Developing a Strong Female Lead

            Cast aside the notion of the female warrior who is perfect in all ways. Your female protagonist might be athletically gifted, amazingly beautiful and displaying a lovely personality, but then she’s boring. You also don’t want to cast her as only important because she’s dating a man. Female characters, in order to speak to today’s readers, must have the characteristics of real-life women.

            What are the cultural norms in the world you have created? Are the same as the real world in which women are often seen as second-class citizens? Perhaps you’ve given the women emotional, interpersonal, intellectual and creative strengths that allow her to have goals of her own?

            Do you have only one woman in the story or several? What purpose do they serve? If they are only sidekicks to the male protagonist, rethink your story.

            Your task is to write a story in which the female protagonist has agency. She has strengths and weaknesses, she is not the fairy-tale raving beauty and she is strong in terms of how she approaches life. She does not have to be violent, but she could be if needed to advance the plot.

            If there are two female characters, try not to pit them against each other unless there is a reason to do so in order to add tension that advances the plot.

            Have fun with this one.

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