What makes a “strong female character”? We can struggle to define them because we see so few successful portrayals of such characters—especially in movies. Luckily, Diana Prince in Wonder Woman is a wonderful (ha!) example, so let’s break down her strengths so we can push for more characters like her in our stories.
Clichés, tropes, and stereotypes all seem like signs of lazy writing. And they are—or at least, they can be. But it can be impossible to avoid all instances of stereotypical elements. So what should we do instead?Pin It
We might sometimes wonder if our main character is worthy of the label protagonist or if our story would be better told through another character’s eyes. So let’s talk about how can ensure our main character deserves the role of protagonist.Pin It
As writers, we do everything we can to make readers invested in our characters in some way. An invested reader is a happy reader, right?
Well, maybe not. Let’s take a look at the other side of character development.
I’ve written many times about how much I love subtext, the stuff that happens between the lines. Subtext lurks in many aspects of our stories and helps immerse readers and add realism and tension. In addition, subtext can help us build layered characters.Pin It
Conflict is one of those words we all think we understand, but the writing-world meaning doesn’t have the same connotation as the non-writing meaning. Yet it’s only after understanding conflict that we’ll see the difference between antagonists and villains in storytelling.Pin It
We all have emotions, so we all think we know how to write them. However, sometimes the best writing comes from exposing an emotional truth that we’re hiding from ourselves. So the better we understand emotions, the better our stories will resonate with our readers.Pin It
The real world is filled with diversity, and our stories should be the same way. There’s no “one right way” to portray diverse characters, but there are wrong ways to portray diversity. However, there are steps we can take to minimize—as much as possible—the potential of “getting it wrong.”Pin It
How are villains, character likability, subtext, and point-of-view all related? In many stories, our antagonist is a non-POV character, and for non-POV characters, my previous tips about likability will be limited to subtext. So even though we might not be trying to make our villain likable, we might struggle to make them layered.Pin It
Ever heard “write the same but different”? Usually agents want something similar enough to other stories that they know they can sell the book but different enough to not feel like a retread. Whether we’re writing queries for traditional publishing or back-cover blurbs for self-publishing, if we can identify how our story is unique, we can better sell our story.Pin It