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Creating New And Relatable Heroines

Forums Fiction General Writing Discussions Creating New And Relatable Heroines

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  • #110056
    Chelsea R.H.
    @seekjustice

    Hi all!

    I’m just going to jump straight into it. I want to know what you guys think of female characters in novels, particularly YA and Christian novels.

    I’m currently plotting a YA fantasy novel and it’s come to my attention that I have a bad habit of making my characters all the same. As in, across my novels my female leads are almost always extroverted “tough” tomboy girls who like best the boys at everything. My male characters tend to be very reserved and quiet, or very loud and sarcastic (hello Han Solo). Then I have the soft feminine best friend/sister and finally the cold, ambitious cruel woman of power, whether she be a queen, revolutionary, or figure of authority.

    I can understand why my heroines are always the same–they are very similar to me. But I want to start purposefully creating heroines who are very different to me and thus I need a little help from you guys.

    I hear a lot of stuff about female characters on various writing websites and in book reviews. People always seem to have something negative to say about them and there’s all these dos and don’ts, especially when it comes to the strong female characters.

    So basically, since you guys are my target audience, what do you want to see in YA and Christian fiction? What personality types (for males as well as females) do you think are under represented? Who are your favourite female characters and what made them unique?

    Hopefully that makes sense (it’s 12:30am so I won’t be surprised if it doesn’t!).

     

    Mahalo keia huiʻana

    #110061
    Naiya Dyani
    @naiya-dyani

    @seekjustice Oooh. .  *rubs hands* I love atypical character types.

    This is partly just me, but I like seeing male characters that are feeling types. (I love my INFP boi don’t anyone dare touch him except to hug him.) *cough* But yes, seeing more guy characters that feel deeply would be lovely! A teen guy devoted to his baby sister and who loves showing her off. One that cries for the family dog. One that deeply empathizes with those around him. One that shows that muscles do not a true man make. *bounces happily* I love those characters. . .

    For female characters. . . I’d love to see more motherly types. I’ve written at length about this on the topic @deeprun started on damsels in distress vs. damsels of destruction, but basically, I’d love more characters that show the gentle power of the motherly girl or woman whose ambience of home creates a safe haven wherever she goes. Whose anger is rarely one of irritation but instead of protection, who defends those she loves in spirit and, if needed, in body. Whose heart is like a warm fire to come to out of the cold rain. Who shows that there’s a power stronger than that contained in a weapon.

    Those are just the two I can think of off the top of my head. I’ll see if I come up with any more. 🙂

    Hearts are like matter--they can be beaten down, torn, and burned, but they cannot be destroyed.

    #110181
    Chelsea R.H.
    @seekjustice

    @naiya-dyani

    Thanks for your thoughts! I’ll definitely catch up on that thread too.

    Mahalo keia huiʻana

    #110182
    Caseybold
    @caseybold

    @seekjustice I read a New York Times article by Brit Marling that really shed some light on realistic female characters. There’s a lot of great advice and things to consider in here. Good luck!

    Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/07/opinion/sunday/brit-marling-women-movies.html

    I'm nobody, Who are you? -Emily Dickinson 뜻이 있는 곳에 길이 있다.

    #110190
    valtmy
    @valtmy

    @seekjustice

    If your characters are falling into the same patterns, perhaps you can try switching up the traits? Maybe a character can be extroverted, feminine and ambitious all at once, which I think is not a combination often seen among female leads. You can also try flipping things up and seeing how all these traits would play out if the character was the opposite gender, since their mindset, experiences, challenges and opportunities would differ as a result. Quite a few of my character concepts were conceived like this. 😛

    If you having trouble coming up with and writing characters that are unlike yourself in personality, one thing you may want to consider is to read about real women who are very different from you to gain some exposure to their psychology and ways of thinking. For example, one area of research I did for QOD was to read about real-life celebrities, from historical actors to old Hollywood stars to modern pop singers. So perhaps reading biographies of women who had lived very different lives from you can inspire and help you get some ideas for your female characters.

    Some character types I wish to see more of:
    – Extroverts. More specifically, extroverted nerds.
    – Non-villainous Thinking types
    – Villainous Feeling types
    – Characters who have devoted themselves to discovering and learning something specific (e.g. learning a certain craft) instead of some grand nebulous ideal
    – Politicians and social experts (both villainous and otherwise)
    – Non-villainous ambitious characters
    – Characters that actually need to work for a living (not really a personality type but it’s something that can significantly ground a character)

    That’s all I can think of for now. Hope this helps.

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