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MorganaPendragon25
December 20th, 2020, 02:44 PM
So I'm writing this Antiheroine and she's basically comes from a high-class family. She is the Emperor's daughter and his only child. The bloodline of this ruling family has gone on for decades, centuries perhaps? However, my antiheroine will absolutely not produce her father a heir (a baby) to continue the bloodline. For many reasons, she doesn't want kids (fear of what pregnancy could do to her body, doesn't want the stress of dealing with kids, etc.). I will say she enjoys kids but for her lifestyle they don't make any sense for her. She breaks many of her family's traditions and societal expectations (we're talking about the Medieval Era). I don't want to push this whole childfree thing with her character too much (I don't want to anger parents reading the story), but I feel it's necessary to bring it up.

To prevent herself from having kids, maybe she remains a virgin her whole life, maybe she has sex only with women, maybe she's infertile, maybe she gets sterilized, maybe she has an abortion if she had an accident. Her not agreeing to give her father his grandchild would create tension between them and a falling out of their relationship. Maybe they were very close before but then he asked her about her giving him a grandkid, things start to snap and she breaks ties with him.

Aside from not wanting kids, my antiheroine doesn't hold a lot of her family's values and traditions--they don't mean much to her. She's kind of the odd duck in the family. However, she still loves those in her family and she values her friendships with her friends.

Thoughts on how to write my antiheroine the best way?

Llyralen
December 20th, 2020, 08:30 PM
So I'm writing this Antiheroine and she's basically comes from a high-class family. She is the Emperor's daughter and his only child. The bloodline of this ruling family has gone on for decades, centuries perhaps? However, my antiheroine will absolutely not produce her father a heir (a baby) to continue the bloodline. For many reasons, she doesn't want kids (fear of what pregnancy could do to her body, doesn't want the stress of dealing with kids, etc.). I will say she enjoys kids but for her lifestyle they don't make any sense for her. She breaks many of her family's traditions and societal expectations (we're talking about the Medieval Era). I don't want to push this whole childfree thing with her character too much (I don't want to anger parents reading the story), but I feel it's necessary to bring it up.

To prevent herself from having kids, maybe she remains a virgin her whole life, maybe she has sex only with women, maybe she's infertile, maybe she gets sterilized, maybe she has an abortion if she had an accident. Her not agreeing to give her father his grandchild would create tension between them and a falling out of their relationship. Maybe they were very close before but then he asked her about her giving him a grandkid, things start to snap and she breaks ties with him.

Aside from not wanting kids, my antiheroine doesn't hold a lot of her family's values and traditions--they don't mean much to her. She's kind of the odd duck in the family. However, she still loves those in her family and she values her friendships with her friends.

Thoughts on how to write my antiheroine the best way?



Because I am a person myself who cares more about innovations and improvements than tradition, I can give you some ideas. First of all, it always causes problems for others (disruption) to break traditions and to build something new, so there has to be a reason to do so and/or you either care about the damage you do and work to mitigate it or you don't. You have feel justification or you can feel inspiration internally. Just in general from a day to day, when building something new that is going to be in the long run better and easier for everyone they still balk at change and have a hard time, so if you are working with a group you have to keep explaining the big picture... and for someone like me I have to know the big goal is going to have pay-off for everyone. Do I sometimes do these things because something doesn't work for just me? I'd have to have some strong fear or love or something. Some strong negative to avoid or positive to gain that is making my action justified. Because you are talking about the possibility of breaking ties that really matter. Your princess could get thrown out on her head, replaced, some Prime Minister or General could usurp power. There could be multiple plots to murder a girl in her position. She might not have the ability to care for herself on her own. She would have to build new alliances, unless she is self-destructive, stupid or that damaged by her situation that she doesn't care.

How are you going to paint her? A positive force (good) or a destructive force (evil)? Even if what you are going for is either sympathetic or non-sympathetic instead of good/evil, in the end the big consequences of her actions will need to either be painted negative, positive or nuanced.

There are a few different types of personalities and motivations of people who break tradition and there are some complex reasons. I will give examples that might help with a princess setting-- real and fictional.

1. Queen Elizabeth. She saw all the extreme pressure that her father had in trying to produce an heir. She saw him disregard herself and her sister and kill or divorce 6 wives-- her mother and stepmothers. This was trauma. This also changed the face of her country and the history of the world. It changed their religion and as a result thousands of people were killed and thousands of others uprooted. The trauma was on-going. This background was very key to understanding her decisions. She was brilliant enough to realize that she didn't have to get married to win the respect of her people and she also pitted suiters against each other. for causes that benefited her country. It worked for her. Was she lonely? Yes. Did she have romance? Of a type that is very debated in history. (Some historians believe that she was the virgin she reported to being, some historians laugh at that idea due to her reactions to men she was close with.) Her decisions worked for herself and her entire country to not get married as expected. These decisions came from an understanding of her people and others and the way that she worked her social skills with them but also from lessons learned from her upbringing.

2. The princess from Roman Holiday. This is another type of person and reasons for flouting expectation and it has to do with the push between being young and the fact that very soon you will be in charge and will need to be making critical decisions and how can you do that if you don't even get to make decisions for yourself at all? In the in-between there have to be some dramatic push-backs just to grow up and take your own place. People who told you what to do your whole life will soon be taking orders from you but where do you get experience and confidence?

With your princess it can start off like this, just making push-backs. You could paint a picture of her being too protected and too stifled. She could have seen her mother die in childbirth with a second baby or something. Maybe see an aunt or two die the same way or something. Really amp up that fear factor. Give her good reasons for believing what she does. But then, unless she feels comfortable with losing everything, she will have to work with advisors and those in power. She might need to lie and keep her grandfather and people dangling thinking maybe she will get married to so and so...Queen Elizabeth let her advisors try to match her with all sorts of people and just kind of kept everyone dangling and that held off wars. So you could pair those two figures together. But the motivation for NOT having kids has to be very strong in order for her to break with everyone.

3. Kai Loren maybe. Motivation to "be great" or revenge about how you feel your life has been. She is angry at whatever things have happened to her. You would have to give her good reasons and motivation, but this kind of character is born out of great privilege. They have to feel like there are no consequences to what they do for themselves and that the consequences to others don't matter because others are dispensable. But just like Kai Loren there are possible story archs (growth) through finding something that does matter to them besides themselves... and what is interesting to me is usually the unhealthy way in real life that the change unfolds in people who are actually like this. In story emperors who kill wives on their wedding nights like Shahrazad's situation or in real life people who love violence, force and control, torture and mind games like Saddam Hussein's sons (and Saddam Hussein too).

Honestly she could also just be barren and out of the experience of being barren and a huge disappointment to her country and whoever else is involved (husband, emperor, advisors) could come her strong independent thinking and ambition for herself and her country. She can decide that not her child will make the difference, but herself SHE can make the difference for her people.


4. Big Picture person with human rights motivations. Actually there are repeating themes in the story of Moses, maybe to look at. Some of it falls into antihero where actions are based on situations that you didn't want to be in... but some of it could also be altruism if that has a place in the whole "antihero" world. I'm not sure on what qualifies as anti-hero. But Moses ended up killing a guard to protect a slave and it seemed like that was a catalyst, a situation that maybe he did out of kindness but that resulted in murder, so... due to it he fell from a very high position as a Prince and then got to know his own suppressed people better. What situations can happen to your character that she didn't expect to find herself in or didn't expect to happen (like the idea of being infertile) or maybe that her husband is plotting against her grandfather or maybe her mother was from a minority that her grandfather is now at war with?

Traditions can be negative and/or positive for a group or country. This long dynasty might have a stabilizing effect on the country politically or maybe it causes huge unrest depending on what minorities are present and how people are being treated. Is there a tradition of tyranny with suppression and violence? For me it's easy to see how things could be improved and any negative consequences for people from current traditions. So for me I'm constantly interested in changing things for the better. It is easy for me to see human rights consequences even when I've grown up in that tradition. One thing I know and that is that privilege and human rights is not an easy thing for many to see. For some people the tradition itself justifies cruelty. Changing things takes a lot of work so motivation has to be very strong and you have to pick your battles on what gives the most bang for the buck in making differences. For instance, lets say her history has a tradition of violence and genocide and slavery against a certain minority. The country blames many problems on that minority or feels afraid that that minority will take over. They might have gorilla or freedom fighters as well... I don't blame them. How aware is she of what is going on? How aware is she of traditions that hurt others? Does she want to change things? Will she have the power to? Who will stand in her way that benefits from the privileges provided by the tyranny and suppression? Does she have experiences that make her realize she can no longer stand to be a part of this? Does she fall in love with someone of the other minority? Or maybe find a child of that minority in a basket like the princess of Egypt (or in whatever way.. .that's just an example)? Does someone she love need protection or she sees something happen that she thinks is very wrong and is she a person of great compassion? Something that compels her to rebel and make changes? Something she feels strongly enough about to risk her own position? Does she run away due to plots against her life due to this and become a freedom fighter with the new group that she understands and loves? Her trying to change things might mean she gives up everything and might even lead a war back against her grandfather. Um, also maybe reference Anna and the King of Siam with the instance of standing up for Tup-Tim? There could be so much cruelty that she could have witnessed her grandfather commit. Does it affect her in the way it would me? Compel her to DO something? Can't hardly stand to live with this going on around her? Or is it not worth risking? Not brave enough? Or does she not even think about it because she isn't the type who thinks that independently? Is there a story arch (growth) for her somewhere in these questions? And yeah... I'm not too clear about the limitations of an anti-hero. I feel like most characters should have some positive and some negative, some things in their control and some not.

To summarize, changing things and going counter to expectations takes enhanced motivation. Natural circumstances that force you to action for self-preservation or strong altruism for others' circumstances OR internal emotions (like fear or love, etc.) with accompanying history and skills that you as the writer have to build. It's your world and character, but these are the thoughts of someone who naturally does things differently, often sees things differently, and goes against the grain and what I know is to be dealt with due to that. Cheers and I hope it helps. It's been fun to brainstorm on your idea for me. =)

CyberWar
December 20th, 2020, 11:21 PM
An anti-heroine princess would, I think, have to be more "anti" than just headstrong and defiant. An anti-hero is by definition a scoundrel, someone who would be the villain were it not for some redeeming qualities or acts. An anti-hero doesn't necessarily even need to be aware of them, pursuing a selfish agenda and only doing the right thing coincidentally to it.

I would write a character like that as deeply embittered and cynical despite her young age. A medieval princess would have plenty of opportunities to witness the very worst of humanity - the constant intrigues and backstabbing at the royal court, more than a few plots being directed at her by people she naively assumed to be friends, the endemic warfare of the Middle Ages with all the accompanying brutality and horrors, young noblewomen being married off to abusive and unworthy husbands for political convenience, a corrupt and hypocritical clergy persecuting critics for heresy, and on top of that, the ever-present danger of an untimely death or disfigurement by infectious disease. Being perhaps more intelligent and perceptive than most, this could leave your princess thoroughly disillusioned and disgusted with the world, leading her to believe that bringing a child into this world where it will be condemned to a short and brutish life of almost constant suffering is an act of cruelty beneath her.

Your princess could therefore come off as cynical and ruthless as she struggles for power against scheming nobles, readily using violence and cruelty where it suits her and having little regard for morality or tradition simply to spite her father and the rest of the sanctimonious hypocrites who presume to lecture her about propriety and righteousness without having an ounce of it themselves. Her opinion that life is all about pointless suffering could eventually be shaken and changed by interacting with various people - servants, citizens and nobles alike - who somehow retain their humanity and decency and do the right thing despite constant hardships.

MorganaPendragon25
December 20th, 2020, 11:59 PM
An anti-heroine princess would, I think, have to be more "anti" than just headstrong and defiant. An anti-hero is by definition a scoundrel, someone who would be the villain were it not for some redeeming qualities or acts. An anti-hero doesn't necessarily even need to be aware of them, pursuing a selfish agenda and only doing the right thing coincidentally to it.

I would write a character like that as deeply embittered and cynical despite her young age. A medieval princess would have plenty of opportunities to witness the very worst of humanity - the constant intrigues and backstabbing at the royal court, more than a few plots being directed at her by people she naively assumed to be friends, the endemic warfare of the Middle Ages with all the accompanying brutality and horrors, young noblewomen being married off to abusive and unworthy husbands for political convenience, a corrupt and hypocritical clergy persecuting critics for heresy, and on top of that, the ever-present danger of an untimely death or disfigurement by infectious disease. Being perhaps more intelligent and perceptive than most, this could leave your princess thoroughly disillusioned and disgusted with the world, leading her to believe that bringing a child into this world where it will be condemned to a short and brutish life of almost constant suffering is an act of cruelty beneath her.

Your princess could therefore come off as cynical and ruthless as she struggles for power against scheming nobles, readily using violence and cruelty where it suits her and having little regard for morality or tradition simply to spite her father and the rest of the sanctimonious hypocrites who presume to lecture her about propriety and righteousness without having an ounce of it themselves. Her opinion that life is all about pointless suffering could eventually be shaken and changed by interacting with various people - servants, citizens and nobles alike - who somehow retain their humanity and decency and do the right thing despite constant hardships.

That is very wonderful advice and ideas! Thank you so much! I mean, for my anti-heroine princess the thought of her having children never crosses her mind unless she's faced with the topic. It's good for her to have some character growth, like you suggest in your third paragraph. I say with absolute certainty she will never change her mind about not having kids but she will find more good in the world.

When I write my character, I want women readers in particular to admire her for ditching familial/societal pressures and living the life that she ultimately wants. I wonder how I should portray her father after she declares she will not give him any grandchildren to keep the family blood line going? What will he do to her after she breaks away from all things inheritance and all that? I don't necessarily want my antiheroine to be in love with anyone...she could be happily single by herself and she pushes potential male suitors away from her at her ease or she could fall in love with another woman (she would be more into girls).

MorganaPendragon25
December 21st, 2020, 12:08 AM
Because I am a person myself who cares more about innovations and improvements than tradition, I can give you some ideas. First of all, it always causes problems for others (disruption) to break traditions and to build something new, so there has to be a reason to do so and/or you either care about the damage you do and work to mitigate it or you don't. You have feel justification or you can feel inspiration internally. Just in general from a day to day, when building something new that is going to be in the long run better and easier for everyone they still balk at change and have a hard time, so if you are working with a group you have to keep explaining the big picture... and for someone like me I have to know the big goal is going to have pay-off for everyone. Do I sometimes do these things because something doesn't work for just me? I'd have to have some strong fear or love or something. Some strong negative to avoid or positive to gain that is making my action justified. Because you are talking about the possibility of breaking ties that really matter. Your princess could get thrown out on her head, replaced, some Prime Minister or General could usurp power. There could be multiple plots to murder a girl in her position. She might not have the ability to care for herself on her own. She would have to build new alliances, unless she is self-destructive, stupid or that damaged by her situation that she doesn't care.

How are you going to paint her? A positive force (good) or a destructive force (evil)? Even if what you are going for is either sympathetic or non-sympathetic instead of good/evil, in the end the big consequences of her actions will need to either be painted negative, positive or nuanced.

There are a few different types of personalities and motivations of people who break tradition and there are some complex reasons. I will give examples that might help with a princess setting-- real and fictional.

1. Queen Elizabeth. She saw all the extreme pressure that her father had in trying to produce an heir. She saw him disregard herself and her sister and kill or divorce 6 wives-- her mother and stepmothers. This was trauma. This also changed the face of her country and the history of the world. It changed their religion and as a result thousands of people were killed and thousands of others uprooted. The trauma was on-going. This background was very key to understanding her decisions. She was brilliant enough to realize that she didn't have to get married to win the respect of her people and she also pitted suiters against each other. for causes that benefited her country. It worked for her. Was she lonely? Yes. Did she have romance? Of a type that is very debated in history. (Some historians believe that she was the virgin she reported to being, some historians laugh at that idea due to her reactions to men she was close with.) Her decisions worked for herself and her entire country to not get married as expected. These decisions came from an understanding of her people and others and the way that she worked her social skills with them but also from lessons learned from her upbringing.

2. The princess from Roman Holiday. This is another type of person and reasons for flouting expectation and it has to do with the push between being young and the fact that very soon you will be in charge and will need to be making critical decisions and how can you do that if you don't even get to make decisions for yourself at all? In the in-between there have to be some dramatic push-backs just to grow up and take your own place. People who told you what to do your whole life will soon be taking orders from you but where do you get experience and confidence?

With your princess it can start off like this, just making push-backs. You could paint a picture of her being too protected and too stifled. She could have seen her mother die in childbirth with a second baby or something. Maybe see an aunt or two die the same way or something. Really amp up that fear factor. Give her good reasons for believing what she does. But then, unless she feels comfortable with losing everything, she will have to work with advisors and those in power. She might need to lie and keep her grandfather and people dangling thinking maybe she will get married to so and so...Queen Elizabeth let her advisors try to match her with all sorts of people and just kind of kept everyone dangling and that held off wars. So you could pair those two figures together. But the motivation for NOT having kids has to be very strong in order for her to break with everyone.

3. Kai Loren maybe. Motivation to "be great" or revenge about how you feel your life has been. She is angry at whatever things have happened to her. You would have to give her good reasons and motivation, but this kind of character is born out of great privilege. They have to feel like there are no consequences to what they do for themselves and that the consequences to others don't matter because others are dispensable. But just like Kai Loren there are possible story archs (growth) through finding something that does matter to them besides themselves... and what is interesting to me is usually the unhealthy way in real life that the change unfolds in people who are actually like this. In story emperors who kill wives on their wedding nights like Shahrazad's situation or in real life people who love violence, force and control, torture and mind games like Saddam Hussein's sons (and Saddam Hussein too).

Honestly she could also just be barren and out of the experience of being barren and a huge disappointment to her country and whoever else is involved (husband, emperor, advisors) could come her strong independent thinking and ambition for herself and her country. She can decide that not her child will make the difference, but herself SHE can make the difference for her people.


4. Big Picture person with human rights motivations. Actually there are repeating themes in the story of Moses, maybe to look at. Some of it falls into antihero where actions are based on situations that you didn't want to be in... but some of it could also be altruism if that has a place in the whole "antihero" world. I'm not sure on what qualifies as anti-hero. But Moses ended up killing a guard to protect a slave and it seemed like that was a catalyst, a situation that maybe he did out of kindness but that resulted in murder, so... due to it he fell from a very high position as a Prince and then got to know his own suppressed people better. What situations can happen to your character that she didn't expect to find herself in or didn't expect to happen (like the idea of being infertile) or maybe that her husband is plotting against her grandfather or maybe her mother was from a minority that her grandfather is now at war with?

Traditions can be negative and/or positive for a group or country. This long dynasty might have a stabilizing effect on the country politically or maybe it causes huge unrest depending on what minorities are present and how people are being treated. Is there a tradition of tyranny with suppression and violence? For me it's easy to see how things could be improved and any negative consequences for people from current traditions. So for me I'm constantly interested in changing things for the better. It is easy for me to see human rights consequences even when I've grown up in that tradition. One thing I know and that is that privilege and human rights is not an easy thing for many to see. For some people the tradition itself justifies cruelty. Changing things takes a lot of work so motivation has to be very strong and you have to pick your battles on what gives the most bang for the buck in making differences. For instance, lets say her history has a tradition of violence and genocide and slavery against a certain minority. The country blames many problems on that minority or feels afraid that that minority will take over. They might have gorilla or freedom fighters as well... I don't blame them. How aware is she of what is going on? How aware is she of traditions that hurt others? Does she want to change things? Will she have the power to? Who will stand in her way that benefits from the privileges provided by the tyranny and suppression? Does she have experiences that make her realize she can no longer stand to be a part of this? Does she fall in love with someone of the other minority? Or maybe find a child of that minority in a basket like the princess of Egypt (or in whatever way.. .that's just an example)? Does someone she love need protection or she sees something happen that she thinks is very wrong and is she a person of great compassion? Something that compels her to rebel and make changes? Something she feels strongly enough about to risk her own position? Does she run away due to plots against her life due to this and become a freedom fighter with the new group that she understands and loves? Her trying to change things might mean she gives up everything and might even lead a war back against her grandfather. Um, also maybe reference Anna and the King of Siam with the instance of standing up for Tup-Tim? There could be so much cruelty that she could have witnessed her grandfather commit. Does it affect her in the way it would me? Compel her to DO something? Can't hardly stand to live with this going on around her? Or is it not worth risking? Not brave enough? Or does she not even think about it because she isn't the type who thinks that independently? Is there a story arch (growth) for her somewhere in these questions? And yeah... I'm not too clear about the limitations of an anti-hero. I feel like most characters should have some positive and some negative, some things in their control and some not.

To summarize, changing things and going counter to expectations takes enhanced motivation. Natural circumstances that force you to action for self-preservation or strong altruism for others' circumstances OR internal emotions (like fear or love, etc.) with accompanying history and skills that you as the writer have to build. It's your world and character, but these are the thoughts of someone who naturally does things differently, often sees things differently, and goes against the grain and what I know is to be dealt with due to that. Cheers and I hope it helps. It's been fun to brainstorm on your idea for me. =)

WOWZA! THANK YOU!! :) Gives me a lot of ideas! Thanks much! Queen Elizabeth was a rebel and a badass for not having kids and not getting married, so cool of her! My anti-heroine is such a rebel and since she's the Emperor's daughter in the story, she's throwing away lots of her power to live the life that she ultimately wants. She has money, power, and fame being the Emperor's only kid but it comes at a price and she would never pay the price of having a kid and other things. I don't want to make the whole thing about her choosing to be childfree a HUGE concept of the story but since she's next-in-line in her family, it kind of has to be brought up and I must do that respectfully. I like the thought of her becoming a freedom fighter. I just want my readers to know this girl of mine is happily childfree and she will never change her mind. If you ever read The Hunger Games, I was a bit disappointed how Katniss developed...technically she was a childfree character and her husband/boyfriend Peeta forced her to have kids because he wanted them. I don't like the concept of women having kids to live a Happily Ever After, it seems cliche. What else could a woman want to do with her whole life when her quest is over? There's a million different things to do then becoming a parent. My antiheroine's Happily Ever After will make sense for her character, and it doesn't involve kids (though she could serve as a role model to kids growing up, they could look up to her and she would appreciate that).

CyberWar
December 21st, 2020, 02:12 AM
That is very wonderful advice and ideas! Thank you so much! I mean, for my anti-heroine princess the thought of her having children never crosses her mind unless she's faced with the topic. It's good for her to have some character growth, like you suggest in your third paragraph. I say with absolute certainty she will never change her mind about not having kids but she will find more good in the world.

When I write my character, I want women readers in particular to admire her for ditching familial/societal pressures and living the life that she ultimately wants. I wonder how I should portray her father after she declares she will not give him any grandchildren to keep the family blood line going? What will he do to her after she breaks away from all things inheritance and all that? I don't necessarily want my antiheroine to be in love with anyone...she could be happily single by herself and she pushes potential male suitors away from her at her ease or she could fall in love with another woman (she would be more into girls).

Your character frankly resembles Queen Christina of Sweden a lot. The sole heir of Gustavus Adolphus, she defied conventions and expectations with her manly habits and stubborn refusal to marry or bear children. She sympathized with and was popular with the Catholic Church who liked the idea of a virgin queen, though this understandably made her very unpopular with the Sweden's Lutheran clergy. In the end, faced with ever-increasing pressure from nobility and the Church, she proclaimed her cousin the new king and abdicated. Afterwards, she would convert to Catholicism and live out the rest of her days in Rome as a respected patroness of science and arts.

Whether Christina was actually into women remains disputable, since she is known to have had at least one romantic relationship with a man in her later life, though it's not improbable. At the time it was generally acceptable and normal for upper-class women to have very intimate relationships between themselves, though whether any given relationship also entailed sexual pursuits was obviously kept discreet and not discussed outside private circles. One must generally take any contemporary suggestions of homosexuality with a pinch of salt due to people with a political agenda trying to reinterpret history these days, and period sources suggesting the same as well, since accusing political opponents of sexual perversions has been a staple in every smear campaign since the days of Roman Republic.

Although Queen Christina lived in mid 17th century, intimate friendships between noblewomen, such as between a princess and a favoured lady-in-waiting, would have also been common and accepted in the Middle Ages as well, so that would be relevant to your Medieval princess character as well.

I would suggest you watch "The Girl King", a semi-biographical account of Queen Christina's life. That could give you some useful ideas.

---

I would think your princess could end up in a similar way, pressured into renouncing her right to the throne in favour of a cousin or some other relative, and not feeling one bit of regret about it. This could happen after she finds her life's true calling as a patroness of learning and art, and an accomplished intellectual on her own right. Yes, I know, there are different things an abdicated princess might want to do, but let's be realistic, a Medieval noblewoman's independent pursuits would most likely entail some form of scholarly pursuits and/or patronage of them, especially if she wasn't very keen on religious life as a nun.

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As it happens, I've written a solitary childless empress character myself quite extensively, albeit in a sci-fi setting. I've cast her more as a reluctant ruler, reigning with an iron fist not because she wants the power, but out of a sense of duty to her people who regard her deceased father as a demi-god and hold similar expectations for her. In place of a feudal nobility, this empress has to deal with powerful military commanders and industrialists who have effectively become the new aristocracy, keep them content by keeping her empire in a state of perpetual war while trying to keep that war from escalating into a galaxy-wide conflict. Because she and her subjects belong to an offshoot of humanity that procreates artificially, having children was never on the book for her, yet she finds herself utterly alone among greedy businessmen and power-hungry generals who would gladly tear each other apart if it weren't for her putting them in their proper place with popular support from the masses (the latter being rather fickle and effectively maintained only through constant propaganda and scaremongering). Her only comforts in this solitude are the fine arts. In a way, that puts her in a similar "anti-heroic" position you seek for your character - on one hand, this empress is a ruthless monarch of a totalitarian police state, kept in power by military might, almighty secret services and a carefully-maintained cult of personality, but on the other, much of what she does, she does simply because there's no other way and any alternatives are even worse. When your only neighbors are a corrupt federation run by predatory megacorporations and a race of murderous headhunting reptilian space vikings with 500 years of almost constant war and genocide between the three of you, there are definitely worse things than living under a totalitarian regime.

Anyway, hope that helps with some more ideas.

MorganaPendragon25
December 22nd, 2020, 12:00 AM
Your character frankly resembles Queen Christina of Sweden a lot. The sole heir of Gustavus Adolphus, she defied conventions and expectations with her manly habits and stubborn refusal to marry or bear children. She sympathized with and was popular with the Catholic Church who liked the idea of a virgin queen, though this understandably made her very unpopular with the Sweden's Lutheran clergy. In the end, faced with ever-increasing pressure from nobility and the Church, she proclaimed her cousin the new king and abdicated. Afterwards, she would convert to Catholicism and live out the rest of her days in Rome as a respected patroness of science and arts.

Whether Christina was actually into women remains disputable, since she is known to have had at least one romantic relationship with a man in her later life, though it's not improbable. At the time it was generally acceptable and normal for upper-class women to have very intimate relationships between themselves, though whether any given relationship also entailed sexual pursuits was obviously kept discreet and not discussed outside private circles. One must generally take any contemporary suggestions of homosexuality with a pinch of salt due to people with a political agenda trying to reinterpret history these days, and period sources suggesting the same as well, since accusing political opponents of sexual perversions has been a staple in every smear campaign since the days of Roman Republic.

Although Queen Christina lived in mid 17th century, intimate friendships between noblewomen, such as between a princess and a favoured lady-in-waiting, would have also been common and accepted in the Middle Ages as well, so that would be relevant to your Medieval princess character as well.

I would suggest you watch "The Girl King", a semi-biographical account of Queen Christina's life. That could give you some useful ideas.

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I would think your princess could end up in a similar way, pressured into renouncing her right to the throne in favour of a cousin or some other relative, and not feeling one bit of regret about it. This could happen after she finds her life's true calling as a patroness of learning and art, and an accomplished intellectual on her own right. Yes, I know, there are different things an abdicated princess might want to do, but let's be realistic, a Medieval noblewoman's independent pursuits would most likely entail some form of scholarly pursuits and/or patronage of them, especially if she wasn't very keen on religious life as a nun.

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As it happens, I've written a solitary childless empress character myself quite extensively, albeit in a sci-fi setting. I've cast her more as a reluctant ruler, reigning with an iron fist not because she wants the power, but out of a sense of duty to her people who regard her deceased father as a demi-god and hold similar expectations for her. In place of a feudal nobility, this empress has to deal with powerful military commanders and industrialists who have effectively become the new aristocracy, keep them content by keeping her empire in a state of perpetual war while trying to keep that war from escalating into a galaxy-wide conflict. Because she and her subjects belong to an offshoot of humanity that procreates artificially, having children was never on the book for her, yet she finds herself utterly alone among greedy businessmen and power-hungry generals who would gladly tear each other apart if it weren't for her putting them in their proper place with popular support from the masses (the latter being rather fickle and effectively maintained only through constant propaganda and scaremongering). Her only comforts in this solitude are the fine arts. In a way, that puts her in a similar "anti-heroic" position you seek for your character - on one hand, this empress is a ruthless monarch of a totalitarian police state, kept in power by military might, almighty secret services and a carefully-maintained cult of personality, but on the other, much of what she does, she does simply because there's no other way and any alternatives are even worse. When your only neighbors are a corrupt federation run by predatory megacorporations and a race of murderous headhunting reptilian space vikings with 500 years of almost constant war and genocide between the three of you, there are definitely worse things than living under a totalitarian regime.

Anyway, hope that helps with some more ideas.

WOW!!! I just watch the trailer for "The Girl King" and I was very inspired and impressed by it! I'm definitely going to buy it on DVD/Bluray and give it a go! Massive thanks for the recommendation. Queen Christina reminds me exactly of the antiheroine princess I want to write. Christina is such a badass and she is in total control of her own life. Not only that but I find it admirable she's into a lot of guy stuff like male clothes and fencing and hunting and outdoors stuff. My antiheroine prefers wearing shirts/vests and pants and combat boots. Most of her friends growing up were boys so she's always felt like one of them. You have given me a wealth of ideas, my friend! Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Means a lot to me! :)

MistWolf
December 26th, 2020, 03:26 AM
Wearing pants, hanging with the boys and going childless doesn't make anyone a badass. One of the toughest gals I know married the man she loved, is raising six kids, is loving and kind, she had a good relationship with her father. She's as independent minded and badass as they come.

Another I know married, had kids during the depression and raised them during the war years. She was loving, kind and compassionate. She took in troubled kids when they needed a place to stay. When they say Lady, I think of her. She was the consummate Lady. She was as badass as they come.

Pancho Barnes wore pants, smoked cigars, cursed like a sailor, defied her father and kicked her husband to the curb. None of that made her a badass. What made her a tough ad nails badass was that she was independent minded, went her own way and did things. She learned to fly airplanes and became a skilled pilot. She barnstormed. She flew stunts for movies. She founded the stunt pilot's union. She bought and raced the fastest airplane of her era. Defying her father, smoking cigars and wearing pants didn't make her a badass. She became a badass despite those things.

Amelia Earhart wore pants. But what made her a badass was her willingness to get out in the world and accomplish something. She was a top pilot. She was lost attempting to fly around the world. Another tough, independent minded badass.

Pancho Barnes and Amelia Earhart were not just top woman pilots. They were top pilots.

Another badass dress wearing, fairytale princess was Princess Diane. You can't make your character a badass by putting her in pants, having her fly in the face of tradition and refusing to have children. You have to make her tough minded and independent and let her decide on her own how her badassery manifests itself. Otherwise, you're just forcing the issue and it'll show in your writing.

I suggest you start with the father/daughter dynamic. It isn't a simple matter of her simply defying tradition. It starts with the child developing their independent will and how the parents react to it. I was fortunate that I waded inspired to let my children explore the world in their way, trusting they learned the lessons I taught them. It wasn't easy, but we made it through that period with minimal trauma. I've seen plenty of parent/child relationships turn toxic with the fallout lasting years, or even a lifetime. Without having some insight into what's been going on between your character and her father, the characters actions won't ring true.

undead_av
December 26th, 2020, 07:10 AM
That is very wonderful advice and ideas! Thank you so much! I mean, for my anti-heroine princess the thought of her having children never crosses her mind unless she's faced with the topic. It's good for her to have some character growth, like you suggest in your third paragraph. I say with absolute certainty she will never change her mind about not having kids but she will find more good in the world.

When I write my character, I want women readers in particular to admire her for ditching familial/societal pressures and living the life that she ultimately wants. I wonder how I should portray her father after she declares she will not give him any grandchildren to keep the family blood line going? What will he do to her after she breaks away from all things inheritance and all that? I don't necessarily want my antiheroine to be in love with anyone...she could be happily single by herself and she pushes potential male suitors away from her at her ease or she could fall in love with another woman (she would be more into girls).

Now I may not be your target audience, but as a woman reader, I would struggle with admiring a character like this. It would be one thing if she was going against familial/societal pressures for a noble reason. Just doing it because she wants to live her life how she wants, though? That rings selfish to me. If she is meant to be a cold, cynical character who ultimately suffers for choosing herself above anyone else, that would be different. If you want her to be an admirable character, I would give her a motivation beyond just not wanting to have kids and live her life for herself. Otherwise, you could go a darker direction with this character, showing her as less admirable, perhaps "cynical and ruthless" as CyberWar said. Maybe she has good reason for wanting to break away from familial pressures, but has allowed herself to become bitter. But I wouldn't show putting her own life/happiness above all else as a good thing, even if she has reason for it.


If you ever read The Hunger Games, I was a bit disappointed how Katniss developed...technically she was a childfree character and her husband/boyfriend Peeta forced her to have kids because he wanted them. I don't like the concept of women having kids to live a Happily Ever After, it seems cliche.

also, augh, no, he didn't force her to have kids! The ending of that book series was depressing in a lot of ways, but them having kids was a flicker of joy - a chance of a hope and a future, even though so much had been lost. It wasn't just about her Happily Ever After - it was about the whole of humanity rebuilding and healing. I think a really good thing about that series is Katniss not getting to live her life how she wanted, but having to sacrifice herself in many ways in order to fight for good. She is not a perfect heroine, but I thought that was admirable. I don't want more female heroines who live their lives how they want - I want female heroines who fight evil and sacrifice themselves for others and learn to truly love - the same for male heroes, actually, even though it manifests in different ways.

I know this is probably a different perspective than what you were looking for, but, hey, you mentioned women readers. Hope this helps a bit - bless your writing!

ArrowInTheBowOfTheLord
December 26th, 2020, 07:20 AM
When I write my character, I want women readers in particular to admire her for ditching familial/societal pressures and living the life that she ultimately wants.

Okay, straight talk here. I am not all women. I am only one woman. But I would NOT admire a character who ditched "blood and soil" (not ultimate things, but good things, certainly) for ... what? "Her own life"? What does that even mean? What higher or better thing is she refusing childbearing for? It would be somewhat admirable, for example, if there was a princess who was like, "No, Father, I'm not going to bear your heir; I'm going to go search for the Holy Grail," or something. But if it's just, "No, Father, I'm not going to bear your heir because kids are inconvenient and I don't want to experience discomfort" .... that is not admirable at all. I'm sorry.

Neither is it courageous or "badass." I'm a woman, and I break societal expectations left and right (mostly because I'm utterly unaware of them), but I don't pretend that makes me courageous or admirable. It strikes me as being mostly irrelevant to virtue. My stepmother has devoted her life to caring for the poor and sick...THAT is admirable; THAT is courageous. My own mother had eight children despite never having a good example of parenting from her own mother...that, again, is admirable and courageous. I know women in the military devoted to serving their country...again, admirable. I do not, however, admire a woman who breaks expectation for merely selfish purposes.

Now, you've said you want to make here an antihero, so maybe she needn't be admirable. In which case, ignore the following. HOWEVER, if you want to make her a hero, I suggest that she should break the societal expectation for a higher purpose. Blood ties and national loyalties are certainly important, but consider what could be also or more important. Women who break social norms to serve others (doctors, pastors, missionaries, etc.) or to create or discover something of value (artists, writers, scientists, questers, etc.) can be very admirable characters. I think of Mulan. She broke the societal expectation ... why? Because she wanted to 'live her own life' or some nonsense? No! Because she wanted to save her father. It later turns out it was also because she was trying to discover her own worth, but it never felt like she was just doing it for her own sake. Even though she broke the 'rules,' she did it for her family and her country and her comrades-in-arms. She sacrificed and experienced pain for the sake of others. Meanwhile, your character is avoiding the pain of childbearing for her own sake. I simply can't admire that.

(I realize this is somewhat similar to av's post, but I started typing it a bit ago)

ETA: I want to mention that although there IS pain associated with having kids, I dislike this whole view of children being a burden. Like 'pay the price of having a child' was a phrase I saw. Having a child is probably one of the most important and joyful things, for BOTH men and women. The idea that they're just something to escape is blind.

ehbowen
December 26th, 2020, 08:30 AM
I'll just mention here that I learned to fly in a flight school run by Maybelle and Larry Fletcher (Fletcher Aviation in Houston). Maybelle was a genuine lady, through and through, who had raised a family and done all the other feminine things. She was also perhaps the most badass pilot I'll ever meet, anywhere. She was one of the early members of the "Ninety-Nines" (aviation group for women), she taught Army recruits how to fly during World War II. When I was taking flight training she was the local Designated Examiner for the FAA and she personally gave me my private check ride. She has passed on now, but I'm still better for knowing her.

MorganaPendragon25
December 26th, 2020, 03:28 PM
Wearing pants, hanging with the boys and going childless doesn't make anyone a badass. One of the toughest gals I know married the man she loved, is raising six kids, is loving and kind, she had a good relationship with her father. She's as independent minded and badass as they come.

Another I know married, had kids during the depression and raised them during the war years. She was loving, kind and compassionate. She took in troubled kids when they needed a place to stay. When they say Lady, I think of her. She was the consummate Lady. She was as badass as they come.

Pancho Barnes wore pants, smoked cigars, cursed like a sailor, defied her father and kicked her husband to the curb. None of that made her a badass. What made her a tough ad nails badass was that she was independent minded, went her own way and did things. She learned to fly airplanes and became a skilled pilot. She barnstormed. She flew stunts for movies. She founded the stunt pilot's union. She bought and raced the fastest airplane of her era. Defying her father, smoking cigars and wearing pants didn't make her a badass. She became a badass despite those things.

Amelia Earhart wore pants. But what made her a badass was her willingness to get out in the world and accomplish something. She was a top pilot. She was lost attempting to fly around the world. Another tough, independent minded badass.

Pancho Barnes and Amelia Earhart were not just top woman pilots. They were top pilots.

Another badass dress wearing, fairytale princess was Princess Diane. You can't make your character a badass by putting her in pants, having her fly in the face of tradition and refusing to have children. You have to make her tough minded and independent and let her decide on her own how her badassery manifests itself. Otherwise, you're just forcing the issue and it'll show in your writing.

I suggest you start with the father/daughter dynamic. It isn't a simple matter of her simply defying tradition. It starts with the child developing their independent will and how the parents react to it. I was fortunate that I waded inspired to let my children explore the world in their way, trusting they learned the lessons I taught them. It wasn't easy, but we made it through that period with minimal trauma. I've seen plenty of parent/child relationships turn toxic with the fallout lasting years, or even a lifetime. Without having some insight into what's been going on between your character and her father, the characters actions won't ring true.

I greatly respect what you say here and all of those women you mentioned. I realize just because my main character is literally a rebel princess who wears trousers, possibly smokes, and never wants kids doesn't make her a badass. She has an iron will that becomes pretty much impossible to break. I will demonstrate just how strong and independent she is. I appreciate your words. Another thing that makes a character a badass is that she/he doesn't make any excuses because of their gender. In this day and age, I speak to all my female and male friends/coworkers exactly the same. I need help lifting something very heavy onto the back of my truck, depending upon whose around I have no problem with asking a woman for help over a man. I never want to hear from a woman to make excuses that she shouldn't lift something heavy because she's weak and that she thinks another guy would be better help for me. Poor excuse. There are many women out there today who are very strong lifters and have incredible upper body strength. I'm a man and I know a fair number of women who have bigger muscles and arms than me. I tip my hat to them. They don't make any excuses, they will help me lift something very heavy if asked. I love women who don't give a shit about gender-related issues. They just show up and do the work...and a lot of times, leave the guys in the dust.

MorganaPendragon25
December 26th, 2020, 03:29 PM
I'll just mention here that I learned to fly in a flight school run by Maybelle and Larry Fletcher (Fletcher Aviation in Houston). Maybelle was a genuine lady, through and through, who had raised a family and done all the other feminine things. She was also perhaps the most badass pilot I'll ever meet, anywhere. She was one of the early members of the "Ninety-Nines" (aviation group for women), she taught Army recruits how to fly during World War II. When I was taking flight training she was the local Designated Examiner for the FAA and she personally gave me my private check ride. She has passed on now, but I'm still better for knowing her.

Great story. Thank you for sharing! That's amazing! Rest In Peace to Maybelle!

MorganaPendragon25
December 26th, 2020, 03:38 PM
Okay, straight talk here. I am not all women. I am only one woman. But I would NOT admire a character who ditched "blood and soil" (not ultimate things, but good things, certainly) for ... what? "Her own life"? What does that even mean? What higher or better thing is she refusing childbearing for? It would be somewhat admirable, for example, if there was a princess who was like, "No, Father, I'm not going to bear your heir; I'm going to go search for the Holy Grail," or something. But if it's just, "No, Father, I'm not going to bear your heir because kids are inconvenient and I don't want to experience discomfort" .... that is not admirable at all. I'm sorry.

Neither is it courageous or "badass." I'm a woman, and I break societal expectations left and right (mostly because I'm utterly unaware of them), but I don't pretend that makes me courageous or admirable. It strikes me as being mostly irrelevant to virtue. My stepmother has devoted her life to caring for the poor and sick...THAT is admirable; THAT is courageous. My own mother had eight children despite never having a good example of parenting from her own mother...that, again, is admirable and courageous. I know women in the military devoted to serving their country...again, admirable. I do not, however, admire a woman who breaks expectation for merely selfish purposes.

Now, you've said you want to make here an antihero, so maybe she needn't be admirable. In which case, ignore the following. HOWEVER, if you want to make her a hero, I suggest that she should break the societal expectation for a higher purpose. Blood ties and national loyalties are certainly important, but consider what could be also or more important. Women who break social norms to serve others (doctors, pastors, missionaries, etc.) or to create or discover something of value (artists, writers, scientists, questers, etc.) can be very admirable characters. I think of Mulan. She broke the societal expectation ... why? Because she wanted to 'live her own life' or some nonsense? No! Because she wanted to save her father. It later turns out it was also because she was trying to discover her own worth, but it never felt like she was just doing it for her own sake. Even though she broke the 'rules,' she did it for her family and her country and her comrades-in-arms. She sacrificed and experienced pain for the sake of others. Meanwhile, your character is avoiding the pain of childbearing for her own sake. I simply can't admire that.

(I realize this is somewhat similar to av's post, but I started typing it a bit ago)

ETA: I want to mention that although there IS pain associated with having kids, I dislike this whole view of children being a burden. Like 'pay the price of having a child' was a phrase I saw. Having a child is probably one of the most important and joyful things, for BOTH men and women. The idea that they're just something to escape is blind.

I've been doing some deep soul searching in regards to my antiheroine and despite her going her own ways from her father's plans, she does so for a higher purpose. I'm definitely not a fan of stories oftentimes portraying women wanting kids to complete their life. Having kids and getting married after her quest is over is definitely not every woman's sense of living "Happily Ever After". Hello, there are women out there...MILLIONS of women out there...who absolutely do not want kids and for many reasons. To force kids onto a woman who doesn't want them isn't right. I felt that way about Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. She was a childfree woman and I felt the whole epilogue of that book series was not needed and it ruined her character. Her boyfriend/husband Peeta "wanted them" and pretty much forced Katniss to birth his children. It felt so off and I felt so mad at that. For Katniss, her having kids definitely did not make sense.

I get how having kids and getting married may sound peaceful to some women, but not all. I wish there were more childfree women (heroes/antiheroes/even villains!) represented in books, TV, movies, video games. They are vastly underrepresented. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a woman who doesn't want kids, just the same as a man who doesn't want kids. It's a personal choice. Since I'm a childfree man myself, I just find myself more attracted to writing a female main hero who happens to not want any children. I love who she is and who she becomes.

MorganaPendragon25
December 26th, 2020, 03:47 PM
Now I may not be your target audience, but as a woman reader, I would struggle with admiring a character like this. It would be one thing if she was going against familial/societal pressures for a noble reason. Just doing it because she wants to live her life how she wants, though? That rings selfish to me. If she is meant to be a cold, cynical character who ultimately suffers for choosing herself above anyone else, that would be different. If you want her to be an admirable character, I would give her a motivation beyond just not wanting to have kids and live her life for herself. Otherwise, you could go a darker direction with this character, showing her as less admirable, perhaps "cynical and ruthless" as CyberWar said. Maybe she has good reason for wanting to break away from familial pressures, but has allowed herself to become bitter. But I wouldn't show putting her own life/happiness above all else as a good thing, even if she has reason for it.



also, augh, no, he didn't force her to have kids! The ending of that book series was depressing in a lot of ways, but them having kids was a flicker of joy - a chance of a hope and a future, even though so much had been lost. It wasn't just about her Happily Ever After - it was about the whole of humanity rebuilding and healing. I think a really good thing about that series is Katniss not getting to live her life how she wanted, but having to sacrifice herself in many ways in order to fight for good. She is not a perfect heroine, but I thought that was admirable. I don't want more female heroines who live their lives how they want - I want female heroines who fight evil and sacrifice themselves for others and learn to truly love - the same for male heroes, actually, even though it manifests in different ways.

I know this is probably a different perspective than what you were looking for, but, hey, you mentioned women readers. Hope this helps a bit - bless your writing!

No worries. My antiheroine does have a higher cause to living the life she wants outside of her family's wishes. She is a very complex/sophisticated woman. I'm not going to write her character as "HEY! I Don't want kids!" She would speak very little of it since it's not in her interests. I just want to make it very clear to my readers that she doesn't want kids and she's not the type of woman who would ever change her mind on that. In the long run, she does a lot of good things for humanity after the long and twisted road she takes. She doesn't need kids, she doesn't need a man, she doesn't need any sort of romance, to make her life complete. She can stand alone by herself and prove she is a warrior.

I really felt the Hunger Games epilogue was such a mess. The way the author worded it...well..technically how Katniss spoke (since she's the narrator)...I don't have it in front of me but it's like..."It took ten or fifteen years, but Peeta wanted them..." (them = kids). To me, it felt like Katniss caved into Peeta's wishes to have kids. It wasn't necessarily her decision but she wanted to keep her man Peeta around so she gave him kids so he would still love her. That just destroyed that book series for me and Katniss's character. I would've respected Katniss adopting kids instead, especially since she suffers from PTSD (no woman should have kids if she suffers from PTSD). I wish the author thought up a way of writing Katniss's ending differently. Instead of having kids, maybe she could be a teacher for other children or a hero to children. There are so many more ways for a woman's life to be fulfilling that doesn't involve having kids herself.

MistWolf
December 26th, 2020, 08:00 PM
My participation in this thread is to discuss crafting a believable character honestly. I don't feel this thread is heading in that direction.

MorganaPendragon25
December 26th, 2020, 10:22 PM
My participation in this thread is to discuss crafting a believable character honestly. I don't feel this thread is heading in that direction.

Why do you feel its going in the wrong direction? I mean to give my heroine some pants to wear and her being an adamant childfree woman doesn't make her a man or anything. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a woman who prefers pants and suits over dresses and skirts. A lot of times women like wearing "male clothes" because they have pockets and are baggier. My character just happens to not like dresses and loves wearing things with pockets in them. She doesn't like to show a lot of skin, so she keeps her body pretty covered up (usually dresses and skirts are very revealing, showing lots of skin). That's her personal preference and choice. Most of my female friends are tomboys, that's just who they are. They are very believable. Most of them hate wearing heels because they think it looks strange, especially for someone already so tall if she is.

MistWolf
December 26th, 2020, 10:33 PM
Because it feels like you're more interested in justifying a female character that wears pants than how to craft one.

MorganaPendragon25
December 27th, 2020, 12:34 AM
Because it feels like you're more interested in justifying a female character that wears pants than how to craft one.

Sigh. Sorry if I came across that way. I am definitely absolutely interested in crafting a female character who is a badass and inspiring to my readers. Her wearing pants is just a tiny, minute detail of who she is. Who knows, maybe she does wear dresses, but to me the way she presents herself, she wears pants all the time. It just makes sense. She tucks in her shirt. She doesn't take any bullshit from her guy friends trying to do a man's job. Hard work is hard work. I will write my heroine however I want to and she will pull readers in by the interesting type of human being she is.

Taylor
December 27th, 2020, 12:36 AM
Why do you feel its going in the wrong direction? I mean to give my heroine some pants to wear and her being an adamant childfree woman doesn't make her a man or anything. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a woman who prefers pants and suits over dresses and skirts. A lot of times women like wearing "male clothes" because they have pockets and are baggier. My character just happens to not like dresses and loves wearing things with pockets in them. She doesn't like to show a lot of skin, so she keeps her body pretty covered up (usually dresses and skirts are very revealing, showing lots of skin). That's her personal preference and choice. Most of my female friends are tomboys, that's just who they are. They are very believable. Most of them hate wearing heels because they think it looks strange, especially for someone already so tall if she is.

When I read this it made me think of Billie Eilish. She has a great sense of style, but only ever wears pants and always covers up. I wouldn't say your character has to be a tomboy though. I think that would be too cliche.

MorganaPendragon25
December 27th, 2020, 01:02 AM
When I read this it made me think of Billie Eilish. She has a great sense of style, but only ever wears pants and always covers up. I wouldn't say your character has to be a tomboy though. I think that would be too cliche.

You know what? I think the best way for my antiheroine to be is....to be herself. That's it. Just get inside her head and let her drive her own story. There are no limits to what my antiheroine can do with her lifetime (she is a mortal though, she isn't invincible), she loves competing against both men and women. I do me. You do you. My Antiheroine does herself. There are plenty of amazing women I follow on Instagram that are living proof that there are so many different varieties of woman that are badasses. Just stumbled upon one today.

And to anyone who has a problem with a woman who has decided she'll never have kids of her own, that doesn't make her evil or a villain. Having kids simply isn't for her. I know a bunch of female friends who are business owners and are extroverted introverts. While most of them tend to love kids (being the cool Aunt or whatever), they're so happy to go home and relax and get some sleep when they're done with work. I am really defensive for the childfree women in my life. I feel so bad they get pressured by their family and friends to have kids. Having kids is a personal choice for both women and men. I can't believe that value isn't ingrained in our society and world today. The people who inspire me most in my life are usually childfree women. They are living their happiest and fullest life and some are doing it totally by themselves (single, childfree). I wish we saw more childfree women in stories these days, there simply aren't enough. At least there's a few like Lara Croft, Ahsoka, and Mikasa Ackerman I can read about; those women are all strong adventurous ladies whose calling in life isn't for kids. Anyways end of that rant.

Taylor
December 27th, 2020, 01:28 AM
You know what? I think the best way for my antiheroine to be is....to be herself. That's it. Just get inside her head and let her drive her own story. There are no limits to what my antiheroine can do with her lifetime (she is a mortal though, she isn't invincible), she loves competing against both men and women. I do me. You do you. My Antiheroine does herself. There are plenty of amazing women I follow on Instagram that are living proof that there are so many different varieties of woman that are badasses. Just stumbled upon one today.

And to anyone who has a problem with a woman who has decided she'll never have kids of her own, that doesn't make her evil or a villain. Having kids simply isn't for her. I know a bunch of female friends who are business owners and are extroverted introverts. While most of them tend to love kids (being the cool Aunt or whatever), they're so happy to go home and relax and get some sleep when they're done with work. I am really defensive for the childfree women in my life. I feel so bad they get pressured by their family and friends to have kids. Having kids is a personal choice for both women and men. I can't believe that value isn't ingrained in our society and world today. The people who inspire me most in my life are usually childfree women. They are living their happiest and fullest life and some are doing it totally by themselves (single, childfree). I wish we saw more childfree women in stories these days, there simply aren't enough. At least there's a few like Lara Croft, Ahsoka, and Mikasa Ackerman I can read about; those women are all strong adventurous ladies whose calling in life isn't for kids. Anyways end of that rant.

Totally agree we need more women characters who don't feel the need to have kids. I'm actually writing a character who is a man who doesn't feel the urge to have kids. He is a really amazing guy and the protagonist falls in love with him and then finds out after they are dating. I think I will have her realize that it is actually a relief because she was feeling the same way, but couldn't come to terms with it.

But your right there are a lot of great women who don't feel the urge to have kids. I think, I heard Dolly Parton say she never had the desire to have kids. And she's amazing. But if you need a good example of a tomboy who didn't have kids you could look at Katharine Hepburn.

Have fun with your character. I like her already!

MistWolf
December 27th, 2020, 04:25 AM
You know what? I think the best way for my antiheroine to be is....to be herself. That's it. Just get inside her head and let her drive her own story.
There ya go. Just get into her head and see where she takes you.


I wish we saw more childfree women in stories these days, there simply aren't enough. At least there's a few like Lara Croft, Ahsoka, and Mikasa Ackerman I can read about; those women are all strong adventurous ladies whose calling in life isn't for kids. Anyways end of that rant.
There are a lot more childless characters than you credit. They aren't the exception, they're the norm. Adventurous characters without committed relationships or children are easier.

ArrowInTheBowOfTheLord
December 27th, 2020, 06:47 AM
There are a lot more childless characters than you credit. They aren't the exception, they're the norm. Adventurous characters without committed relationships or children are easier.

Yes, this is how I feel.

To the OP: I absolutely agree that singleness can be very important and fulfilling; I know many women who never got married/had kids, yet had a strong positive impact. BUT I think it's weird that you think these kind of women are rare in media, because they're really not. The kind of character you're writing is so common in media -- that's part of why I responded the way I did. Because I'm responding to this whole trend, not just you personally.

It's possible that we are responding to different subworlds of the fiction world -- so, you're under the impression your opinion is the controversial one, because of the circles you move in, but I'm also under the impression my opinion is the controversial one, because of the circles I move in. This has happened before -- in my university you'll have people from very 'red' states thinking they're the odd one out for being left-wing, and simultaneously people from my home state thinking they're the odd one out for being right-wing! It can be confusing because essentially people are talking past each other, fighting with different imaginary groups.

So, maybe I can just assure you that you don't have to justify this type of character; they're rather common. My (minor) concern is that pants-wearing, sword-swinging women have become so common in media, we lose the awesome-ness of dress-wearing, thread-spinning women. But that's minor. There's room for differentiated, positive expressions of femininity. I mean, I wear men's clothes sometimes, for the reasons you stated: pockets, etc. But my major concern is that 'freedom' and 'what I want' are so commonly exalted above all else, that you get female characters who are selfish, borderline evil, being viewed as 'cool' because they 'break expectations' or 'don't care what anyone else thinks.' Now, again, I may not be speaking to you or your character here -- I am speaking to a general trend that I see in media.

So, on developing a character: I think the first weird thing is how you use the word 'childfree,' as if children are something to be free from. That suggests a certain viewpoint which may impact how you are writing your character, creating too much focus on her not being like other characters and not enough focus on what she is like. That may be an incorrect assessment, but it's something to consider. I've written many characters where the question doesn't even enter the picture -- where I don't think I've even asked myself if they want children or not. It was brought up briefly in this one short story I wrote: "My mother visited yesterday. She brought the Thomas the Tank Engine set from home and asked if I wanted it for my future kids or should she give it away. I said I was never going to marry, but I wanted it for myself. That made her sad. She doesn’t understand what I’m facing here, that I need support. That since trains are made of metal and wood they’re strong, stronger than anybody, and they’ll always be there for you, dependable. That’s one good thing I learned from TV." And it's never brought up again.

I do have a MC of one story who's around thirteen and strains against societal expectations. The work is still in progress, but she lives in a future society with a strong focus on science, reason, and courtesy. She is the princess of the Earth, so there are definitely societal 'rules' which she is expected to follow. But there's some elements which I hope help balance this so it's not just SoCIEtY iS BaD. One is her sister, who DOES follow societal expectations, but is an admirable character and genuinely cares about her sister even if she doesn't understand her. The other is the MC's dreams, which create an implication of something different and outside the society, that the society can be measure against and found wanting.

MorganaPendragon25
December 27th, 2020, 04:09 PM
Totally agree we need more women characters who don't feel the need to have kids. I'm actually writing a character who is a man who doesn't feel the urge to have kids. He is a really amazing guy and the protagonist falls in love with him and then finds out after they are dating. I think I will have her realize that it is actually a relief because she was feeling the same way, but couldn't come to terms with it.

But your right there are a lot of great women who don't feel the urge to have kids. I think, I heard Dolly Parton say she never had the desire to have kids. And she's amazing. But if you need a good example of a tomboy who didn't have kids you could look at Katharine Hepburn.

Have fun with your character. I like her already!

Thanks so much! I love your childfree male/female characters too you speak of! :)

Every time I read a story featuring a badass heroine (whether she's the lead character or the 2nd most important character), if she ends up having kids in the end I always roll my eyes and say to myself "Of course...no surprise." I felt the epilogues of The Hunger Games and Harry Potter were so cliche and tacky. Everyone had kids and I'm like, in this day and age especially, that's impossible. There are MILLIONS of childfree women (and men) on this planet; they aren't hard to find. It's realistic to write female characters who have absolutely no desire to be a parent. And it's okay for a childfree female character to like kids/babies and whatnot...maybe she could be the cool aunt or the cool cousin to these kids. I know a good number of women who don't want kids that work their asses off and are very inspiring women. I discovered this young 38-year-old entrepreneur on Instagram yesterday and after going through her whole story, she is a strong, tall, and very proud childfree woman who is a badass aunt to her sister's kids. That's pretty cool. I'm really inspired by her.

I would absolutely love to see more childfree women in the future in books/movies/video games/etc. I know they are coming. After 2020, many more women (and men) are deciding to be childfree.

MorganaPendragon25
December 27th, 2020, 04:16 PM
There ya go. Just get into her head and see where she takes you.


There are a lot more childless characters than you credit. They aren't the exception, they're the norm. Adventurous characters without committed relationships or children are easier.

Thanks. I was thinking maybe my antiheroine could play the role of the cool/badass aunt or cousin to her sister's kids or her cousin's kids (I originally have my antiheroine as an only-child, probably keep her that way). Maybe she loves kids, especially ones who look up to her as a role model. But when it comes to having kids on her own, that I know would never change, she will always say no to that.

Now that I think about it, true. Sometimes a movie is shown or a book is written or a video game is completed and the heroine's story ends where her future could be made up by the reader. I like stories where there is no definitive ending to a character's story. For example, I wish the epilogues to The Hunger Games and Harry Potter were left out. I would rather imagine the future by myself of Katniss and Harry Potter and his gang of friends than read some sort of cliche things in the epilogue.

But overall, I think a lot of stories end where there is no definite answer to a heroine's choices after her quest is done. Perhaps she is childfree (aka doesn't want kids) or maybe she starts a family later on.

ehbowen
December 28th, 2020, 06:36 AM
Just remember...people can change over time. Your character may start out as a tomboy who revels in being single and 'childfree'...but ten years later, if she meets a man who truly complements, supports, and loves her, that desire could change like the flipping of a light switch.

MorganaPendragon25
January 8th, 2021, 02:17 PM
Just remember...people can change over time. Your character may start out as a tomboy who revels in being single and 'childfree'...but ten years later, if she meets a man who truly complements, supports, and loves her, that desire could change like the flipping of a light switch.

Yeah, I totally get that. I mean, I myself have changed greatly in the past 3 years alone. I'm a very different person. People who've known me my entire life won't notice much difference but on the inside my approach to life has changed. On the other hand, I have a few tomboy-ish friends I've known since childhood and they really haven't changed one bit. They're adrenaline junkies and love to travel and love to workout; they don't want kids themselves because kids would slow their energetic lives down.

My character...my antiheroine...yeah she could change too...if she finds someone she loves...but she could still remain staunchly childfree and single as well...she doesn't need to get married if she finds someone she loves. In this day and age, I think it's perfectly normal to know a woman is childfree and single. I follow a handful of them on Instagram and wow, they are living their best life. I'm really happy for them. A woman doesn't need a man (or another woman) and kids to make her life feel whole. Her life is complete by herself.

indianroads
January 8th, 2021, 05:34 PM
Just remember...people can change over time. Your character may start out as a tomboy who revels in being single and 'childfree'...but ten years later, if she meets a man who truly complements, supports, and loves her, that desire could change like the flipping of a light switch.

Exactly.
Characters without an arc are boring.

MorganaPendragon25
January 8th, 2021, 11:34 PM
Exactly.
Characters without an arc are boring.

True. But I feel it's very tacky and lame to always put a heroine with a man and kids in the end. I want to see more originality in how people write female heroes. In this day and age, there are many women out there who don't need a man and kids at all to be complete human beings. I have a female friend who's almost 40 who's been single her entire life and never wants any kids. She's living life to the fullest and kicking asses right and left. If I wrote her as a character, she would definitely have a character arc. She's always been a loner, that's just part of her DNA, but she has changed a lot and is a lot stronger because of that.

indianroads
January 9th, 2021, 12:26 AM
True. But I feel it's very tacky and lame to always put a heroine with a man and kids in the end. I want to see more originality in how people write female heroes. In this day and age, there are many women out there who don't need a man and kids at all to be complete human beings. I have a female friend who's almost 40 who's been single her entire life and never wants any kids. She's living life to the fullest and kicking asses right and left. If I wrote her as a character, she would definitely have a character arc. She's always been a loner, that's just part of her DNA, but she has changed a lot and is a lot stronger because of that.

I completely agree.

MorganaPendragon25
January 9th, 2021, 01:19 AM
I completely agree.

I mean, Where is the support for those women out in the world who chose to be happily single and happily childfree? There are MILLIONS of women who are happily single and happily childfree on this planet. The sad thing is they are vastly underrepresented in all forms of media. All we see on TV a lot is a woman's happy ending MUST be getting a man and having kids. That's a concept we need to throw out. I'm a man and I'm sick and tired of reading about heroines needing a man and kids every single time. There are a few exceptions I've come across but they are few and far between. My childhood was basically reading about male heroes saving the female damsels in distress and him having kids with her. Thankfully, more female heroes are breaking through and are seeing visibility. However, I want to see more female heroes who have lifestyles that stray far away from a husband and kids. To me, it's the most cliche and boring thing you could do to a female hero's character arc. There are millions of ways you could write a female hero and what the conclusion of her story will be. Does it take too much imagination to write a story for her that goes against societal norms?

I love my antiheroine and I am damn proud of her and who she is. She is the most unique thing I've ever created and I will give the demographic she represents a voice with her!

MistWolf
January 12th, 2021, 06:52 PM
I mean, Where is the support for those women out in the world who chose to be happily single and happily childfree? There are MILLIONS of women who are happily single and happily childfree on this planet. The sad thing is they are vastly underrepresented in all forms of media. All we see on TV a lot is a woman's happy ending MUST be getting a man and having kids. That's a concept we need to throw out. I'm a man and I'm sick and tired of reading about heroines needing a man and kids every single time. There are a few exceptions I've come across but they are few and far between. My childhood was basically reading about male heroes saving the female damsels in distress and him having kids with her. Thankfully, more female heroes are breaking through and are seeing visibility. However, I want to see more female heroes who have lifestyles that stray far away from a husband and kids. To me, it's the most cliche and boring thing you could do to a female hero's character arc. There are millions of ways you could write a female hero and what the conclusion of her story will be. Does it take too much imagination to write a story for her that goes against societal norms?

I love my antiheroine and I am damn proud of her and who she is. She is the most unique thing I've ever created and I will give the demographic she represents a voice with her!

Baloney. There are a lot of single, childless heroines and heroes out there. If all you're seeing in stories are women who are damsels in distress who need a man and children, you need to broaden your horizons. Single, childless characters are not unique.

No, we don't need to throw out the idea there are people who desire a family. Procreation and love is a huge part of the human condition and cannot be ignored. Believe it or not, there are still people in this world who want the joys of marriage and parenthood. The triumphs and tragedies people go through in a marriage and during child raising makes people stronger, tougher and better. There are things in life single, childless people will never understand.

I don't mind single, childless characters. They too are part of the human condition albeit a smaller part. But being single and childless doesn't make them better or more interesting. It doesn't give them any kind of moral high ground. It just makes the character less complicated and the story easier to write. That's what makes them popular.