Friday, May 15, 2015

Writing Strong Female Characters: What You're Doing Wrong


Has anyone out there noticed that it is becoming increasingly popular to have a female character as a protagonist? And not just any female character: a strong female character. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that....Unless you're part of the group that gets strong female characters wrong about 99% of the time.

I recently wrote a guest post for Rae Elliott about the do’s and dont's of strong female characters. But today I’m going to write about the dont's of writing strong female characters that most writers do.

I look around the bookstores at “strong” female characters, and you know what I see? Losers. I mean, people who have lost stuff. Characters who have lost what makes them real. So below is a list of points that most people get wrong when writing strong female characters. Hopefully, after reading it, you can take a closer look at the female characters in your writing and give them the elements they’re missing:  

  1. You think of her as a strong female character. This is a point I mentioned on Rae’s blog, but I’ll reiterate it here and hope I’m not plagiarizing. You can’t plagiarize yourself, right? I hope not, because here I go: The fact that you have to put the word “strong” in front of “female” shows that there is something very wrong with the way you view girl characters. Females are strong. You don’t have to add the word “strong” into your thinking because not only is it redundant and nonsensical, but it is degrading to your character. Your creation process for a “strong” female character should be no different than any other character. Think of her as a human being and everything should be okay.
  2. She’s super good at “guy things” for no particular reason. This one cracks me up. This girl can do everything. She can fix cars, fire a gun, knows how to skateboard, and can pack a punch better than any guy. Why? Um…well, because it’s defying man’s superiority! Actually, it’s not. It’s just giving your character a bunch of skills that don’t really need to be there. It would be like if a male fantasy character was revealed to have amazing cello playing skills. Okay, good for him, but that’s completely irrelevant to the storyline. It’s fine if a girl doesn’t know how to change a tire (I know I don’t). If it fits into the story, then sure, go for it. But if you’re doing it to somehow make her look stronger than men, just drop it. That’s cheap.
  3. You’re objectifying her. This one drives me crazy. Strong females do not parade around in skin tight suits, low cut blouses, dresses with slits up to the thigh, or midriff-showing tops. They do not flaunt their bodies or try to seduce bad guys in order to get a good shot at killing them. Ever. There is never a good reason for doing this. I know a lot of beautiful real-life women who have strong personalities, and none of them act like that. None of them. So neither should your characters.
  4. She has no personality. This is exasperatingly common. Other than kicking butt and taking names, having the generic dark past that she struggles with, Ms. Strong doesn’t really have much of a character. She lacks motivation, and the motivation she does have doesn’t really make a lot of sense when you look at it closely. No one likes a flat character, especially since strong personalities are supposed to be vibrant and interesting.
  5. She’s distant and not very nice. She’s snaps at everyone around her, hates the world, and is kind of self-centered until the end of the story. She’s afraid of letting people into her life because she got hurt once. Deep down she’s insecure and lonely. But then she strikes out on her own (as in, by herself…alone) and finds happiness and freedom. She slowly warms to her loyal friend who has inexplicably put up with her constant jerkiness and then everything becomes perfect. Wait. I just described Elsa….Sorry. Actually, no, I’m not. She’s a perfect example of a stereotypical female character that people have labeled as “strong” for no good reason. Search your feelings, you know it to be true. And yes, I do realize that I just stepped over a line. If you’ve ever wondered why I don’t say what city I live in, this is why. I’d prefer not to show up on the news: “Local girl found dead, murdered for heresy against the Frozen fandom.”   
  6. She’s perfect. Strength is not synonymous with perfection. Strength is having flaws but fighting to deal with them.  The sooner people realize this, the better. Perfection = no character arc, which generally leads to a lame story. A lame story means you won’t get any readers, you won't make any money, and thus won’t be able to buy yourself coffee. And do you want to be unable to buy yourself coffee? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
  7. She falls in love with your male character for no apparent reason. Please don’t do this. There needs to be a valid reason behind your character’s romance. It seems that most strong female characters end up falling in love with an equally amazing guy character. Why? Because they’re both awesome and deserve each other. God forbid that your female character ends up alone at the end of the book. As strong as she is, she couldn’t handle that. Romance is good and all, but not when it’s only there for the sake of being there. Give her a reason to fall in love that goes deeper than “He’s cute and I understand him.”
  8. Her weapon of choice is a bow and arrow or she always wears leather jackets. Naw, I’m just kidding. It’s totally fine if you want your character to do this. Just be aware that it’s pretty common:
And that’s all I have for you today. Just some food for thought. Have you ever noticed yourself making any of the above slip-ups while writing your female characters? If so, maybe you can look at changing it up and rounding out your girl characters a bit. It's not hard once you know what to look for. You're readers will thank you.

Don't forget to hop over and read my post on Rae Elliott's blog. And while you're there, you should take a look around at her other blog posts and her book. She's got some great stuff over there! 

As always, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section below! 


Enjoy this post? Take a look around. If you like what you see, please don't forget to subscribe by email for a new post every Friday!

71 comments:

  1. Great post Hannah. but, with respect, you missed one. This is the scene in which a female character written by a male author stands naked in front of a mirror and critically assesses her various body parts...

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    1. Oh gosh. Mirror scenes. Whoever started that trend needs to be banned from writing. =) Can't believe I missed that one. Thanks for the reminder!

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    2. Lol! Unfortunately, yes. It's common in 1st person narratives, since some authors can't figure out how to describe their MC, so they have the MC look in the mirror and describe him/herself. It's very weird.

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    3. i know right!!!! the hurt and forever alone part is so cliched

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  2. Good article, I sent out some tweets on this with the hashtags #amwriting #writing. You have a good blog with well thought out articles.

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    1. Thank you so much, Artemis! I really appreciate it and am so glad to hear that you enjoy my blog. Happy writing!

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  3. I agree with your assessment that there are too many strong female characters whose sole strength seems to be aggression!

    Every person is an individual, so I like my fictional characters to be just as individualistic.

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    1. Glad I'm not the only one who sees it that way. =) You're spot on when your say characters should be individuals. Thanks for the comment, Danielle!

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  4. *tucks this away for future use*

    Not that I need them or anything.

    And here I thought I would be doing okay if I gave her a leather jacket AND a bow.

    Seriously though, great stuff. Strong female leads have almost gone too far in the other direction. Now if only we could get them in movies, too...

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    1. Haha! I'm not going to lie: there's something pretty cool about a girl in a leather jacket with a bow. As long as she's got an awesome personality to match. =D
      Movies are a whole other beast. Hopefully they'll start moving in the right direction soon. Glad you enjoyed my post!

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    2. I feel that part of the reason it's so popular that women characters are depicted with a bow as their weapon of choice is because well 1) they ARE awesome and 2) because, like you said, having a girl be stupid good at "guy things" just 'cause is nonsensical. It doesn't make sense for the lithe and beautiful woman to beat a super buff guy in an arm wrestling match, but if she snipes him from 20 paces with her bow, that's more believable.

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  5. So true. Also, I do know how to change a tire... but I don't think I could actually do it. :P

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    1. Haha! Go you. I'd just have to call AAA.

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  6. Another great post, Hannah. You nailed a lot of stereotypes here. The worst is the lack of flaws - I see it all the time. I think rule of thumb is that any character, male or female, has to make sense, which is to say, the reader should be able to follow why she/he acts a certain way. And once you pick things apart like that, finding layers under layers of ... perfection? Un-likely! :D

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    1. So true! The only point that I can see for having a perfect character is if you're planning to kill him/her off and use it as motivation. =)

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  8. We have avoided most of these, fortunately. With regard to #2, however, note that in our novel series we have an action girl who is swirling in knife-fights but her grim male sidekick falls in love ... well, not with a cello but with a lyra! :-P And honestly I see no fault in that.

    About #5, right on the mark, I am afraid. However, our girl was violently enslaved as a child and passed through all the related traumata; I guess she has earned a right to be misanthropic and go berserk when the trigger is closed.

    With regard to #3, I assure you that ours would never do that. Flaunting? Every man who tries as much as touch her has to collect his fingers from the floor afterwards! Most of the time she is wearing simple riding clothes and she feels awkward when she has to dress up like a lady for disguise (once she severely hurts herself when she tries to jump through a window in full costume).

    Finally: Good point about the mirror scene, Hannah. Fortunately, there were no full-body mirrors in the period we set our stories in. We have solved that by confronting our girl with a bunch of ragtag mercenaries who make loud fun of her looks. And another protagonist we described by making him compare himself to his foster-sister (who looks more like his biological sister than he appreciates).

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    1. You'll get no argument from me when it comes to girls who know how to fight with knives. =) I've always like that....As long as it has a purpose, of course. =) Your girl character sounds pretty awesome and I love the creative ways you ended up describing both her and the other protagonist. Thanks for the cool comment! I love hearing how other writers have managed to side-step these common mistakes. Happy writing!

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    3. Be assured that there is a purpose, Hannah. Our dark heroine has a specific history behind her combat skills. I imagine her childhood to have looked like this. Forget about bow and arrow - here is an action girl you would not want to meddle with on the schoolyard:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=B6Vp_cGEctM

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    4. Whoa. Super cool! She's definitely not somebody I would want to make angry. =) Thanks for sharing!

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  9. This a pretty good list, but I don't completely agree with number 3. I don't really see a problem if a character is proud of the way she looks and likes to show it off, just not the whole book or in a professional setting.

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    1. Good point, though confidence does not always have to be shown through how a women feels about her body. Depending on the character, her wanting to 'show off' may work, though often it comes across as unnecessary and demeaning. If a writer can do it without coming across that way, then go him/her! =)

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  10. First of all, loved your Guardians of the Galaxy quote use there! XD
    Second, YES about Elsa! She's not strong--she spends the whole movie running away from her problems.
    Really, really great post. I wrote a post on this topic too but you covered the bases better than I did. Nice work!

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    1. Yay! You're the first to take note of the Guardians reference! You are clearly a very cool person. =) I'm so glad you enjoyed the post. I'll have to hop on over and check out your post sometime. I'm sure it's great.

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  11. You make some great points here. A great read. Thanks!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  12. Wow, awesome! I just came across your blog but I already love it! ;D It is the perfect mix of valuable information, humour and advice. :)

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    1. Aw. Thank you, Rose! That's exactly what I've been aiming for. =)

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  13. Thanks Hannah! I read through this just to confirm that I had 'done it right.' Insert scene in which a male author stands naked in front of a mirror and is critically assessed by his female character. No, don't. Mirror scenes Bad. Blog post Good. Thank you!

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    1. Lol! Yes. Mirror scenes are very bad. =) I'm glad you enjoyed my post! Thank you for the fun comment.

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  14. Good points. Also there's Hermione Granger. She isn't perfect. She has personality and she don't really rely on men. She is pretty much a strong female character to me. So is Molly Weasley. The female characters in Harry Potter are fairly strong themselves.

    And as for Emma Swan, well she is a whole lot of a strong female on her own with or without her jacket.

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    1. Yes, Hermoine and Molly are great examples of good female characters. Molly is a particular favorite of mine. =) And I think book-Ginny was awesome, too. Not so much the movie-Ginny, though. Not sure what happened there... =] Thanks for the comment!

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  15. The thing I find about most strong characters is they're normal...but they've been through hell, basically. They have had life-changing or heart-breaking experiences.
    That, however, does not make a strong character. What makes them strong is their ability to keep loving after they've been through everything. Not shutting themselves down--not that they're being unafraid, being scared...but knowing that if they close their heart up, they won't be able to function.
    Snow White (ONCE)
    Jane Eyre (although the story is not my favourite, I have an endless admiration for Jane)
    Even Queen Elsa. (Frozen...duh XD )
    They've all been through an awful load of trials, but they have all managed to come out better from it, why? Because they have learned to not let heartbreak or new scars being the end of the world. That's what makes a character strong.

    I enjoyed your post! You've definitely got one of the best writing blogs i've come across. =)
    ~Jess

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  16. "Big Hero 6″ is the perfect babysitter for your kids. But, animation should offer something to the adults as well. Let's find more original stories and even get experimental, folks. "Big Hero 6″ is nothing we haven't seen before.

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  17. Wow, you scared me for a second! My female character does use a bow and arrow as her weapon. I have an actual explanation for this, so that its not totally cliché. I have a female character in my book, but she isn't the main character, and I try to make sure that she Doesn't turn into a stereotypical "Strong Female" character. Thanks for this list, it helped me a ton!

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    1. Lol! A bow and arrow are totally fine. One of my female characters owns one. =) Glad this post helped you out!

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  18. I do however, want to point out why strong women want to wear leather jackets--because they're so dadgum durable! They take baby drool or paint or motor oil like a pro--and then it washes right off. They also keep you warm, even if they get wet, which those stupid, stylish wool peacoats *do not* do. :D I love me some leather jackets, can you tell? :D

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  19. I'm sitting here, after reading this, thinking, "Thank God I haven't done any of that!" WHEW

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  20. Hello!
    I want to write novels. I guess you hear that many times. But it's my dream. I really want it. I read your blog and think that you can help me. If you accept I ask you some questions. Thank you already now.

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    1. Hi Elif! I'd be more than happy to try to answer any questions you have. It's exciting to hear from other writers who are working to follow their dreams. Feel free to reply to this comment and ask questions. Or you can email me through my website (which might easier): http://hannahheathwriter.com/contact/ I look forward to hearing from you!

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  21. Oh, these are so true! #5 is especially irritating to me. I can't remember the last time I read a book with a "strong female character" who I actually liked. They're always vicious and rude, even to total strangers, for no reason at all.

    I see #2 all the time too - authors really like giving the female character a job or skill that is commonly male (engineer, mechanic). Of course women do those jobs if that's what they're good at, but why does every engineer/mechanical genius character have to be female? It's so contrived it just instantly annoys me now.

    I also start rolling my eyes every time the female character is a super warrior who can take down 5 bad guys quicker than any male character. From a biological standpoint, it's completely impossible but the girl has to be better at everything. Gag.

    For #7, it often goes the other way as well - the male character falls in love with the female for no reason at all. She's rude and mean, thinks she's smarter and better at everything, and plays mind games yet the (handsome, rich, etc.) man falls in love with her. What?

    Sorry, I vented a lot. It's always such a disappointment, picking up what looks like an interesting book only to see the same unlikable characters ruining the story.

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  22. Is there any way you could republish the article you did on Rae Elliott's blog? The link doesn't work anymore and I'd love to read the article.

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    1. Thanks for your interest, Candice! Unfortunately, Rae re-did her website and I can't find my post on there anymore (thus the broken link). I still have the original post, though, so I may republish it over here sometime. I'll let you know when it's up!

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  23. Hi Hannah,

    I just started working on a game with a friend where we are making the main character a female early 1900's Indiana Jones type. We're both male so in researching, I found this article. It's very insightful and great.

    I have come across a lot of 'feminist' type articles that weren't very helpful, as well as a lot of 'how to write a strong female character' articles that weren't helpful either.

    In many of those articles, they promoted things that you advise against. Things like making sure that the female is perfectly capable of everything at all times. It was refreshing to read this article without detecting any nonsense about how women are superior to men - that they're actually equal. They have skills and lack skills, have strengths and weaknesses. They have personality traits and a philosophic code, make mistakes, and overcome obstacles. I also appreciated that there wasn't any bashing in this article - it stuck to the topic of 'how to avoid pitfalls when writing female leads.'

    Even the best intentions of "this female character is going to be totally self reliant and don't need no man!" come off as being pretty sexist and reductive in my opinion. Usually linked with this is the standoffish, kinda bitchy type character (like the one in the Blackwell Legacy games). I'm just not into it, and while people like Anita Sarkeezian would love it, I find it just as gross as 'the constant flirt' character.

    We just want a good, well rounded character who feels like a person, and not a stereotypical woman, regardless if that stereotype is positive or negative. The tips here are perfect for helping us figure that out.


    Anyway, thanks again for this article, keep up the good work.

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    1. Your comment just made my day. I actually decided to write this post because I noticed what you were just talking about: A lot of male-bashing posts about how to write a feminist's idea of a strong woman. It's not necessary or helpful to pull down one gender to make the other look good. I've seen a lot of guys try to point this out and get shot down, so I thought I would try to take up the mantle. =)

      Anyway, it always makes me happy to know that other people find my posts to be helpful. Best of luck to you and your friend on writing your female character! I'm sure she's going to be great.

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  24. Some interesting points, Hannah. I particularly like 2 and 4. Can we discuss your third point about objectifying the "strong female"? It seems a bit unfair to assume that a high skirt slit or mid drift automatically constitutes as objectification. In fact, it could imply "strong" women who take themselves seriously should refrain from dressing a certain way if they don't want to lose credibility. Granted, the objectification of female characters in mainstream entertainment media, be it literary or film, is by and far ridiculous. But there seems to be a certain danger is going too far in the opposite direction, suggesting that genuinely strong, capable, talented, and intelligent women take themselves too seriously to place emphasis on the clothes they wear. Is there not an inherent realness in people wanting to look and feel attractive? Does the definition of this not change depending on the individual? Do we really want a literary universe where all of the FMCs are too smart to be sexy and too self aware to be comfortable outside of jeans and t-shirt?

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    1. Ah. A valid question. I was not inferring that wearing high slits or showing skin meant that the person is objectifying themselves. If a person wants to dress that way because they feel good in it, then go for it. But writing a character that wears a shirt that exposes her mid-riff and then goes around and acts in a slummy way is doing a disservice to women.

      So I think we're kind of on the same page: Women can be strong and smart AND wear short shorts. At the end of the day, strength of character has nothing to do with the way you dress. You can be strong and like to wear sweatpants and a XL sweatshirt. You can also be strong and like to wear a short dress. It's the way you act that matters.

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  25. Excellent point. If I have to put STRONG in front of female I obviously failed to show them strength. I had to snicker about the changing a tire bit, because I can and HAVE done this. Often.

    Working as a firefighter/paramedic, I have to prove my worth: strength, skills, passion, determination, almost daily. Some of that is because I'm female in a very make dominated profession. But most is simply because we expect everyone around us to pull their own weight instead of being deadweight.

    I have truly loved seeing the very capable "Black Widow" character types in films lately. And I love leather jackets. Grin. But I have been feeling more and more that I want to write characters who are strong without being physically impervious to everything or able to defeat 6 people in one bout. I look at my mom, who has raised 4 kids, gardened and built a reputation as a gardener, a marketer, and a naturally organic advocate... Who works harder than most anyone I know, but would never call herself "strong". Stubborn, yes. Grin.

    Anyway, I am digressing. Lovely post. Good things to keep in mind. Well rounded, interesting characters ARE strong characters.

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  26. Thanks for hitting the nail on the head when it comes to Frozen. Everyone's always like "It's all about strong women" and about love between sisters and not the boys. But the two female characters are honestly pretty inconsequential. The males protag more than they do, and then because they're the 'heroines' - the girls are suddenly strong. No, no. What makes a girl strong is not making her the main character, not even giving her something big and important to mull over--a strong female MC actually does something. She protags. Like every protagonist should. :3

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    1. ...what? Did you miss the part where Anna sacrificed herself to save Elsa's life while slowly freezing to death from the inside? Or when Elsa stood up and fixed the problem she caused? How about when Anna saved Kristoff's life and helped fight back the wolves?

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  27. I always love these posts about how to write strong male/strong female characters! Quite a few of the other blog posts I've read have a few of the points that you do, but one that I especially remember is that women who are portrayed in stories as strong are often mistakenly devoid of normal female emotions, like that's what makes someone "strong." That said blog post listed Hermione is a fairly good "strong" and yet perfectly emotional lead character, which I thought was quite interesting! I feel like it's super common for writers to feel the need to make a female unemotional in order to make them seem strong, as if that's considered a weakness.

    Anyway, loved your post! I will definitely be checking out more and will be keeping this one in mind, as I'm writing a series with a female that's a bit tougher than in my other books. Tips are always helpful!

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    1. I love this comment! You hit the nail on the head when you mentioned how females can be strong and emotional at the same time. Emotions are not weaknesses. They just add to character depth and can actually be the motivation for great strength.

      Best of luck with your series! It sounds like fun.

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  28. I think this will help me a lot. I love your blog, I'm reading a lot about how to write properly a character and a book, I want to make sure to not write a whole non-intresting cliché book. Hope I'll get it right!
    Thanks again :)

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    1. Happy to hear this, Amy! I'm sure that if your focus is to avoid cliches, then you shouldn't have a problem. =) Best of luck and thanks for the comment!

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  29. Fantastic article, but as a side note , I am a girl, I like pink pens and planners, can changer a car tyre, check fluid levels etc and I have an RAF marksman. I can fire a rifle - well. I like combats and sweats, leggings and pretty tops. No longer physically fit due to disability but I am working back to my sports, shooting included. Not everyone is cut and dry girly girl, or badass girl, some of us are a mixture of both for varying reasons. It rounds a character out if it can work for backstory etc... I learned to shoot at around eight years old, with my dad. I progressed from there.

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  30. hello there. can't help but notice that you seem to have forgotten that women have a right to their own bodies. meaning that, in spite of your belief that all strong women dress modestly, if a woman wants to wear skin tight and low cut clothing, she can do that and still be unstoppable. she can also wear a hijab, or a turtleneck, or literally anything. a woman's style does not define her strength.

    aside from that, i agree with most of your points and yet i am leaving with a bitter taste due to the fact that you come across as a bit of a pretentious "special snowflake." nothing you're saying is new or revolutionary but you act like you're a blessing to this earth.

    xoxo

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  31. This is such a great post, thank you for writing it!! (I also love the one for writing decent and well rounded guy characters.)

    I have to admit, reading a few of these got me a bit nervous about how I write my fictional ladies. I'm pretty sure I've avoided all glaringly obvious signs of these all too often used stereotypes, and you have such wonderful advice for how to not write these so-called "strong females" it gives me confidence I can keep writing real women and girls in the future.

    Also, I too didn't swoon at Frozen; I'm more of a classic Beauty and the Beast girl myself. (Actually, I don't even think of Hans as a bad guy...) So you aren't alone in being maybe more than slightly unimpressed by it! ;)

    Thank you again for putting this great article out!

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  32. That was sooo helpful, thank you for making this amazing article! Opened my eyes on how to avoid making my MC annoying :D
    Now I'm looking for other inspirations. Can you share your favourite female character, please? Strong, not strong from movies, series, books, games :) Thanks again!

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    1. Hi Kryptonim! So sorry for my late response. Here is a list, in no particular order:

      Hermoine
      Laura (Wolverine)
      Captain Marvel
      Celia Foot
      Luna Lovegood
      Jo March
      Professor McGonagall
      Mattie Ross
      Kaori (Your Lie in April)
      Mikasa
      Faith Herbert (Valiant Comics)

      Those are just the ones off the top of my head. I know I'm missing a ton. =D

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  33. I think the biggest problem is actually at the heart. People should make sure their strong female characters are there because the story needs them, not because the writer wants to look properly feminist. So, before you write a strong female character, ask yourself, If I suddenly found out that no woman or male feminist would care whether or not I included a strong female character, would I still write this person? If the answer is no, don't feel any pressure to include the woman. A cardboard character of either sex only bogs the story down and discredits the very notion of adding "strong female characters."

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    1. Good point, Ruth! You should never write to pander to a group of people. Write what you believe you should. Your story will be deeper for it. Thanks for the comment!

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  34. Thank you for this list. It helped me think of ways to perfect my character

    She is strong, but not not over-powering. Many men are stronger than her (except in the magic deparmnet) but she never gives up. Also, she doesn't need a bow and Arrow. With her powers, that's all she needs.

    Another thing people should try to do with strong female characters is make them realistic. If a woman has just one of the stereotypes, it's sorta realalistic, but put them all together- not even remotely believable. Another tip: Make it BELIEVABLE!

    I really liked the post!

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  35. This is just too true. We need to get every writer out there to read your post and see why a lot of stories with interesting concepts are falling flatter than an arrow shaft.

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  36. I hear you. It's exasperating see how "strong" female characters are mistreated by authors and fans alike. I'm doing my best to avoid it myself.

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  37. I feel Elsa is far stronger than you give her credit for. Everything that she did was out of fear that she would hurt somebody else. She sacrificed her life's happiness to keep the person she loved safe. She only snapped at someone once (due to immense stress), and obviously doesn't hate everyone because she wanted them to be safe.

    So... no, you didn't describe Elsa at all. She's neither hateful nor self-centered.

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    1. I see your point, but I don't think it was clear that she sacrificed her happiness for her sister's. Anna was very clear about needing Elsa to be there for her. Yet Elsa never talked to Anna through the door (A simple, "Thank you, but I don't want to build snow men right now" would have been nice). She ran away out of fear of what she might accidentally do. She was motivated by fear. Yes, she thought of her sister, but only in a way that allowed her to serve herself first: Running away to "protect" her. She comes around at the end, though, after realizing this was wrong. That was her character arc.

      That being said, it is a decent character arc, just one that tends to get overlooked because people got so focused on lauding her as a "strong" character. I'm not a fan of her personality, but she is a decent character. And, of course, just because I don't like her doesn't mean that anybody else is wrong to. =)

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