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Female Characters

Posted: June 8th, 2011, 1:22 pm
by mudpuppy
Lately, I have been having this character development problem. My beta readers say that my male characters are interesting with their quirks, flaws, dislikes and likes. My female characters (with the expection of my villian) seem to come off as just as good, but need more depth. I do not want to have dull females characters or worse Mary Sues in my writing. Do all of you have any suggestions on how to develop them just a bit more? Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Re: Female Characters

Posted: June 8th, 2011, 1:45 pm
by polymath
I strongly suggest reading Robin Lakoff's Language and Woman's Place, 1975, with a more comprehensive, revised, updated contemporary 2004 edition. It's not a writing topic, per se, linguistics to a great extent, yes. It delves deeply into gendered identity. Sex, ethnicity, status, lifestyle, etc., and personality, behavior, traits, and so on. It's not just about womankind's place. I think it's about the best insight into character personas there is.

Re: Female Characters

Posted: June 8th, 2011, 2:49 pm
by mudpuppy
Thanks. :)

Re: Female Characters

Posted: June 8th, 2011, 4:33 pm
by sierramcconnell
I have the same problem. I have a lot of male characters, all richly developed, and maybe one or two girls who rarely get a scene.

You would think a female writer would have more girls! But I understand guys more than girls. I think it's a common problem. ;)

I can't offer help, just a comparative shoulder to bump?

Re: Female Characters

Posted: June 8th, 2011, 6:55 pm
by Beethovenfan
Give her a HUGE character flaw. Something that can't be simply overlooked. We all have flaws, and the interesting stuff in writing happens when we see how the characters live life with these flaws. What choices (good or bad) will the character make because of her flaws? And, will she triumph over her flaws or will they drag her down?

Re: Female Characters

Posted: June 8th, 2011, 7:57 pm
by Watcher55
Pretend you're a guy when you write them, or at least try to see your female characters through a guys eyes.

Re: Female Characters

Posted: June 8th, 2011, 8:00 pm
by sierramcconnell
Watcher55 wrote:Pretend you're a guy when you write them, or at least try to see your female characters through a guys eyes.
I did that with Bradley and he ended up gawking at his wife's chest. XD

Re: Female Characters

Posted: June 8th, 2011, 8:01 pm
by mudpuppy
sierramcconnell wrote:I have the same problem. I have a lot of male characters, all richly developed, and maybe one or two girls who rarely get a scene.

You would think a female writer would have more girls! But I understand guys more than girls. I think it's a common problem. ;)

I can't offer help, just a comparative shoulder to bump?

I know right? Thanks for the support. :) It's good to know that I'm not the only one with this problem.

Re: Female Characters

Posted: June 8th, 2011, 8:02 pm
by Watcher55
sierramcconnell wrote:
Watcher55 wrote:Pretend you're a guy when you write them, or at least try to see your female characters through a guys eyes.
I did that with Bradley and he ended up gawking at his wife's chest. XD
This was even funnier by the cute doll av.

Re: Female Characters

Posted: June 8th, 2011, 8:05 pm
by mudpuppy
Beethovenfan wrote:Give her a HUGE character flaw. Something that can't be simply overlooked. We all have flaws, and the interesting stuff in writing happens when we see how the characters live life with these flaws. What choices (good or bad) will the character make because of her flaws? And, will she triumph over her flaws or will they drag her down?
Well, I do have one FC who has a fear of people (long story) and another that has a problem with "gluttony".

Re: Female Characters

Posted: June 8th, 2011, 8:09 pm
by mudpuppy
Watcher55 wrote:Pretend you're a guy when you write them, or at least try to see your female characters through a guys eyes.
Interesting suggestion. :) I'm going to try this.

Re: Female Characters

Posted: June 8th, 2011, 9:26 pm
by medussa74
Really? I'm always paranoid about my male characters being too one-dimensional.

Re: Female Characters

Posted: June 8th, 2011, 9:48 pm
by mudpuppy
medussa74 wrote:Really? I'm always paranoid about my male characters being too one-dimensional.

My males characters are always flawed and funny, females are the opposite. Why is that? I have no idea, I guess I'm just odd. :geek:

Re: Female Characters

Posted: June 8th, 2011, 9:54 pm
by Leonidas
Just start making more female characters. Write them into short stories. I don't treat my female characters any different than I treat my male ones, though I have more guy characters than I have girl characters. I think I have more male characters than I have female is partially because I've gone to an all-girls' school for all of my life, so I have so many female friends that it's sometimes difficult to write a female character that I feel isn't based completely off of someone I know. Naming female characters is also difficult for me because of this -- I can't give a character the first name of a person that I know in real life.

Take those reasons and add in that when I started writing roleplaying on Neopets, don't judge me. I was eleven. most people played girls. There always was a need for guy characters, so I just started making them.

While I generally default to male characters now out of habit, I do really enjoy female characters, particularly ones who are strong, like Katniss from The Hunger Games or Annabeth from the Percy Jackson series.

Characters are characters, no matter their gender. They all need to be developed to the same extent, if in different ways, to be successful.

Good luck!

Re: Female Characters

Posted: June 8th, 2011, 10:01 pm
by sierramcconnell
I think my biggest problem is I deal with homosexual relationships. So technically I have girls? But not really. >_>

I just wrote a little with Adelaide, and really, she's an idiot. But I love her, because that's part of her character. To be bubble-headed.

I mean, I just blinked at the book and went, "But...if that's your only reason...then why not...you know what. You're Adelaide. That makes perfect logical sense for you."

(To not have sex with someone, not because they're your half-brother, but because they're gay. "Well, obviously the only way I can get an heir with him is through in-vitro, because he wouldn't sleep with me because he's gay." So you're forgetting the half-brother part?! If the in-vitro is there, CAN WE NOT USE THAT?!)

My characters. I love them. But sometimes I want to hit them with a spatula.