1. Fantasy27

    Fantasy27 New Member

    Jan 5, 2013
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    Creation of characters

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Fantasy27, Jan 5, 2013.

    Hi there,

    I'm new to the site and I hope I am posting this in the right section. I've had an idea in my head for as long as I can remember and the central character/protaganist I have always envisioned as high born skilled swordsperson, (I'm toying with medieval - Elizabethan England type setting) who just so happens to be a woman. When I've conceived the character in my head, my own life is a influence - I love swordfighting and do fencing as a hobby as well as learning stage combat. However, my concern is that although I wish for the character to be strong I want to do it in a way that is believable, but I'm aware of traps that can be fallen into and I think that in my earlier imaginings I may have done so. For example I always thought of them as a female first and a character second. I'm just looking for some advice really on how to write strong protaganist who happens to be female and can use swords.

    The sorts of characters that I think of when trying to develop this charcater are as follows:

    Eowyn -Lord of the Rings
    Arya Stark - Game of Thrones / Song of Ice and Fire
    Snow White - From the TV Series Once Upon a Time and perhaps to an extent Snow White and the Huntsman (although I was disappointed with the latter to an extent)
    Female human noble origin (as a warrior) in the RPG Dragon Age Origins

    Thank you
  2. psychotick

    psychotick Contributor Contributor

    Feb 10, 2011
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    Rotorua, New Zealand

    Welcome to the forum.

    How to make a woman swordsman realistic? Try playing to her natural strengths and weaknesses. The main disadvantage women have in combat is strength, so start by giving her a lighter blade and then altering her fighting style to suit it. So she has to be faster and more accurate than her male opponents, and nimbler on her feet. Also maybe she doesn't engage in parts of the fight that aren't to her advantage. For example with a lighter blade, parrying a heavier one say a broadsword would be a mistake. For her fighting style maybe she rolls / twists aside instead.

    Then of course emphasise her long years of training with the swordmasters. Training is a great way of making a poor fighter a great one and it would become far more believable that she is able to defeat strong male opponents if she has been trained to do so.

    Then you could make sure to throw in something about her intelligence, such that she is able during a fight to know how an opponent is going to strike simply from the position of his arm and his body posture. And she can lure opponents into traps, causing them perhaps to overreach themselves or get out of position so she can strike.

    With all of these things it would be believable for her to be able to defeat most male opponents.

    Cheers, Greg.
  3. Talmay

    Talmay Member

    Jan 4, 2013
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    Here is your biggest problem, I think.

    Female characters shouldn't be thought of as female, they should be thought of as people. Just because she's a girl shouldn't impact the character you want to write: if she's strong and manly, go for it. If she's dedicated and feminine, go for it. Think about the traits you associate with "strong" (be it physical or mental) and incorporate them. Then decide on her background fitting with that criteria, and keep in mind the excellent points psychotick brought up.
  4. evelon

    evelon Active Member

    Aug 26, 2009
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    And though females are not as physically powerful as men in real life (normally at least - there's always the exception) I think that readers are willing to suspend belief if it's not too way out. And the skill, I would have thought is to make the female look competent, strong and capable of beating a male oponent (is that right? My spelling gene has given up tonight!) while not losing her femininity. That's why Angelina Jolie wears tight leather trousers.
    Speaking as a woman - I love to see us getting our dues and speaking for my husband - he loves to see - well Angelina Jolie in a pair of tight pants.
  5. mg357

    mg357 Active Member

    Dec 3, 2012
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    Welcome to the forum and good luck with your story.

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