1. Mark_Archibald
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    Mark_Archibald Active Member

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    How do I write a good female character?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Mark_Archibald, Jan 16, 2012.

    I have a girl character that I'm writing and there's nothing interesting about her. She looks like a typical, middle aged person from Walmart and I'm having trouble adding depth to her.

    I think she'll just turn out as a tomboy if I keep writing the way I am.

    Can you think of any books that have a well defined feminine character?
     
  2. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    Make her a strong, independent woman who has interesting tastes. Maker her exotic with her interests, a special character.
     
  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Jane Eyre.
     
  4. bumblebot
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    bumblebot Senior Member

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    How do you add depth to your other characters, what makes a good character in general? A well-defined history? Thought-out and authentic likes/dislikes, hobbies, phobias, aspirations and fears? The ability to make the audience empathize with them?

    The techniques you use to build a strong male character are equally applicable to building a strong female character.
     
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  5. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've head difficulties with creating a strong female character too. For some reason, so much of the storytelling focuses on the "hero" and even though roughly all that should translate to a female protagonist, it doesn't. Not quite.
    For some reason, I found a lot more strong female characters that I liked in the movies than in the books.
     
  6. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    The Bronte sisters have that locked down.

    I'd suggest investigating what it is that compels you to tell this woman's story in the first place.
     
  7. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I love Rachel Vincent's female protag in the werecat series. I like female protags who are strong, independent, etc. rather than obsessed with finding Mr. Right and making babies. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with women who are like that, but I'm so sick of seeing that stereotype used All The Time in movies, TV, etc.

    I'd say that, no matter what the gender of the writer or character is, if you're focusing too much on gender then you're doing it wrong. Think of the individual character as a person, and as the role they play in the story. Don't focus on "male" or "female" excessively or you're more likely to come up with trite stereotypes.
     
  8. TheWritingWriter
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    TheWritingWriter Senior Member

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    Well, firstly let me say that "good" comes with opinions attached. For instance, Fullmetal Xeno suggested, "Make her a strong, independent woman who has interesting tastes. Maker her exotic with her interests, a special character," whereas I've seen that several times & I think it's rather overdone. And for me, when something is overdone, that doesn't make it bad in my eyes necessarily, just not good. I make this point because what people suggest, you may find either a magnificent idea or a terrible idea. Luckily, various choices are a good thing. Variety is always good, in my humble opinion.

    In a story, hopefully your characters go through character development. As they develop, they grow. You start off with one character, and end up with a grown, different, developed character. So my advice? Just write. Start off with a boring character perhaps, and just let her grow into a different character, and she just becomes interesting more along. Or, you can write traits on different shreds of paper, and draw from a hat. It can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be.
     
  9. cari_za
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    cari_za Member

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    Ah, characters are not my strong point, but I'll attempt to add to the discussion; Try thinking "what would make me take notice of someone?"

    There's this scene in "Autumn in new york" where Charlotte asks Bill about her mother and Bill says "She ate ice cream with a fork." Such a minute detail made her seem interesting.

    Also make your character confrontational, or make other characters confront her.

    Anyway, so yeah, not sure if that helps :p It's just how I'd try add dimension to a character. Give them a characteristic that's different then put them in a situation where the characteristic is noticed by other characters who react to the characteristic. If I had just gone, Sarah Smith is an interesting character because she only buys blue things, it would kind of loose it's impact.
     
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  10. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    I was immediately thinking of this:
     
  11. cari_za
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    cari_za Member

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    Haha, awesome movie. Classic quote.
     
  12. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    She can be an average person at first glance, someone no one takes notice of but she needs to have characteristics that make her stand out once the reader gets to know her. The difference between writing a flat character and a character that is alive and jumps off the page is the amount of time the author spends getting to know the character.
     

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