I'm wanting to know how to make sure my female characters are non-stereotypical as possible, or if that's even a huge problem with diversified characters (are some stereotypes acceptable?). I try to write all my characters, male and female, as simply human beings, nothing more or less. That being said, I still have doubts about my ability here to portray women as such, mainly because I am a man. This should not hinder me, except that I doubt myself, on many things, not just this either, but that's another story. Anyway, I would truly appreciate some pointers if anyone would be so kind. Anything helps. Just need some tips on making sure women are portrayed properly and don't seem to be cliche or serving some agenda. I just want people in my story. Okay, for some background information, and a little bit about some characters that I have developed for those who care to give their opinion on them. They may be too stereotypical (or not, maybe, since I'm not really sure). This isn't as important as my main question, and it's slightly long I guess so I'm putting it in spoilers for those who don't care to read it. Spoiler: Characters that are currently developed in the story. The book I'm writing is fantasy, and there's two kingdoms in the known world with very opposite social and political structures. The primary kingdom where most of the protagonists are from is ruled by a queen, and the capital city and surrounding towns are slightly more progressive than the rest of the country. Men and women are equals. Further out it gets somewhat less so, not drastically, but some of the people are a bit more resistant to having women in positions of power. In either country, men and women are both allowed in the military, and the armies are made up of both genders. There's also diversity in both genders, and it's not like everyone is in the military, haha. In the "good" nation (not there is one, really), but the one this story is focused around has a female character who is the captain of the guard for one of the major cities. This city though is one that's also less accepting to females in power, so she changed her name slightly to have a more masculine ending. Anyway, her half brother didn't realise it was her in charge since they haven't spoken in a long time, and he discovers this when meeting her. He teases her over the decision a bit, but she explains it raises less eyebrows on paper that way, less chance of someone having a big to-do about it. Also, there's two more characters who are cousins of the Knight Commander, and are knights themselves. They generally fight alongside him. I've described them as having a soft complexion and ebony skin that's darker than their cousin's, and that they're fashion aficionados, which was hard to tell under their chainmail at their introduction. I have some more female characters to introduce, but this is all I have atm.