Female Characters

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
User avatar
Mira
Posts: 1354
Joined: December 7th, 2009, 9:59 am
Contact:

Re: Female Characters

Post by Mira » June 9th, 2011, 12:55 pm

Oh, children's books? Yeah, I didn't see that part.

Hmmm.... You know, Nathan just wrote a pretty complicated female character in Jacob Wonderbar. You might check it out.

Watcher55, I agree, for kid's books, you want quirky. You could pick something small and make it emotional: like, your character hates watermelons. Then build on that. Even something that subtle will lead to hidden depths.

Chantelle.S.
Posts: 76
Joined: April 5th, 2011, 7:22 pm
Contact:

Re: Female Characters

Post by Chantelle.S. » June 9th, 2011, 5:43 pm

mudpuppy wrote:Well, what flaws would some of you suggest for a character in general? My book is for children so nothing too inappropriate.
Well since it's for children, you would want to send the right message, or give them a life lesson within the characters. Off the top of my head I can suggest:
A character who always has sweets/treats in their pockets and are constantly walking around eating them - which would give them the flaw of yucky yellow teeth, and a sugar rush, so it would make their personality hyper.

.....
That's all I got. I've never written for children before but I'd do something like that if I wanted to teach my kids too much sweet stuff is bad for you. So maybe what you could try to do is think of things you'd like to teach kids, eg. doing the right thing is not always the easiest thing to do, so you can have a character who is very selfish but who has something that will benefit everyone else, and you can exploit that character a little either via another strong-willed character lecturing them, or by having that character get into trouble and then being helped out by another character that they'd been nasty to before.
I mean there's a lot you can do to give a character depth. In essence, they are part of you, so you could even give them some flaws that you notice in yourself, or that you've noticed in the people around you. Just remember to always give your character a redeeming quality aside from their flaws, unless it's the 'bad guy'.

I'm not sure exactly what age group you're writing for, but if it helps you could always draft up a biography/profile for your less developed characters. You can put in anything you want then, from their favourite colour (and why that colour?) to their best cherished memories, to their fetishes and their fears. You could even have an interview with them and ask them what THEY think about the roles they have to play in the story. It sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but it's fun and it will help you out in the long run because you're basically dissecting the anatomy of your character, to get a real sense of who they are.
"Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s." -Stephen King

http://smithee24.blogspot.com/
http://www.fanfiction.net/u/1570694/Clairavance

User avatar
Leonidas
Posts: 99
Joined: July 30th, 2010, 11:35 am
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Contact:

Re: Female Characters

Post by Leonidas » June 9th, 2011, 8:49 pm

Watcher55 wrote:Everything y'all are saying is true, and I can't argue with any of it except to say that when it comes to children's books (see mudpuppy's post at the top of this page) the parameters are a little different. You do want quirky, you do want repetition even as high as MG (Harry Potter). Even then, I do agree that quirks are texture and not the dominant structure, but it's as good a place as any to start or at least it's an element that bears exploring.

Edit: role playing is good, but I try to go to places I'm not likely to be recognized if it requires "being" someone I'd never want to be.
If anyone ever wants to try roleplaying somewhere, the best site I've ever found is easily Twilight-Sky. The members there are (mostly) incredible writers, and my own writing has improved exponentially since I joined the site two years ago.

More on topic, though, is that I agree with everything said above. Being a full-out b*tch might not be appropriate for a character in children's literature, but it's good practice to make characters for every genre, no matter the one you're writing.

And sometimes being a bit aggressive is fun. :D

User avatar
Mira
Posts: 1354
Joined: December 7th, 2009, 9:59 am
Contact:

Re: Female Characters

Post by Mira » June 9th, 2011, 10:28 pm

Leonidas, thanks for the recommendation on the RPG site. I'm going to check it out! Love that stuff.

Chantelle, I really like what you said

Okay, here's Meredith's video, in case anyone is interested. interesting lyrics about how women have many sides to them:


User avatar
Leonidas
Posts: 99
Joined: July 30th, 2010, 11:35 am
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Contact:

Re: Female Characters

Post by Leonidas » June 9th, 2011, 10:33 pm

Mira wrote:Leonidas, thanks for the recommendation on the RPG site. I'm going to check it out! Love that stuff.
No problem! I'm always looking to spread the word about awesome writing sites to people. If any of you do decide to join, and ever want to look me up/say you know someone when you're new, I'm Leonidas over there, too.

danielle100
Posts: 37
Joined: June 18th, 2010, 11:11 pm
Contact:

Re: Female Characters

Post by danielle100 » June 9th, 2011, 11:26 pm

I agree with adding a flaw to deepen the character. Something women and people in general can sympathize. I have the same problem and have been told to give more of her thoughts. I have to force myself to do it sometimes, but it has paid off with a more interesting protag. Good luck!

User avatar
maybegenius
Posts: 349
Joined: December 7th, 2009, 4:49 pm
Location: Northern California
Contact:

Re: Female Characters

Post by maybegenius » June 10th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Margo wrote:There's a LOT that can go into creating a character. I'm usually not in favor of the idea that we just need to assign one quirky flaw or a catch phrase or a funny hat (yay for the the Turkey City Lexicon! woot, polymath!) and *presto* the flat character has depth. Because what real impact do these little quick fixes have on the character who's coming off flat? A flat piece of cardboard that we spruce up by painting it red is now a red flat piece of cardboard.

What does the character want? Why? And is it a run-to or run-from goal? Is their motivation to gain something or avoid something? And always always always, what are the character's greatest fears and dearest wishes? These might not becomes apparent or directly impact the story, but they color how the character acts and reacts.

I could go on. Mudpuppy knows I could go on. [wink]

No quick fixes or ready-mix characters!
All of this, for Margo is wise.

If you want to see a great, great, GREAT example of strong female characters in a show intended for children, watch Avatar: The Last Airbender. THE ANIMATED SERIES, not the film. RE: Mira's point about imagining the girls on their period (heh), pre-pubescent and pubescent girls can still get very, very moody. Hormones and all. Anyway, A:TLA is an absolutely wonderful show that really understands characterization. It also subverts gender norms on a regular basis, and allows its female characters to be central and interesting in such a way that young boys were actually saying one of the female characters was their favorite when the show was on, which is unheard of.

My best advice for writing interesting female characters? Treat them like real people. Give them just as much attention and backstory as the male characters get. Don't use them as filler to get someone from Point A to Point B. Don't allow them to play second fiddle to the males. And I don't mean that in a "make them SUPER STRONG KICKASS FEMINISTS" way, I mean that like "don't let the guys hog the spotlight."

There are obvious differences between the sexes, but at the end of the day, we're all human. We all have motivations, needs, loves, hates, personalities, and backgrounds. Find those things for each character, and you'll make them into a real person.
aka S.E. Sinkhorn, or Steph

My Blog | My Twitter | YA!Flash Tumblr

Represented by Michelle Andelman of Regal Literary

User avatar
Mira
Posts: 1354
Joined: December 7th, 2009, 9:59 am
Contact:

Re: Female Characters

Post by Mira » June 11th, 2011, 7:28 pm

Leonidas wrote:
Mira wrote:Leonidas, thanks for the recommendation on the RPG site. I'm going to check it out! Love that stuff.
No problem! I'm always looking to spread the word about awesome writing sites to people. If any of you do decide to join, and ever want to look me up/say you know someone when you're new, I'm Leonidas over there, too.

I will! Thanks. :D

Great points on this thread. I enjoyed reading it!

saraflower
Posts: 106
Joined: October 28th, 2010, 10:58 am
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: Female Characters

Post by saraflower » June 12th, 2011, 10:15 am

I seem to specialize in strong, female characters with a voice. Sometimes people seem to over complicate the female psyche. Yes, they are different than men, but at the end of the day, they are human beings with dreams, ideals, etc. that are often similar to the guys.

I like male MCs too...but I find girl MCs to be easier to write about. I guess I`m just weird. Haha.

mudpuppy
Posts: 131
Joined: December 18th, 2010, 2:13 pm
Contact:

Re: Female Characters

Post by mudpuppy » June 12th, 2011, 11:09 am

saraflower wrote:I seem to specialize in strong, female characters with a voice. Sometimes people seem to over complicate the female psyche. Yes, they are different than men, but at the end of the day, they are human beings with dreams, ideals, etc. that are often similar to the guys.

I like male MCs too...but I find girl MCs to be easier to write about. I guess I`m just weird. Haha.

I don't think you werid. :) I like to write about female characters too, but it just I have problem giving them the same kind of quirks that I give my male characters for some reason.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 1 guest