Tags:
  1. CrimsonWolf
    Offline

    CrimsonWolf Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2008
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia

    Writing a female protagonist...

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by CrimsonWolf, Aug 14, 2008.

    I've done it a few times, but always feel that my female leads are lacking compared to my male ones. I suppose that's expected seen i'm a guy, but I wonder if anyone had any tips out there on how to write a good female protagonist? For the most part, my lead characters are usually pretty young, ranging 16-30 or so.

    So if anyone could give me some tips on just some bits I can add to writing to improve a female character, that would be great. Particularly any subtleties people would not normally consider, such as a view females are more likely to take or a more common habit.
     
  2. Ore-Sama
    Offline

    Ore-Sama Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2008
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    2
    You can't write a character like "Okay, I have to give them these traits because they're(insert gender/race/creed/etc.) I write a female character without even thinking about how a "female" should act and I haven't gotten any complaints of female charactes not acting female enough.

    Don't think about it so much. There's no gender defined personality, you can find almost any personality trait applied to someone of either gender. So my advice:just write the character and don't think so much about it.
     
  3. captain kate
    Offline

    captain kate Active Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2008
    Messages:
    876
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Cruising through space.
    I agree, you write the character as the character, you just need to add a few female traits to be ok.
     
  4. DarkMaiden273
    Offline

    DarkMaiden273 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Dancing under the moon.
    Ok um this might not really be a tip or advice but I'm a female and I usually end up writing female leads in my book so I have the opposite problem of you. But I agree with captain kate. I also take experience from people I know, like my family and friends. Yes I know there are some things girls do more than guys-am reminded everyday, but you just have to make the character real. If you write her as a whiny nagging girl then your going to get some negative feedback but-and I know i'm goign to be in trouble for this-some girls are more whiny or nagging than men, but dont make it unbelievable. Most girls are stubborn, talkative and sassy. Or are shy, quiet and a follower. Though I guess that's being harsh as you can catorgorize anything like that. Anyway guess I didnt really help so sorry.
     
  5. inkslinger
    Offline

    inkslinger Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Messages:
    403
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Las Vegas / Phoenix
    I agree that you shouldn't think about it too much, otherwise you're going to spend a lot of time questioning your character. Male, female, it's a person, so just go with how that person would react. Every character is different, and so long as you're playing true to the personality meant for that character, then the gender of the character should just go without saying.

    I used to have the same problem whenever I had a main character that was a male, but I just learned to get over paying so much attention to whether or not I was writing a guy character "correctly".
     
  6. Jessicalove08
    Offline

    Jessicalove08 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well here's a bit of advice, pretend for a moment, you're a young girl and try to imagine what kind of things happen to a young girl. I'd recommend watching some young adult movies or simply known as teen flicks. Now I'd recommend watching Read It and Weep, as well as a few titles. You don't have to watch these movies, just giving you some ideas to help. If you're not willing to watch a movie about young females then I'd recommend reading Keeping You A Secret by Julie Anne Peters or some of the Twilight series for that matter. Anyway, when I want to write about a young female it comes naturally because I ask what questions such as what can possibly go wrong and what are the effects of each action. Hope that helped a little.
     
  7. TheFedoraPirate
    Offline

    TheFedoraPirate Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    205
    Likes Received:
    1
    Quoted for truth.

    I used to have problems with my female leads as well. I'd write from the perspective "they are female so they must be <stereotype>". Which of course lead to flat, stereotypical characters. When I started writing from the view that "a character is a character no need to limit the way I write them over chromosome specifics" the women I wrote became much more dynamic and entertaining for me to write.
     
  8. Marcelo
    Offline

    Marcelo Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Messages:
    841
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Sonora, Mexico
    I think you have read many books. In most books, there are female characters, so from there you might get an idea (I suggest character-driven stories).
     
  9. Charisma
    Offline

    Charisma Transposon Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Messages:
    2,704
    Likes Received:
    142
    Location:
    Lahore, Pakistan
    Funny, I'm a female and tend to have male protagonists in my story. I don't notice it myself, just when someone reads it they're like: 'You don't have to ashamed of being a female'. I laugh, realizing that half my stories (or more) have male leads and female counterparts with a lesser role. It's not because I'm ashamed of being a woman, it's just because I'm a rather critical person. I am a gender critic, you can say, I read books which help me understand the two genders better (and be, a better critic :p). Being a critic of gender, I find myself any protagonist that suits the situation and play with him or her - it doesn't matter to me if it's a man or woman, because I don't believe either is perfect. I manipulate both to my advantage, and find no reason to find either a hard play. And of course - as others have suggested, you character is not based off gender, but off a personality. That is very important.
     
  10. tehuti88
    Offline

    tehuti88 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2008
    Messages:
    642
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Michigan
    I'm female and write mostly male leads. The strange thing is, this is because most of my female characters would end up being quite wimpy and dull. I think I'm getting over this now that I have a strong female lead who I enjoy writing.

    If you ask for what it means to be female so you can write a female character, you're going to get either a bunch of individualized traits which can't be generalized to every woman, or you're going to get a bunch of generalizations which also don't fit every woman. The key is what everyone else has already mentioned--just put yourself in your female character's head, and have her act like HERSELF. Not like a man, not like a woman, but like an individual character who just happens to be female.

    While some generalizations can be made about females versus males, they don't tend to translate well into fictional writing without sounding stereotyped. Just write your character as herself, whatever that happens to be, and she should turn out fine.
     
  11. ParanormalWriter
    Offline

    ParanormalWriter Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Messages:
    217
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    USA
    Imagining yourself in the shoes of a character is a good way to get a feel for him/her. Having said that, I realize its hard to imagine yourself in shoes you've never worn. A general thing I notice when men write about women is that they tend to make them a certain modern sterotype. An extremely hot, kick-butt, masculine sort of woman, with little weakness or emotion. I realize they're trying to avoid the old fashioned idea of a woman being weak and helpless, but the opposite extreme is almost as annoying and hard to believe. Isn't there some middle ground. A woman who is strong over all, but can still have moments of weakness?

    I'll pull up the great, lamented Robert Jordan (as I often do) for my example. His female characters (although Morraine was cool) were mostly shrews who hated men and walked all over everybody, while bickering with one another all the time. (They also spent an unrealistic amount of time topless together; another common misconception of men. ;) I don't know too many women who sit around chatting, naked all the time).

    It bugs me that most fictional women these days are portrayed as gorgeous, mean, and big mouthed. There are perfectly nice ladies out there who can be brave, intelligent, and a little sassy once in awhile but aren't totally bossy and arrogant. I'd like to hear from them once in awhile.
     
  12. TwinPanther13
    Offline

    TwinPanther13 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2008
    Messages:
    407
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Dallas
    Me I try to portray my characters as average. So i have a female lead I am working with that is a tough chick that kicks but and takes names.

    I would have just have to say you should just write your chracter and let people know shes female. Women and men come in all personality types and in my opinion for every male personality there is a matching female personality. Heck women out number men by about 20,000 world wide. so there may be more variations in there personality types
     

Share This Page