1. JGraham
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    JGraham Senior Member

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    Character Help

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by JGraham, Nov 5, 2008.

    I n my stories i have many characters, with many different personalities. But one thing that i always do is leave out good female roles. I dont want to say i am a sexists but when i am making a main character that is important to the story it is usually a guy. I attribute this to the fact that when i think of a hero i think of a guy, but how do i prevent this. I would like to have some good female characters but i worry that my lack of knowledge for their way of thinking will prevent it from being believable. Any suggestions.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Become an observer of people. Just be careful not to appear to be stalking.
     
  3. JGraham
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    JGraham Senior Member

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    :cool: Im on it lol

    I do a lot of that actually, and i talk to a lot of people, but i still cant really give a woman more of a role than like a wife, or a small scientists. I dont know why, i just cant. It is hard to explain.
     
  4. ning
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    ning Member

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    why not ask your female friends? like for example you can ask, 'if you are in a particular kind of situation and you have the ability of a hero, what would you do and why?' i guess if you are not able to figure out how a woman thinks the best way is to ask.

    another thing i thought is that maybe you have a certain concept of how a hero would be like. for example you think of a hero as a man with certain attributes such as being muscular or decisive or something and think of woman as being too feminine and unable to undertake responsibilites. if you would like more ideas other than asking, i suggest you read more of japanese stories.

    japanese light novels and manga (comics) tend to have a lot of female heroes, and they do it very well. so maybe you can get some ideas there?
     
  5. CommonGoods
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    CommonGoods Senior Member

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    Observe, talk and experience. Observe and talk are obvious, but many people forget to mention how good it is to be bested by a woman/man at something, especially sports. One of my female heroins was based on a classmate who absolutely kicked my ass in a soccer game. Gave me a new respect for female sporters.

    My women tend to be excelent manipulators (blame my sister, who pretty much manipulates someone somehow with every breath she takes) or housewifes with a solid view of the world (my mother would be responisble for that image). They are hardly ever dependend on a male character, unless it comes to funds (my dads a true work-a-holic and brings in the coin). My point: the woman you write about are often based on the woman you see every day. Try making new female friends or talk about different things with your current ones.

    PS ning: Another manga lover, welcome to the club. You make a solid point, although in shonen, the female characters are as often damsels in distress as anything else, even if they are stronger then average-Joe (Full Metal Panic (Kaname Chidori) and Full Metal Alchemist (Winry Rockbell) being obvious examples of the latter).

    PPS then again, some of my favourite manga heroes are female; Saya (Blood+), Clare (Claymore)
     
  6. Jade
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    Jade Active Member

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    Apart from what everyone else has suggested, you could try watching films/read books with some butt kicking females.

    I have the same problem, only reversed. Both of my main characters are male.

    I don't think you need to know the ins and outs of the opposite genders mind, only how they would react in a situation which tbh I doubt is much different based on gender (only personality). For example a feisty female and a gutsy guy would both fight back if someone started a fight with them, just like peaceable characters of both genders would try to avoid a confrontation.

    Like Cogito said, you should observe others and note the differences to how they act in a certain situation. Although don't go starting fights :p
     
  7. Little Miss Edi
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    Little Miss Edi Contributing Member

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    Here's a question (not really a very useful one but, bear with me) how would you know if you sounded believable or not? You'd have to write it, then ask a few of your female friends whether they thought it was believable - but you've still got to write it.

    I usually write from the perspective of my male MCs then switch so that the females are the dominant voice. This gives me an opportunity to explore how they are on the 'outside' rather then always from the 'inside'.

    Perhaps it's worth going for it and seeing what happens. Jade's example is right; plus girls and guys don't really think all the different when it comes to crunch time (eg. The wall is falling onto your MC - both males and females would probably think 'oh f&^$' :D )
     
  8. JGraham
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    JGraham Senior Member

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    Thanks to all who responded and i will try these techniques furthermore, i do not believe the characters myself, they seem too contrived and too sterotypical. I do not want the women in my stories to be only one sided and i really cant ask my female friends about it, mainly because i don't really have any. I work with a some girls but i wouldn't dare ask their opinion on this, lol. Perhaps i will just have to work on it a bit and read some books that have female main characters like u guys said. I will try to observe and talk to them, but i just feel that i can not grasp their perspective well enough to make the character full. But i suppose i should give it a good effort and maybe i will post some stuff on here to see if it is good enough. Thanks again.
     
  9. Palimpsest
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    Palimpsest Senior Member

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    I've read the new "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" type of neurological and behavioral studies... how a feminine brain-wiring tends to make a faster recovery from stroke because of the connections between hemispheres allow them to learn languages more quickly but making it difficult to tell between left and right, while a masculine brain-wiring tends to grant far more acute spatial reasoning skills but less concern with social subtleties. Things like that.

    Perhaps I just grew up in the wrong end of every bell curve, but I've met men who mutter thoughts aloud and women who isolate themselves when they're troubled, and boys who gossip with rapturous viciousness about other people and girls with a crudely-expressed obsession with sex. Not as a conscious rebellion against gender stereotypes, either, but just the way these individuals are.
    So, I'd say that in practice, actually... Men are from Earth, Women are from Earth. :p Or like others have said-- people are people.
     
  10. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    Nah. You don't have to know everything about how the female works to write about them. There are females that act like males and vice-versa. The only thing you have to concentrate on are the staples of the gender.
     
  11. ning
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    ning Member

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    you can also let a female be totally feminine and be the sterotypical kind of girl/woman, but at the same time possess the neccessary qualities to take on the responsibities if needed.

    i have read many stories of people like that. i dont really know much about the western culture, since i have stopped reading their kind of books for quite some time. but i can think of one example: if you read harry potter you would have known that herminone granger is one very good example. she is feminine, and have all the sterotypical characteristics of a woman - talks a lot, gets jealous, cry...etc. yet when the time comes she can make wise decisions and risk her life with her best friend harry potter. well i hope that helps.

    lol you forgot, that in the stories you listed there are female heroes who are much better than males too. for example in FMA we have izumi curtis? she raided a military camp alone when she was looking for food (if you continue reading the manga). FMP we have testarossa, captain of a submarine.
     
  12. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    check out the snippets of the novel I've been posting in my blog...most of my characters are women...might give you an idea how to work with it. Most of te time, I just create a personality and let it be male or female, especially since I don't try to get into romance and sex...will eventually have to do it, but by then I'll have the character's firmly established so their patterns will be expected and considered normal.
     
  13. JGraham
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    JGraham Senior Member

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    All right thanks, i will do that. Thanks again all.
     
  14. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Go to live journal and read female journal entries, one where they share their personal thoughts.
     

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