1. Thomas Mayo
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    Thomas Mayo New Member

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    Female character tropes - am I doomed?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Thomas Mayo, Nov 25, 2015.

    Hi all,

    So, I've just rewritten from scratch a story I half-wrote when I was 15. I changed a lot, but two things that stayed similar are 2/3 of the big female characters.

    One is a nigh-silent badass, who takes no shit and is very cold. She's not a bad person; think good guy assassin.

    The other is a character I'm very happy with - sweary, grumpy teen shown via flashback portions, who the male lead is in unrequited love with. It's initially suggested that she was killed along male lead's other friends; while this turns out not to be true (she's instead comatose in his care), the pain of it is part of his motivation.

    So I'm worried I've ended up with generic female badass, and generic 'woman in fridge' (google it if necessary, but it's the trope of using a woman's trauma to motivate a male character - generally killing them, which is how it will seem for 2/3 of the book).

    Am I doomed? Are these things as bad as they seem to me right now? These elements are pretty core to the book - barely possible to rewrite, unless someone somehow has a miracle idea. Help!

    p.s. The 3/3 female character is a Palestinian ghost from 1900 who lives on in a world made of her memories, who is scared and selfish but good when she feels she has the choice - I'm happy with her.
     
  2. jmh105
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    jmh105 Member

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    Do you think you could describe your book's plot and/or your characters' roles in them? Perhaps if we can take a look at their places in the story, it would be easier to evaluate.
     
  3. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe the second woman did something before falling into a coma, something which most of the characters aren't aware of at first but which they learn about later, put to use, and which eventually proves crucial to the protagonists' final victory? That could make her a more proactive part of the book's events without requiring she be physically present for the book itself.
     
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  4. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    It all comes down to what you think distinguishes the characters and how that plays out in your writing.

    Take your character #1. In your mind, is she distinctive because she is a woman who is also a strong, silent type? Or is she more distinguished by something deeper in her personality (an interesting moral code, a worldview of valuing practice over theory, an adaptation to a rough life, etc.), and that something comes out as taking no shit and being very cold?

    Regardless, your character #3 -- a ghost who lives in a world of her own memories -- sounds fascinating.
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Tropes are OK if you do them right.
     
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  6. nippy818
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    nippy818 Active Member

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    In my first novel my MCs love interest is written as i would write a male character. She has her tender moments when its a appropriate but in the field and when the time comes she does what is needed. In the second book, the MCs daughter is the teenager trope. I think if it works for the story go with it.
     
  7. Sphinx
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    Sphinx New Member

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    You can try to avoid every trope that's ever been mentioned and you can succeed,
    but doing so would make the story feel kind of unnatural if it's just for the sake of avoiding tropes.
    Real life contains "tropes" inevitably as well, life isn't perfect and neither are we.
     
  8. NeighborVoid
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    NeighborVoid Active Member

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    What you can get away with in terms of tropes somewhat depends on the context of the world in which the character resides. If a trope is justified, it may work extremely well. There's a reason why certain plot elements are used often enough to be classified as tropes.
     
  9. Thomas Mayo
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    Thomas Mayo New Member

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    Wow - thanks everyone for your replies. You've spurred me to push on; I'll be tweaking the discussed characters, but not giving up.
     
  10. Thomas Mayo
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    Thomas Mayo New Member

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    In fact, she features heavily throughout - you find out she's supposedly dead about 1/10 of the way through, but the flashbacks leading up to that continue for the rest of the book, until, about 9/10 of the way in, you find out what happened, and that she survived.

    I think I need to rework the end to make her more proactive - she errs on the side of 'damsel' a bit...
     
  11. Tom13
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    Tom13 Member

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    As other people have said, tropes are not in and of themselves a bad thing, they have developed as tropes for a reason after all. If you are just including them with out thinking about it, then maybe you should think about it. But if they are right for the part and you are thinking of changing them just so they are not tropes, don't do it.
     
  12. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sounds good! If she's proactive enough in the flashbacks, you probably won't need to worry about the ending of the story itself.
     

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