1. TwinPanther13
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    TwinPanther13 Contributing Member

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    What makes a strong woman

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by TwinPanther13, Aug 7, 2008.

    Ok, I want to write a character of a woman for another story I have. Strangely enough this one is forming in my head and not looking Sci-Fi at all. I know thats strange.

    My problem is that I know I can write a strong damsel in distress. My problem is trying to write a woman who has special forces training.

    Another problem is male and female fights. Not being a pig but i want it to be somewhat realistic. In sci-fi I understand how one man or woman can fight 10. I can not see however how one woman can fight to males.

    I have seen girls be the mess out of guys one on one. I personally have fought two men and won. I am not trying to write Michelle Yeoh into my story just trying to see if everyone else thinks a woman could fight two men solo and win.

    The woman will not be small, I plan her to be about 6' 3". I have met a woman who could leg press 600 lbs so I will do that physically as well. How much should her bench be as a frame of reference.

    Also what would be considered strong as far as mental and spiritual? I want her to have a flaw like drinkning and maybe getting high. But I also want her to be promiscuous without being slutty. How do i do this, is it possible.

    She was raised by her father who never remarried and always wanted a son. He is former military special forces and after her mom died her dad never remarried just had "friends". That is how i explain her behavior in a nutshell. She was raised by her father and she acts like him.

    I want to know if this is cliche. Am I writting a strong character or a lousy woman. I would also love to know what a woman considers to be strength of character.

    Ok that is enough get at me.
     
  2. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    So let me get this straight. You want a woman who is bigger, stronger, and probably faster than the guys. This is to be someone who can beat anyone up one on one and probably take on groups. You want her to be tougher than the guys mentally, able to outdrink and outsmoke them. On top of that she has to sleep around and still manage to not be a whore? You do know that you'll end up marrying someone just like the people you write, right? ;)
     
  3. Ore-Sama
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    Ore-Sama Senior Member

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    Yes it's quite possible for a women to beat two men if the women has the skills. It really depends on the people and the situation. Just the slightest bit of luck can change a whole fight, or even a simple manuver like scrtaching someone's eyes out could end a fight or begin someone's downfal.
     
  4. TwinPanther13
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    TwinPanther13 Contributing Member

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    Although that almost sounds like my dream girl. lol. I want her to be vulnerable still, just tough. I want her to have a chip on her shoulder and still look like a lady. In my mind I see Layla Ali, married and has kids but still tough.

    I think I realize what I am looking for now. LOL
     
  5. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Martial arts are generally classified as "hard style" or "soft style", the difference being how they deal with the force delivered by an opponent.

    For example, Tae Kwon Do is a very hard style art. Practitioners deliver powerful direct strikes/kicks while blocking the opponent's force using high impact blocking.

    On the other hand, Wing Chun Kung Fu or combative Tai Chi redirects an opponent's forceful blows using very gentle trapping/redirection techniques. Then, taking advantage of the opponent's momentum, the soft style practitioner will gain control of the attacker's balance and deliver crippling precision strikes to vital targets (finger strike to the eyes, penetrating blow through abdominal tissue into the liver, pressure on the side of the knee joint causing dislocation, etc.) One very famous Wing Chun Grandmaster by the name of Yip Man was physically very small, yet he dominated in combative exchanges with people much larger. And, this particular system was storied to have been invented by a young woman named Yim Wing Chun.

    So, your woman protagonist can be young, beautiful, slight of build and still defeat much larger opponents in real life combat. As far as her sexual behavior, that has nothing to do with her martial arts...tramp, nun or housewife with two kids, they can all fight the same!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Wing_Chun

    BTW - my oldest daughter studied Wing Chun for 6 years. She's only 5' 4" and weighed about 118 pounds at 4 months pregnant when she was attacked in a restaurant by a guy over 200 pounds. She put her attacker in the hosiptal.
     
  6. zorell
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    zorell Contributing Member

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    I have no clue about the fighting per se, but I can help with the other stuff.

    -you want vulnerablilty? Hurt the underdog, that always pisses a girl off.
    -so she's not slutty, but she's not exactly prudish? Then she likes having choices. Give her a real reason to sleep with someone, maybe she's attracted to him, maybe she's just abit bored. Give her a reason and keep it clear that she's choosing this, not letting it choose her.
    -as for spiritual and mental strength? Curb her impulsiveness and allow her to truly observe her situations, that way she'll be able to act knowledgably and use what she knows

    I can help more if you have any other specific questions.
     
  7. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    IF you want to see a fictional character that does what you're looking for, without having to be a huge hulk of a woman, Check out Susan Ivanova on babylon 5...claudia christian isn't that tall, but the character shows the a woman can more then hold her own with the right training, and the right mindset.





     
  8. Gone Wishing
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    Gone Wishing Contributing Member

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    Oh - the stories I could tell you about my Tai Chi Grandmaster, lol!

    Both those styles are great choices for female practitioners - because, as NaCl said, they use their opponent's force against them. It's also worth mentioning that Tai Chi - as with many martial arts - also has sword forms, practiced with a gim or jian - Chinese straight-sword.

    The practicalities of fighting techniques aside, zorrell has made some excellent points regarding your wish for your character to have a strong sexuality without seeming 'slutty' and I second them. If her actions are the result of clear choices, clear motivations and without being manipulated to make these choices, then I'd say you have the makings of a strong female character. The thing is, you don't necessarily have to agree with a character's way of thinking to be able to appreciate and respect the strength of their convictions, so keep that in mind too.
     
  9. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Gone Wishing is right . . . but if you truly want your female MC to be authentic in the martial arts, you need to do some homework or select a couple of "mentors" to guide you through writing combative scenes involving those skills. For example, Tai Chi employs several weapons (sword, sabre, spear, fan and pole) - each requiring exhaustive hours of training. Wing Chun King Fu employs "Butterfly Swords" that are quite lethal. Wing Chun also uses a 6' staff (Dragon Pole) for fighting at a distance - it was originally employed to remove warriors from horseback and it was adopted as a favorite tool by Shaolin monks as it looked like a simple walking staff, yet in reality it was a powerful weapon.

    This youtube video shows both the Wing Chun staff and Butterfly Swords in demonstration. As you can see, the short swords are easily used to "walk up" the staff (which could also be a spear), gaining access to the attacker's hands and body.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c70nGy5O77U

    If your female character has these kinds of fighting skills, she can easily handle any combative situation.

    I can't help you with the touchy-feely crap, I'm just a gnarly old guy. LOL
     
  10. TwinPanther13
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    TwinPanther13 Contributing Member

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    My problem is When I used to fight it was Tae Kwon Do, Kick Boxing, Wrestling, and Boking, along with some MMA moves. I want her to learn everything from her father, but would it make since for a woman to use that.
     
  11. EyezForYou
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    A woman who can see her flaws, and knows how to overcome it.
     
  12. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    In the most sacred tradition of the soft style martial arts, the secrets of each form were only passed down from father to son. However, what if a man had such a secret, but only sired daughters?

    In Wing Chun Kung Fu, the story goes that a village bully demanded the hand in marriage of a young girl named Yim Wing Chun. The girl loved another man and was distraught at the arranged marriage, but her father was helpless against the strength of the bully. He engaged the service of Ng Mui (pronounced "ing moy"), a Shaolin nun and one of the Five Elders who escaped from the burning of the temple by the oppressive Manchus. Ng Mui taught the girl the secrets of her art and the bully agreed to a fight with the lowly girl for her hand in marriage. Using Ng Mui's king fu, Yim Wing Chun defeated the man and he fled the village in shame. She went on to marry her true love and evolved the fighting system after watching a crane fight a snake. She taught her personalized fighting system to her husband who named the system after her, Wing Chun Kung Fu. He shared it with merchants of the "Red Boats" and from there it spread into several lineages.

    All these old Chinese stories from hundreds of years ago were passed down by word of mouth and there is nothing to corroborate their authenticity, but they do make for some great reading! You could easily incorporate this unwritten theme (or some obvious variant) as precedent for the father/daughter connection in a modern day novel.

    BTW - I co-owned a Wing Chun martial arts school for 10 years during the 90's.
     
  13. Ungood
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    Ok. Wow so much asked.

    Women can be women and be big and strong. Like Female body builders are women, sexy and curvy but also very well built and can be highly intimidating.

    Now. As for bench press, Roughly 275 - 300 would be around the max you want to play with for a woman. It could go higher. Look at Olympic power lifting records.

    As for a woman beating to men. Oh heck yah.

    Guys are just as easy to beat. Hit vital or weak areas and they go down. Not to mention facing a 6'4 woman who is well muscled has an intimidation factor.

    Now as for sex. She is not a slut if she is in control of the situation. IE: She asks them. If she is the aggressor, she is not a slut. She has something she likes, either blond hair, or something. She likes that and she wants that kind of man. She is not just looking sex with anyone, she has taste.

    That is the line cutter. She picks and she chooses. It is not just "Oh him lets screw" it's "You... Me... I am gonna enjoy this...." (Imagine that said in a deep husky tone) makes her in charge, and "In charge" women are Beouches, not sluts.
     
  14. TwinPanther13
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    TwinPanther13 Contributing Member

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    NaCL You rock man. 10 years with Wing Chun that is very cool. I was thinking that I could use that. I have this image in my mind of having her fight the man she loves only he loves her to. I know I am weird but its gonna be like Romeo vs. Juliet.

    So when she is getting beat down in astraight up brawl she turns to that last trick Wing Chun, would that mix well with Capoeira
     
  15. Talako
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    Talako Member

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    I doubt it. I looked up a little bit on Wing Chun. It appears to be about effciency of movement.

    Capoeira with its dance and constant movement seems to be an opposite style.
     
  16. TwinPanther13
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    TwinPanther13 Contributing Member

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    Krav Maga will work well with Wing Chun. I believe that will make her the ultimate Butt kicker
     
  17. Gone Wishing
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    Gone Wishing Contributing Member

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    Well, thar's your problem!

    o_O Since when is strength of character touchy-feely crap? lol - Surely a man knows what impresses him about a woman? :p
     
  18. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    MOTORCYCLES!
     
  19. Gone Wishing
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    Oh... and I should add... Even if you're planning to write this story as an historical Chinese novel, learning fighting techniques from her father is a believeable enough scenario for your character, given the right circumstances - exceptions to rules have always been the basis of good stories, and even if she were not taught the 'secrets', she could discover her own through some set of exciting circumstances... ;)
     
  20. Talako
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    Talako Member

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    A woman that can kill her own spiders. That impresses me.
     
  21. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Talako is correct. Efficiency is a critical theme in all soft-styles. Also, power is drawn out of one's stance and all movements are trained to the point that they are reflexive. That means her kung fu would automatically react to the level of threat. It would not be a conscious change in action. You could begin a conflict at a low level of "threat", so that her responses are conscious and reflect the minor nature of attack. Then, as the level of danger passes some arbitrary point, her kung fu becomes automatic . . . and lethal.

    Now do you see why a relationship with a consultant is needed while you write the combative scenes? I would suggest you find a female practitioner like Gone Wishing so you can get a uniquely female perspective.
     
  22. TwinPanther13
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    TwinPanther13 Contributing Member

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    Nah, it is a modern day urban drama. Very dangerous girl dosen't like people, falls in love with boy, breaks boys heart, losses herself, finds herself, confesses love to boy while pregnant, boy says he feels the same but is married to a gold digger boy goes rouge, endangers mutual friends and girl has to put him in check fataly hard.

    See a very sweet story. ;)
     
  23. inkslinger
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    inkslinger Contributing Member

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    For me, what makes a woman strong is how she handles herself, her life, and her situations in life. I mean, there are many different kinds of strength. It's not all just physical strength.

    About the female character being too physically strong, though, I've been through that problem. You don't want to make it seem too unrealistic, to the point where it's worthy of an eyeroll from the reader. I think woman who is a decently skilled fighter can take on two men. In terms of a fight, a lot of OTHER factors play into it, not just physical strength. So that's believeable. But when it's like a single woman taking out several men at once it gets ridiculous, imo.
     
  24. Gone Wishing
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    Gone Wishing Contributing Member

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    Just one more thing I'd like to add re: the fighting issue...

    River - Serenity. Watch the scene where she takes out all the reavers ;) Good stuff.
     
  25. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    I think you should check this small section I posted just to show one such special forcs trick you can use...
    http://www.writingforums.org/showthread.php?t=9992&page=5

    i've edited the scene for the website, but the actual trick Kate does is REAL and it's something the technical advisor I have, who is former special forces, has used.
    Just think things that are quiet and don't give your position away too.
     

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