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Discussion: Characters

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I have a bit of a rant today. My rant is more toward Authors and their female characters.

When reading a book, what do you as a reader look for in a female character? What traits do you want your leading lady to have? I’m pretty simple. I want a STRONG and Independent character. I don’t give two shits how damn beautiful she is, if her hair is so silky it shines like diamonds, I don’t care if she is rich, wears designer clothes, or if she can climb mountains with a blindfold on. None of that matters to me. What matters is that my leading lady is strong and can take care of herself.

I read three books in the last 3 days and you know what the common theme was for those books? A girl who needed a guy so she could get her shit together. I LOVE romance in books. I generally wont read a book if there isn’t a romance involved. But why make the leading lady so clingy, dependent, and just brain dead when it comes to a guy? Why can’t she have both? Why can the leading lady not be strong, independent, and in love? This problem usually occurs in YA novels. What is this teaching younger more impressionable girls? If you go by a typical YA novel, its teaching girls that when they meet a guy and fall in love, they need to revolve their life around them and not think for themselves.

That is another thing, why can’t the leading lady be the one with good ideas and ass kicking skills? Why, do the male characters need to be so in-control  and dominant. To me that is so unattractive. I don’t want someone who needs to tell me how to feel or what to do. I find my husband attractive because yes he may be an “alpha” male or what we call a “manly man”, but he never makes a decision without me. He always consults me, he compliments me at the most random times, he never tries to control me, and if I were to go brain dead and starry eyed and acting all desperate, he would probably think I was crazy.

I know I’m not explaining what I’m trying to say right. It is really hard to find the correct words.

The point of this is to say: Authors give me a strong leading lady, who is kick ass, smart, funny, snarky, and doesn’t go brain dead/stupid when a guy who shows interest.

What about everyone else? What do you look for in a character? Are there any traits or quirks you prefer?

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12 thoughts on “Discussion: Characters

  1. I also hate when there are multiple females in a story, maybe a group of friends, and every single one of them is tall and thin, petite and thin, cute and thin, like non-supermodels don’t exist in a lot of literature. Where are the girls with curly hair who straighten it? Where are the size 12s and 14s?! Where are people who have to shave their legs?!!?! R x

    1. I knowww! I wish I lived in a world I didn’t have to shave or workout for my body.
      My guess is authors think women want to read about gorgeous women. I don’t care what the woman looks like, I wont lie Im shallow im in it for the hot guys! When Im reading a book im not pictures some gorgeous leggy blonde with the guy, Im picturing me (inless its YA of course, because then that would be creepy).

  2. I agree with you. I like a man to take control and have a dominant personality, but on the other hand, I want his woman to have a ‘take no shit’ attitude (not in an overly bitchy way, of course). I don’t want to read about a woman who’s a total doormat, unless the purpose of the story is showing how she changes from said doormat into an independent woman. I read for entertainment and if the story is entertaining, I can sometimes handle an annoying woman protagonist. It just depends on the book. And I totally agree about describing women that don’t even exist. I prefer someone more realistic, not supermodel thin with amazing hair. Lol.

    1. Hahaha I totally agree. You know I think that is why I like Christina Lauren’s books so much. The authors make their women strong. While the males are dominant their women compliment them. Those girls wouldnt take shit!

  3. I can’t stand most love stories for that exact reason – most of it, especially in books aimed at younger girls, is about girls needing a guy to get her shit together. There’s a world of difference between a girl NEEDING a guy, and the guy just sort of being along for the ride but the girl is still definitely in charge. I prefer books without love stories, honestly, because if you take the love story away from most popular books, even those that aren’t romance-based, the story is weak and can’t stand on its own.

    1. And it’s always the guys rescuing girls. Boring old cliche! Why doesn’t the girl rescue the guy using her wits for a difference? That would still be make a good romance story.

  4. I couldn’t agree more. Well, I can recommend a few books with strong female characters. The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss has several. In fact there aren’t any weakling, clingy female characters there at all. That one has romance, too, and quite an unusual kind.

    A Song of Ice and Fire by George Martin has a few epic strong female characters. Catelyn Stark, Arya Stark, Brienne of Tarth, Cersei Lannister to name a few. Then there is one by an indie author I randomly found, this one is YA: Miss Mabel’s School for Girls by Katie Cross. Since it’s set in a girls’ school, there are no male characters. But what impressed me was the number of strong and independent female characters. One of them has seer powers and she gets picked on by everyone in school cause she looks like an albino. Even the villain is strong. The heroine is quite awesome, a shining example of confidence, determination and strength of will. I think this character is a great example for the young girls. There is romance in the second book of the series, but not in the first book.

    Another one I must recommend (if you don’t mind graphic violence and graphic sex) is The Prince of Nothing trilogy by R. Scott Bakker. The female characters there are amazingly well done. There is the beautiful and stupid bimbo, then there is the more plain looking, genius, strong woman. She rises from the dregs of the society to the highest possible places. There is plenty of romance, too. But it is grimdark and not an easy read in the beginning.

    I have reviewed all of the aforementioned books in my blog, you are welcome to visit and check them out (I write spoiler free reviews). I would like to read and review more YA, and open to recommendations, if there are any featuring strong, clever, heroic, arse-kicking female characters.

    I am also writing strong female characters in my WIP novel. In fact there is a mercenary army of women, kind of like the Amazons but more like the Samurai with their code and training ways. Many of them are far from beautiful, but they certainly kick arse and everyone fears them. I also have a heroic (non-warrior) female character, who is deformed and hideous, but extremely clever, loyal and beats the greatest men at their game. I am writing these characters cause I’m sick of the exact same type of female characters you rant about. There are only a few exceptions.

    1. Thank you so much for all the recommendations! I will def check your blog and reviews out.

      Your book sounds really awesome 🙂
      I as a female kind of fond it insulting that most female characters are depicted as weak and independent.

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