Now, I’ve never outwardly identified myself as a feminist (mostly because, to be honest, I don’t fully understand the feminist/masculinist movements). What I’ve always done is to simply write characters and roles, and allow the physical aspects of the character develop later on.

As you can clearly see, I lean towards having more female characters than male; indeed, I feel that some of my male characters are actually quite flat and are in dire need of development (JN, I’m looking at you!) As a result, my female characters tend to have very varied personalities, goals and interests.

I’m always paranoid, however, that I’m falling into some pitfall or another. One particular thing that I’m constantly fearful of is giving female characters overly masculine traits. The biggest offender, in my mind, is Shanna. She is rude, crude, a drunken brawler with a closed mind and a bad attitude and few to no feminine personality traits.

Then again, who is really to say what actually qualifies as ‘feminine’ personality traits? Sure, a few of my female friends like shoes, fashion, etc. the parts of that stereotype. There’s nothing wrong with that at all; Without being particularly soppy about it (and without detracting from their being women), I don’t really see them as women; Rather, I see them as friend, doctor, musician, writer, gamer, body mod enthusiast. They’re people, with interests, and that’s really all I want to do with my own characters. I don’t want to write men and women, I want to write genuinely interesting characters.

I think this is the key point of the phrase ‘strong female character’. It’s frequently argued that a strong female character is not literally someone who can flip a car, or can outrun a collapsing temple. Instead, the phrase should really be ‘strong characters, female’. That is to say, characters that engage the reader and make them feel something, anything, and not to simply write them off as ‘yet another empty female character’.

I hope I’m achieving this with my own female characters. So far as I’m concerned, each character has their own personality, and I’m confident that you’d be able to tell them apart just from actions or dialogue alone. Any worry on my part is probably just part of my core desire not to annoy anyone, but I suppose it’s also a kind of quality-check thing from my own writing sensibilities to make sure that my characters are interesting and engaging.

Anyway, rambling rant over! Enjoy today’s page!