and arriving as someone's wife or just migrating with your whole family), and I had done it at 20 and with a full scholarship to a university.
The point of this self-indulgent, biographical rambling is that I have opinions, and I realized at a very young age that usually these opinions, more often than not, were on the opposing side of the general consensus that family and sometimes, my friends came to. But I've never cared, though I taught myself that it was ok to have a different opinion.
And this is mostly reflected in the heroines I write. They might not have it all together like I do (cue hysterical laughing here :-)), but they are confident women who won't take crap from anyone. Even if they might not do it in a stick-my-face-in-yours kind of way. The heroine in my last wip, Olivia, who will remain my favorite for a long time to come, did just that.
Not so with my latest heroine, Lexi.
I wouldn't call her a pushover as my hero has just done, but she's close to being one. Especially when it comes to her two friends who are all she has in the world.
I think (think being the operative word here) it works as to why she's like that, what has prevented her to stop taking crap from these said friends, and the growth she has to undergo after she realizes what she has become is of course, aided by our hero. But I'm having the hardest time writing her.
I keep wanting to make her more ballsy, and have flashes of her being just that, here and there, which makes for a very inconsistent character.
So I started to wonder: How can I be a good writer if I couldn't write more than one type of heroine? Will every heroine I write be a sum total of the same character traits in new packaging? Not everyone in the world is confrontational, or gutsy. And, personally, gutsy heroines who are nothing but gutsy drive me up the wall.
Does this happen to you? Do you find that you bestow your characters with traits that might be your own? How much of you is in your characters?