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Strong Female Character

Forums Fiction Characters Strong Female Character

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  • #33684
    Theresa Play
    @theresa-play

    So, the main sidekick in my WIP is what would probably be classified as a strong female character. She is super good at fighting, super good survivalist skills, and stuff like that. And she actually has a reason for knowing all that stuff, its not like she knows it just because she’s a girl. But how do I make sure she doesn’t become one of “those” girls that everyone groans about when reading?

     

    "My prayer is that when I die, all of hell rejoices that I am out of the fight."
    - C. S. Lewis

    #33694
    K.M. Small
    @morreafirebird

    @theresa-play I think the key is going to be giving her a distinct personality that makes her stand out among other strong female characters. Is she funny? Does she like rabbits for some reason?  Does she tell cheesy jokes? Also, perhaps show some moments of her not being strong. What is she afraid of? Does she ever cry? If not, what’s her weakness? Lastly, making her do something girly every now and then could break the stereotype. Does she wear trousers all day but adore frilly dresses? Does she dream about finding “true love?” I don’t think there’s anything wrong with strong female characters so long as they’re unique and stand out 🙂

    ~ Khylie
    "Beauty will save the world." - Dostoevsky

    #33698
    Theresa Play
    @theresa-play

    @morreafirebird, thanks. One thing I plan on is for her to express an interest in dancing, something she never got to do. But part of the difficulty is that she grew up in a rebellion. They rescued her at 3 or 4 and raised her. And there weren’t many women in the camp until she was older. So all the “girly” things wouldn’t have been accessible until she didn’t even want to do those things.

    "My prayer is that when I die, all of hell rejoices that I am out of the fight."
    - C. S. Lewis

    #33763
    Jenna Terese
    @jenwriter17

    @theresa-play I think the key is being realistic. for the most part, girls are weaker than guys. Have you ever watched the Big Valley show? it’s a western. Well, anyway there’s this character (Victoria) who’s the mom of adult kids. She’s a ‘strong female character’ I guess, but they went way overboard with it. She can shoot from the hip in a moving wagon when she never has to use a gun ever in the show, whenever there’s an episode where the weather is especially hot, she’s wearing her all black-leather-jacket-and-gloves outfit, and she seems to know no fear. It drives me crazy! What Audrey said is really good; make her unique. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a girl character that could fight and stuff well that was a cheery funny kind of girl.

    I hope this made some sense 😉

    "If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write." -Martin Luther
    www.jennaterese.com

    #33766
    K.M. Small
    @morreafirebird

    @theresa-play I like the idea that she likes dancing! Could it be that she heard it from other people in the rebellion? Like a man telling a story of how he used to dance with his wife? Another thing to remember is that men and women are different in how they think and react to emotions. @josiah wrote a really good article on it here: http://kingdompen.org/three-ways-gender-differences-should-impact-your-storys-character-arc/ It’s mainly about character arcs, but I think it’s also good in explaining how men and women will react differently to plot problems. 🙂

    ~ Khylie
    "Beauty will save the world." - Dostoevsky

    #33773
    cowlick
    @cowlick

    have her personality hang on more than her fighting skills. give her a few contradictory traits/things that you wouldn’t expect an action girl to have.

    toodle-oop

    #33778
    Filewriter
    @filewriter

    @theresa-play. Hi! I had a similar situation when I came up with one of my characters. I wanted her to be strong, but not one of “those girls”. I agree with @jenwriter17. For my girl, I had plenty of strong boy characters that were a lot stronger then her. She would be a whole lot stronger then say, me, but still smaller then and weaker then her younger brother. (Which kind of annoys her) Her partner is also a boy who is much stronger then her. He recognizes that she is strong and smart, but still takes it upon himself to protect her. (No! Just friends! 😉) So, strong but not compared to the boys. And you do have to add some weaknesses too sometimes. Like, does she think of herself as strong or weak? OK, I hope that helps a little.

    All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. ~ J. R. R. Tolkien

    #34120
    Sarah Narnathron
    @sarah-narnathron

    Hi! I really enjoy both writing and reading these types of characters (female characters who kick gluteus maximux FTW!), and I have a few suggestions based on both what I do and what I notice in literature. As others have pointed out, the main key is making sure you have a well-rounded character, someone whose personality isn’t centered around her ability to fight and be tough and who has interests other than fighting and being tough and so on. Keep in mind the difference between a personality centered on fighting and a personality whose center drives the desire to fight. Eowyn from LOTR is a good example here; she fights not because that’s who she is but because she’s proud and desires glory and high deeds and riding into battle seems the best way to accomplish that. Personality drives decision to fight, not the other way around.

    Morrea’s suggestion to have her like some more feminine things is also good, something I’ve used frequently myself, as long as it fits with the character’s personality as a whole. But, honestly, you can have a realistic, non-annoying, strong female character who isn’t particularly interested in feminine things. The key here is that even though she herself isn’t interested in those things, she doesn’t look down on those who do love those things; instead, she recognizes the value in what they do. At the risk of sounding boastful, I’m going to pull an example from my own writing: I have a character, Gwen Alyron, who is definitely a strong female character without much interest in feminine things: she’s a dragon rider, highly skilled in battle and survival, would be very uncomfortable if anyone made her wear a dress, more at home in the sky or the mountains or on the battlefield than in a domestic or fancy setting. She also has sisters and friends who prefer more traditionally feminine things, who would rather raise a family or work as a healer than roam the mountains and fight monsters, but she doesn’t think less of them because of that. She respects their decisions and admires that they can do and enjoy something she can’t. Basically, even if your character isn’t femine herself, don’t have her be anti-feminine towards others.

    Finally, don’t have your character be a jerk about the fact that she’s female and can do all these things. Most of the strong female characters who I find annoying are annoying not because they can do all these things but because they’re so high and mighty about it. They take the second half of “Strong independent woman who don’t need no man” too far. Let your character accept chivalry and kindness from guys and from people in general. Let her let others protect her at times. Let part of her strength come not just from her ability to take care of herself but from her humility and ability to recognize when she needs to turn to others for help. Do that and it’ll go a long way towards making her a strong and likeable female character.

    Hope this helps!

    Welcome to the masquerade.

    #34321
    Theresa Play
    @theresa-play

    @jenwriter17, funny and cheery, got it. Thanks


    @morreafirebird
    , I like the idea of her hearing it first from a fellow rebel


    @cowlick
    , You’re an Agents of Shield fan??? anyways, contradictory, *check list of character traits*, okay, I have one. I should probably add more.


    @filewriter
    , one thing is that my MC (male) isn’t that strong physically. And I made him that way purposefully because I got tired of reading about MCs who didn’t have to work to get good at something. Jycin never learns how to fight with weapons, he always uses words to get himself out of, and into, trouble. So compared to him she sees herself as strong, and in the beginning she looks down on him for not knowing what she thinks are basic skills.


    @sarah-narnathron
    , I guess the main thing that annoys me is what you said, most SFC (strong female characters) look down on other girls who like that stuff and are jerks. So I just have to be careful not to write her as an annoying jerk that people are supposed to like but can’t bring themselves to.

    "My prayer is that when I die, all of hell rejoices that I am out of the fight."
    - C. S. Lewis

    #34380
    Aislinn Mollisong
    @aislinn-mollisong

    @theresa-play I have a few “strong female characters” as main characters. One thing that helped me was this article and part two of said article . My mom thought those were so good that she shared them on Facebook!

    My girls are very good fighters, aren’t very girly in general, and seem like they would be stereotypical tomboys. But they’re not. Amber likes swordfighting and has (in most people’s opinion) a better power than her boy counterpart, BUT she also loves wearing dresses, enjoys being around other girls, and most importantly respects said boy counterpart and does not look down in him. Fallon is an insane shot with a crossbow, never wears dresses if she can help it, and is more at home alley-running and riding her dragon than in any social situation. But she still likes being feminine and respects the guys she’s with. She also gets softer when she meets up with Brynn, who is very much of a girly girl.

     

     

     

    Hero with an overactive imagination

    #34404
    NCStokes
    @ncstokes

    @theresa-play I may or may not be squirreling away tips from this thread for my own use. *sneakily hides notes away in my hat* Just one thing that annoys me in SFCs, [INCOMING RANT EVERYONE DUCK!!] , they often seem unnecessarily sulky. They’re like stereotypical brooding bad boy’s twin sister. It’s important to have the backstory impact the personality, and if the backstory is tragic there’s nothing wrong with that, but they just aren’t likeable if all they do is feel sorry for themselves, and especially if they take it out on other people.
    There. I have ranted. *nods decisively* I like the sound of your character already! I hope you have fun writing her.

    *shameless self promotion* https://weridasusual.home.blog/

    #34970
    Skredder
    @skredder

    @theresa-play I once had a MC that was a great fighter with just about any weapon (she was taught specifically to do this) doesn’t wear dresses, and rides griffons. She becomes essentially the bodyguard of a girl her age and they don’t get along at all. The second girl is a jerk, but when she stops being a jerk they become great friends and my MC asks to learn how to play an instrument, something she has wanted to learn since she was a little girl. In truth, she would rather not fight, but she does fight to protect others and she doesn’t mind others helping her. She would rather run around the woods and catch frogs in the river than fight.

    Currently I have an MC that can fight well with a knife and knows how to handle herself. She doesn’t like a lot of help from others, but she loves walking in the gardens, having snowball fights, and eating gingerbread. She can also steal your wallet from you right under your nose.

    #37820
    Theresa Play
    @theresa-play

    @aislinn-mollisong, @ncstokes, @skredder, thank you guys for the help

    "My prayer is that when I die, all of hell rejoices that I am out of the fight."
    - C. S. Lewis

    #37964
    Princess Foo
    @princess-foo

    *steals @ncstokes ‘s hat and notes for myself*


    @theresa-play
    Prepare for rant. I was watching Return of the King yesterday, and Eowyn was complaining that she was being forced to go with the women and children. While I understand being forced into a role you don’t want to fill “just because”, I was annoyed because she acted like preparing food and medicine for the soldiers was a lesser role. I am not a Strong Female Character, and in a lot of stories where the SFC scoffs at traditionally feminine things, I would be the person doing those things. It feels like those characters are devaluing my role, and thereby devaluing ME. *Takes deep breathe* So, don’t do that.

    I am not interested in really girly-girl things (why would I care when I could be thinking about books!), but my sisters and mom really like shopping and choosing outfits. So even though I have a fairly low shopping tolerance, I try and have fun picking out outfits as a way to spend time with my family, and show that I can care about what they care about. I don’t know where I was going with this exactly, but maybe she can do something like that too?

    Another thing is that girl’s emotions (at least mine), can be a bit crazy. I think someone might of mentioned something similar already, but I cry very easily, and I am not a drama queen. Half the time when I cry, I think “Why am I crying? This is not worth crying over.” But I do it anyways. (Silly hormones) Even thinking about crying will make my eyes water. I don’t know about others those, this is just how I react.

    The cake is a lie. acaylor.com

    #37988
    Theresa Play
    @theresa-play

    @princess-foo, HEY! no stealing on my topic!

    the emotional part always seems to disappear with most SFCs

    "My prayer is that when I die, all of hell rejoices that I am out of the fight."
    - C. S. Lewis

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