How to Write Strong Females

Strong female characters puzzle me.  I’ve been planning to write this post for a long time– hopefully now I’ll be able to make it make sense.  An early analysis suggested that scarcity was key– Tolkien wrote two of the strongest females I know among the least diverse cast he could manage.  But that makes no sense.  Tolkien also wrote countless interesting male characters.  Characters are characters; their gender shouldn’t make a difference.

And that, I finally realized, is the first hurdle to clear when you try to write strong females: don’t try.  That doesn’t mean don’t do it at all– just don’t concentrate on making a female interesting.  Just make the character interesting and the rest will follow.

A brief note: this is not speaking only to male writers.  Female writers seem to have the same problem– look at the Hunger Games, in which there are perhaps three strong females in the whole thing, depending on how you look at it.  Those three are heavily outweighed by the strong males, and the author is a woman.  Just something to think about.

When you try too hard to make female characters interesting, they begin to fall into stereotypes.  The most prevalent is beauty– since beauty is interesting to many people, it seems okay to make a female character interesting by making her beautiful.  Similarly, “strong” when it comes to characters is taken literally.  We can all feel the absence of strong female characters as society changes, so we take strong to mean, well, strong.  We combine beauty and strength and suddenly we have a leather-clad ninja beauty queen who pops up, fights awesomely in action scenes, and is lame through everything else.  A perfect example of this is Arya, from the Inheritance Cycle.

This is the result of trying too hard.  If that’s not the solution, what is?  What I said before– make the character interesting and the rest will follow.

Let’s look at, again, Tolkien.  He obviously does it right with two characters: Galadriel and Eowyn.  With the other two (Rosie and Arwen, the love interests), he barely even tries.  What’s the difference?

Well, Rosie and Arwen are obviously the beauty queens– made interesting only because the other characters think they are interesting.  (That is a form of the Chewie Rule, which I have never really discussed, but you can find on my definitions page.)  Galadriel and Eowyn, however, actually seem to have emotions, desires, besides simply being in love.  Galadriel seems to have plans with Gandalf which were foiled when he fell into shadow.  Eowyn actually has a character arc (gasp! shock!).  That adds loads to her persona.

How do you make a character interesting?  I’ve spoken about that before– I gave a few first-glance basics in this post, and developing the character definitely helps with that.  You can’t divide that by gender– it always works.  Honestly, the biggest stumbling block anyone will face when creating a strong female character is falling into stereotypes and treating them as alien.

I know this is a short post already, but I’ve already said what I need to say: treat female characters just the same as any of your other characters.  (Incidentally, this also goes for alien characters.)  Give them believable motives, believable emotions, and for goodness’ sake, give them a character arc.  Make them as awesome as the rest of your characters.  If you’re really worried about gender, I’ll just give you a piece of Writing Excuses advice on this same topic: give your story to a member of the gender you’re trying to write and ask them whether that character feels right.  If so, excellent!  If not, work on it a little more.  But one thing holds true: just because females haven’t been represented that well in fiction doesn’t mean they aren’t human.  Treat them as normal characters, make them interesting just as you would anyone else, and you’ll be fine.

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95 thoughts on “How to Write Strong Females

  1. Great topic and great advice. Depicting well-rounded female characters is definitely something that I have always struggled with, so I was glad to come across this post.

  2. Thank you! I am so glad somebody finally wrote a post on this topic. I am so sick of strong (and I mean literally strong and tough) female characters. Don’t get me wrong, a woman who can kick butt sounds like a great idea, but hardly any girl can relate to a character like that. Though most of us girls would hate to admit it, the majority of us in this world aren’t very strong and are pretty weak – it’s just the way most females are built. For once I would love to see a female character who can’t beat a guy in an arm wrestling match or pin him to the ground in seconds. Now that would be a character I could relate to.

    1. Take a look at Brandon Sanderson’s writing, then. I know I say that a lot, but especially in The Way of Kings or even The Rithmatist, he has characters who are interesting and engaging without being literally strong. (He fell into this trope a little in Steelheart, but I think he pulled himself out of it well over the course of the book.)

      Thanks for your thoughts.

      1. I’ve got The Way of Kings on my to-read list. It looks like a great book, but it’s also really long…But now I’m even more curious to read it.

  3. So I saw this post when I was half asleep (on my phone) and it made me sit up. This topic is something I have very strong opinions on, and you have written this perfectly. I agree with everything you’ve said.

    Since Twilight, there has been enormous emphasis on having strong females in fiction, and yes, most writers always start with making them beautiful. I actually find this sexist. So a woman is only strong when she’s beautiful? Nice. -.- Not that beauty itself is a bad thing. But it may not be a good thing either. In fact, putting an adjective of physical appearence into categories of “good” and “bad” is silly. Beauty is beauty. It has no moral significance.

    I think writers should ideally try and debunk the stereotype. At least, that is what I try to do. All three of my main female characters are described as “plain”, simply because I don’t want their supposed beauty to take away from their other, more valuable abilities.

    (I’m thinking about Kate Beckett from Castle as I write this. She is SUCH A STEREOTYPE.)

    The second thing about the general perception of strong women is that they’re strong, strong and only strong! Have you ever seen a strong woman who doesn’t bear arms and march into battle? There is more to feminist ideals than violence. A female soldier and a female businesswoman must be considered the same way.

    I dislike how we see women in fiction today. Unless they’re not bashing someone’s skull in, they aren’t tough. What about the single mother working three jobs to give her kids a good life? She isn’t tough? What about the hard-working college girl appearing for very important exams? She isn’t tough? Or how about the honest, passionate woman who runs her own business, gives it her 100 percent and does a good job? Not tough enough? I’m not saying that women soldiers are bad–au contraire, I love them. But strong female characters should go beyond that too.

    I just loved this post. Loved it, Liam.

    1. I’d never thought about Beckett being a stereotype, but I see what you mean. Huh. I love how the cast works together as an ensemble, so I never thought about how she might fit into a mold. (Of course, I didn’t love what they did with her like I love what they did with Castle himself. I think of him as kind of a stereotypical flirt who broke his stereotype by having a great relationship with his daughter.)

      1. Think about it. Kate is beautiful, smart, honest, brave, a good leader and she has a tragic past, which makes her a sympathetic character. As far as I can see, she has no flaws. In contrast, I think Castle is a much better character. He’s funny, too, and I love his relationship with Alexis.

      2. Wow, yeah, you’ve got a point. A big one. *Tries to think of a flaw.* Well, I’d say she’s willing to be go against orders, but pretty much every cop on cop shows does that at some point. *Confers with parents, because this is really an interesting topic of discussion.* The parental units list being competitive, obsessive compulsive, and slow to trust among her flaws. They had a couple others I think, but I forget what they were. You’ve totally got a point, though. I’ll have to pay more attention to her character next time we bring Castle home from the library.

        Castle’s relationship with Alexis is adorable, and one of my favorite parts of the show.

      3. But isn’t being competitive a good thing? It’s encouraged, isn’t it? And I guess you’re right about her being obsessive–I assume you’re talking about her mother’s murder case–but then, here’s where the tragic past comes in and makes her sympathetic. It doesn’t interfere with the plot of the show. Actually, solving her mother’s murder IS her ambition, and is, to some extent, the premise of the show itself. Whatever she does to solve her mother’s murder is accepted as a positive trait, not just by the viewers but also the characters in the show itself. They “understand” her pain, and therefore she is saved from any serious punishment.

        My favourite parts…I love the banter between Ryan and Esposito! I think the show needs to highlight their friendship more, actually. That episode with the arsonist and the burning building is, in my opinion, the finest Castle episode yet. It’s got everything in all the right amounts, and it focuses on Ryan and Espo, which is a welcome break from the (annoying) Castle/Beckett moments.

        (I’m sorry, I’ve just become a bit too critical of Kate as the show progressed. I really used to like her in the beginning, but I’ve started liking her less and less because she completely overshadows characters that can be potentially a lot more interesting. Like Esposito, for example. Wasn’t he a soldier? I’d kill to see that side of him more.)

      4. Obessive about her mother’s case, yes. Again, you’ve got a point. (Don’t worry about being too critical of Kate. I really don’t mind. It’s a great excuse to talk about Castle.)

        Esposito and Ryan are awesome. Which season is that arsonist episode in? I’ve only seen the first three seasons, because that’s all my library has. (Grr.)

      5. The latest season! 🙂 Ryan ans Jenny are having their kid, but Ryan and Espo go missing. It’s a race against time to find them. Fantastic episode.

      6. Castle doesn’t stream to Netflix, but I think you can get the DVDs delivered (we don’t have that part of the service anymore).

    2. I think you can also see this trope a little in Thor– Jane is the beautiful side of this, while Thor’s Asgardian warrior woman is the strength side. Are either of them truly strong, character-wise? Nah. They’re just there to “diversify the cast.”

      Thanks for your thoughts.

      1. Ah, Thor. That’s such a bad movie! 😛 Natalie Portman seems to only play irritating women. I disliked her as Padme Amidala in Star Wars as well. And am I wrong in thinking that Thor is just this big meat-head?

      2. I’m not going to get into my opinion on Thor, nor Star Wars, although I agree that both Amidala and Jane were flat. Either of them could have been really cool, but they weren’t.

      3. I just noticed I used “seems” twice in the same sentence. Oh my god. *Hides face.*

        Anyway, Padme had a lot of promise. I never thought Jane was interesting, but Padme could have been fantastic. Oh well…

      4. OH THE HORROR! I can’t bear it! (It really doesn’t matter.)

        Indeed. Jane could have been pleasantly surprising– she began with less potential than Padme, but that’s all the more reason for a surprising role of awesomeness.

      5. (It does to me! D:)

        Jane began as a trope. The smart, beautiful scientist. Padme…I don’t think she was ever really a trope, just a flat love interest.

      6. I have stumbled upon a frustrating problem and I’d like to hear your thoughts on this.

        Writing sequels. It’s nothing short of agonizing when you have to repeat complicated concepts, character back-stories, and all the important stuff that happened in Book 1. Concepts that you’ve spent pages and pages explaining, you’re supposed to wrap up in a matter of sentences? It’s awful and I’ve realised that it makes me feel very disconnected with the story I’m writing to write.

        My question is, how do you make these repetitions engaging–and more importantly–coherent? Some of the concepts are quite complicated, and I’ve had to make copious notes on them before explaining them clearly and concisely in Book 1. I have no idea how I’m supposed to write it off in three sentences in Book 2.

        Also, to what extent do you have to repeat things? How much do you explain? How much do you ignore? This is technically a sequel, so the understanding is that your readers have read the first book. Then again, there are those who sometimes start from the middle of a series. I’ve (unintentionally) done that several times, and I’ve depended on brief explanations to help me enjoy the book.

        Thank you, Liam. 🙂

      7. I don’t believe emotional conflicts that were resolved in the first book are worth mentioning. They should inform the characters’ decisions, but they don’t need to be apparent. If you really think it’s important, let it inform invisibly until the midpoint and then reveal it there.

        As for important things, you’ll have to make that work yourself. I would say don’t go too specific with it. Your first book’s plot was complex, yes, but if they want to know what happened, they should go back and read that book. All you need to do is the overview– the evil overlord had fallen, this is what had happened since. You can do it in narrative, in conversation, or show it through what happens in the novel, but you don’t have to outline all of your subplots.

        I hope this helps. I know you’ve had problems boiling your stories down in the past, but I don’t think you need to that much in this. If you’re really hurting for an explanation, add a synopsis at the beginning of the book.

      8. I rewrote the beginning a bit, from the bad guy’s point of view. Thanks to him, most of the major stuff is sorted. Don’t you just love villains?

        As for the rest…I think I’ll just copy-paste and edit. It’s too boring to explain everything over and over again. I think I’ll reread Harry Potter once more just to see how Rowling did it.

      9. I hope it works for you. Just remember, as Rick Riordan loves to say, JK Rowling sneezes and people assume all authors have a cold. HP isn’t perfect on everything.

        But yeah. I hope it works for you.

      10. Don’t worry, I’m not fanatically obsessed with her xD She isn’t perfect. (Did you know some of her fans call her Queen Rowling and instead of Oh My God they say Oh My Rowling? I’m not kidding.)

        But she knows how to tell a story. Plus, her repetition skills, I’ve noticed, are fairly decent considering the complexity of her concepts.

      11. “Flubbed”. I like that word. It reminds me of an overweight duck.

        Anyway, I disliked how she ended the first book. I wouldn’t call it a Dues ex Machina, exactly, but the way she just randomly made the Mirror of Erised reveal the location of the philosopher’s stone, without any foreshadowing at all. And then Dumbledore later says, “That was one of my genius ideas.” No…too convenient.

        And I disliked how Ginny just *morphed* into the perfect woman for Harry. I’ve honestly never liked her (I’ve always thought she was a bit cardboard), and the second Ginny and Harry became a couple, she just sort of “flourished” into Harry’s Future Wife. Meh.

  4. Short, sweet, and to the point. Lovely blog post.

    There was a WE episode where they talked about this (you may have heard it) and Howard said don’t make the most interesting thing about your female character be the fact that she’s female (along those lines).

    1. Oops, I thought I had it on my definitions page. Well, now I do. It’s the concept of Chewbacca’s likability: the reason we like Chewie is because we like Han Solo, and Han likes Chewie.

      I haven’t read the article yet, but I’ll give it a look. Thanks.

      1. Yes, actually. If the charming rogue stereotype didn’t work for you, his thing at the end of A New Hope definitely did it. Or maybe it didn’t, because not everyone is the same.

      2. Ah, all right. I’m only kidding. Thing? Oh, showing up with the Falcon in the nick of time. I haven’t actually seen that since I was about twelve. I’ll try and get hold of it again. (As a matter of fact, it was the “your highness-ness” that did it for me.)

  5. Thank you for not advocating the woman-in-shining-leather-and-arrows. I think sometimes guys especially have this fear of having girl characters who are not the rock em sock em type because the feminists might get up in arms. Personally I feel that these paragons or snark and martial arts are no more realistic than the fainting beauties of the romantic period.

    Surely there is a middle ground?

    To me the most interesting heroine is the one who is faced with difficulty and danger but who manages all the same to have the courage to stay still and to help those around her. not with a sword but with compassion and nurturing. To me she is the braver heroine because it is easy to want to “go and be soldier too” easy to want to be in on the action but hard to take the part that has to wait and keep faith.

    Personally I love the books that show girls who feel rebellious against where they are right now and want to be the sword welding amazon but who’s character arc shows them growing to find their strength and their role. Little Women is one of the best cases of this. Jo begins the story wanting to “go and fight in the war with papa” but by the end she has changed and this is not shown as selling out or anything like that.

    Anyway that’s just my little hobby horse. Wonderful post Liam.

  6. “Similarly, “strong” when it comes to characters is taken literally.”
    YESYESYES. This frustrates me so much.
    For example, in A Game of Thrones (and following books) a lot of people adore Arya Stark and hate her sister Sansa. Arya is a tomboy – she fights with swords, is strong and quick for her age, et cetera.
    Sansa is much more girly but an equally strong character, just in a different way. Her talent is with people – she’s better at playing the game of politics.
    But then people go bUT SANSA LIKES PRETTY DRESSES as if that had anything to do with being a strong character. *sighs*
    Good post.

    1. The anti-girly-stuff is just the kind of culture we are. When people say they dislike the colour pink. “Why?” I ask them. “Because it’s so GIRLY!” and (these are girls) will add, “I like blue.” (Blue is traditionally considered a male colour.)

      I like pink, not because it’s girly or whatever, but because I think it’s a pretty colour. But dare I say this out-loud, for I fear being marked as a “Dumb Girl”. So, so stupid. Do they forget it takes a LOT of guts to go walking around in heels? They’re such painful shoes! The girl in question must have some incredible tolerance to pain, don’t you think?

      The feminist movements globally tried to throw away the stereotypes attached to women to they point where they’ve become taboo. Being tomboyish is cool, original, whatever. Liking dresses, heels and the colour pink is not. In their aim to make it a more feminist world, they actually made it more sexist.

      1. I’m going to throw in that pink was once considered a male color because it was like faded red. Just throwing in my two cents…

      2. In my experience, the feminist movement is coming back around and realizing that it *is* OK to like girly things (or whatever someone wants to like), but yeah. There’s still a ton of confusion about who’s actually a “good female role model” or “strong female character.”

      3. I know about pink being considered a male colour once before 🙂 but in pop culture today it’s very “female”.

        In my opinion, Luna Lovegood is a very good female character. What do you think?

    2. @DK: I read somewhere that pink was considered “too stimulating” for girls. xD

      Luna Lovegood… hmm. I do like her as a female character. Actually, I love her as a character. She doesn’t care what people think of her and she’s very smart.
      I’m just fed up of people comparing me to her because of silly ideas that “ALL RAVENCLAWS ARE QUIRKY” or “YOU’RE SMART THEREFORE YOU’RE A RAVENCLAW.” Oh, sweeties. You forgot the ambitious, sneaky part.
      Sorry about that rant. xD I’ve just been told I *am* Luna one too many times.

      1. It’s been a while since I read the HP books, but Luna is one of my favorite characters.

        About girly being equated with not strong… One of the things I think is cool about Celaena from Throne of Glass is that she is a deadly, kick-butt assassin who happens to love pretty clothes and romance books. Books in general, really.

      2. Wouldn’t you want to be Luna, though? And what exactly do you mean by “Pink is considered too stimulating”…actually, don’t tell me.

      3. To get back to the topic, another thing I just realised is how supposedly strong female characters react to the idea of romance.

        Some of them–usually, the tough, soldier girl trope–abhors romance. She’s better than all men.

        The others end up drastically changing their personality into something akin to PlayDough in the boy’s arms.

        Views?

      1. Arya is definitely an awesome, spunky little girl who kicks butt, but… yeah. Sansa and Arya aren’t even playing the same game but they’re judged as if they are, and really Sansa is the one who gets better character development. Everyone underestimates her.

  7. Great post! 😀

    I used to stray towards literally strong female characters when I was younger. But, after reading the Bartimaeus trilogy, I was struck with how darn awesome Kitty Jones was. Sure, she was considered somewhat pretty and tough, but you didn’t see her doing any fighting/actions that required an immense amount of strength. That really opened my eyes.

    Girls don’t have to be extremely strong and gorgeous to make an impact. I’ve found that being unexpected helps make the characters stronger. Sure, female characters can go on awesome adventures, but they don’t have to be master sword-fighters, able to do ten pullups, or anything like that. Sure, there are beautiful and (literally) strong girls, but this sometimes makes it harder to write with them. If the character isn’t quite as strong as all the stereotypes, she’ll have to use her brains to get through sticky situations.

    Now that I really looked at the strong/beautiful stereotype, it makes me a little annoyed. Just because some girls aren’t beautiful/strong doesn’t mean they are still cool people. Also, there’s this thing about short people being weak. (I happen to be a somewhat short person and get “you’re so tiny!” comments all the time.) We girls can be surprising–even if we aren’t small or beautiful. It’s not what’s important on the outside–it’s on the inside.

    1. YES. I had almost forgotten about Kitty. She’s a perfect example of this– she’s proactive and driven, and that makes her stronger than she would have been any other way. Great example.

      Thank you for your thoughts. I’m glad you liked the post.

      1. Thanks! I love Kitty. She’s by far my favorite character of all time out of pretty much everything I’ve read. 😀

  8. Good post.

    Though I admit I do not see this lack of strong women in fiction that others see. I think this is because I grew up reading (and still read) books with strong female characters. The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, Laddie, Goneaway Lake, Harry Potter, Throne of Glass, Soulless (I didn’t actually like that book due to copious amounts of mature content, but the MC was a strong woman)… Perhaps I’m just not reading the same books as those that see the lack of strong females.

    When I write, I do try to avoid stereotypes, because non-stereotypical people are more interesting, as are people who break the stereotypes, and I like interesting characters. But since I don’t see a hole in fiction where there should be strong female characters, I don’t actively try to fill it. I just write characters I’d like to read about and who I can root for.

    1. Read the Lord of the Rings and you’ll understand, I think– also, watch almost any cop show on air at the moment and really look at the obligatory female for a character arc. (Most times you won’t find one.) And you can look at action movies– the Marvel stuff, for example, especially Thor. Perhaps it isn’t as big a problem as I’ve made it out to be, but it does exist in the areas I frequent.

      Thanks for your thoughts.

      1. I’m almost done with The Hobbit, so LOTR is moving up in my To Read list.

        Thinking about action movies, I can see what you mean. I can think of a couple with scantily clad and/or very shallow female characters who were, as you said, the obligatory female character. They’re annoying. And I’m not convinced you overplayed it. All the commenters above see this gap, so it or something like it must be there. I’ve just been lucky enough to pick up books with strong women in them.

        This may be ridiculous, but… Perhaps those kind of characters are more prevalent in movies and Hollywood because there are more women in those circles and who aspire to be in those circles who want to be just a pretty face than there are in more literary circles. If that makes sense. I mean, you take one of those scantily clad action-movie damsels, like the brother’s girlfriend from Man on a Ledge, and there will be some make-up encrusted plastic-surgeried girl who wants to be like her. But people who read books tend to be less likely to accept that kind of 2-D beauty queen. (The comments on this post are evidence of that, I should think.) Now, of course things aren’t that black and white, and I’m relying on the stereotypical tabloid-reading beauty queen and bookworm to make that guess, but I think there is maybe something to it. Maybe. Maybe I’m completely wrong.

      2. You can see it in the Hobbit too– I’m not sure there’s even one female character in there. Certainly not a strong one.

        No, I think you have something there. Definitely the multimedia entertainment and literary entertainment circles are different and have different IQ levels. However, there will also be exceptions to this. I’m sure there are people in Hollywood who realize there’s more to a good character than a pretty face.

      3. I don’t think there is a female character in The Hobbit. At least, not one that is given a name. You meet a bunch of elves and goblins and animals, so presumably some of them are female, but they’re barely characters. I guess I never thought of that as an imbalance. I just thought “So this is a story about a bunch of guys. Okay.”

        Of course there are exceptions. (I think I meant to say that, actually.) That’s why there are great movies with strong women (I’ve heard Joss Wheadon’s women are pretty strong, and I loved Elsa from Frozen) and not-so-great books with flat women (the MC in Austenland kinda drove me nuts, though she did have her moment of “I don’t need a man” at the end. And then she ended up with a guy anyway.)

      4. Joss Whedon’s female characters are amazing, but he’s a master at just about everything. (He took Black Widow from secret agent woman stereotype to strong female character in the Avengers.) And you’re right about Elsa– I liked her better than Anna because of the difference in strength. Anna seemed like a stereotype.

      5. I was talking with my family about Anna, and she fits into the “Oh, twue wove is so amazing and I just KNOW that this man I’ve known for a very short amount of time is the one for me!” stereotype. The point of her arc was to show her that that’s a stupid train of thought. I still liked her because she was funny, but not as much as I liked Elsa. Personally, I think the end of Anna’s arc might have been a bit stronger if she and Kristoff didn’t get together at the end. Him asking her out or something else hinting at a future relationship would be fine, but hello girly, did you see how the last relationship you jumped into ended? SLOW DOWN. She did go through a lot with him while they travelled up the mountain, but still.

      6. You are not the only one who has said that. I knew Anna and Kristoff were going to end up together (ah, Pinterest, home of spoilers) so the Elsa/Kristoff pairing didn’t even occur to me at the time, but it makes complete sense. I’m not sure I would have liked the movie as much if Elsa’s arc had had a romantic bend in it, but still, ice guy plus ice queen makes sense, and I’m willing to believe that it could have been good, despite my fondness for the current storyline.

      7. Eh, I guess I can see that. I’m just not wedded to the true love theme. (No pun intended.) I liked the idea that what Anna needed was her sister, not true love, though the eternal romantic in me likes the promise of a romance to come, as opposed to true love on short acquaintance.

        (Feel free to tell me to shut up if I’m dragging this conversation/my opinion dumping on too long.)

  9. I think that’s an interesting analysis of the female characters in The Lord of the Rings. As for strong women, I think the super-tough woman is a knee-jerk reaction to the long history of men being featured as the strong protagonist. It’s also a lot easier to make a sword fight exciting than handing out blankets to the poor. Now, if the lady in question uses the blankets meant for the poor to get out of a sword fight, that might be exciting.

    1. Indeed. One of the first solutions to a lack of female protagonists was to put females where males used to be– that meant they had to be stronger to actually stay alive in this type of story. Good point.

  10. Some of the best advice I received about writing is, “Don’t try. Just do.” I think that’s good advice for creating characters. If you try too hard to make them “different” and “memorable,” you’ll end up with a cliche that’s already been written a thousand times over (something that really annoys me in dystopian especially). Think of your characters as people. Living, breathing people who only exist inside your head. Most of the time I let my characters run the story, choose the plot twists, decide their actions, and I just write it all down. It makes it exciting for me, because I rarely know what’s going to happen. I hardly ever have to pause and ask myself, “What would Raven do in this situation?” because Raven’s already doing it.

    1. That’s a good plan for avoiding cliches, actually. Unfortunately, as you just start out, you find yourself copying other writers– you unavoidably fall into those writers’ ideas, which prompts you to try to be original again. The only fix, I guess, is just to write a lot until you stop copying, which is difficult to know.

      Good points.

  11. I especially like doing concerned mom with rebellious daughter, who (gasp!) really doesn’t know better than the mom. Heehee.
    Ooh, this gives me an idea. My lady queen is a bit lacking in “Bound to the Flame”… perhaps I should have her get in a fight with her husband? 😛 Because they’re both mad and they’re BOTH in the wrong… Having one person be right in every battle and every argument is both unrealistic and cliche. You can’t be in the right, all the time. Especially if you’re a good strong character.

  12. I think part of the problem (with me at least, I don’t know how it is with others), is kind of a mental block. Like, if you look in history, woman were pretty much nobodies. Mothers, wives, and…not much else, while men could be pretty much anything they wanted to be (with exceptions, of course, to both). So when it comes to writing females, you don’t want them to be flat and boring, so, the easiest thing to do is just flip it and find the opposite—then add some beauty, because they are females, after all.

    Only, it doesn’t really work that way, because there’s so much in the middle. So, when it comes to writing females for me, I have to kind of push myself past that way of thinking and try to find a middle ground for my females…which is kind of what you were saying. Sorry for reiterating that. I think it’s a little easier for me, because I am a girl, but it’s still a tough, and kind of interesting, subject.

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