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  1. #21
    Here's a quote from Sol Stein that seems appropriate. (But I'd guess whether or not to use a stereotype or cliche depends on the type of writing being done-- audiences and their expectations enter into this too.) Here's the Stein quote:

    "Another error of inexperienced writers -- or journalists in a hurry -- is
    to confine characterization to the obvious physical attributes. For females,
    facial features, breasts, hips, buttocks, legs. For males, broad shoulders,
    strong arms, chiseled features, and so on. That's top -of -the -head,
    thoughtless writing. Such clichés are common in speech. We expect better
    of our writers." (Sol Stein)
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  2. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    A woman is like a tea bag - you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.
    Also true of men. It's a human trait, not a gender trait. Probably her quote was meant to indicate that men are expected to "be strong and bear up", but we know that isn't universally true. When an emergency strikes, there isn't much difference in psychology between the sexes. One evening when a friend set his face on fire with a badly aimed "flaming arrow" shot, he and his brother stood stunned, I looked for something to put it out, and by the time I'd decided on what to use, my wife had already grabbed a damp dish towel and done the job. But if the sink stops up, I'm immediately notified.

    The trope is about used up now, but when I first started seeing stories where a "mousey woman" was thrust into danger and had to see her own way clear, they were intriguing. I'll take a clever solution over a brute force solution every time.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by vranger View Post
    Also true of men. It's a human trait, not a gender trait. Probably her quote was meant to indicate that men are expected to "be strong and bear up", but we know that isn't universally true. When an emergency strikes, there isn't much difference in psychology between the sexes.
    One thing I've noticed relative to this - women seem to respond better to immediate, short-term catastrophe whereas men tend to hold up better under long-term difficulties. There's also the question of prior experience and training - if your world contains more small-scale emergencies you're more likely to handle day-to-day disaster better than, say, the collapse of the economy, or global war, or mutant cannibals from outer space.

    That lacks any kind of scientific examination though, so I wouldn't put too much weight on it.

    One evening when a friend set his face on fire with a badly aimed "flaming arrow" shot, he and his brother stood stunned, I looked for something to put it out, and by the time I'd decided on what to use, my wife had already grabbed a damp dish towel and done the job. But if the sink stops up, I'm immediately notified.
    That escalated quickly. Reminds me of a friend's couch fire story.

    The trope is about used up now, but when I first started seeing stories where a "mousey woman" was thrust into danger and had to see her own way clear, they were intriguing. I'll take a clever solution over a brute force solution every time.
    Same. There's an old axiom about the two means of winning an argument being reason and force. Most people have a preference - for writers who don't have to pay the medical bills, the latter is usually the more appealing option - and one of the more interesting means of forcing character development is giving someone an arsenal and denying them the use of force as an easy out.

  4. #24
    I largely base my characters off people I have known, or the actors I would want to play them in a movie.
    So when I wrote Gunny Jo, the femme brute in Calizona Season 2, she was based on an actual person I had worked with back in the day.
    Yes, the real Gunny Jo could punch like a man, and I have seen her do so. She was the man of her house, and even in a male dominated place like the Sheriff's Office, she was just one of the boys.

    I have found that this method works well for me. It is rare that I invent a character totally from thin air.
    I have a motto about writing: Fact is stranger than fiction, and people are stranger than fact.

  5. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Rotten View Post
    I largely base my characters off people I have known, or the actors I would want to play them in a movie.
    So when I wrote Gunny Jo, the femme brute in Calizona Season 2, she was based on an actual person I had worked with back in the day.
    Yes, the real Gunny Jo could punch like a man, and I have seen her do so. She was the man of her house, and even in a male dominated place like the Sheriff's Office, she was just one of the boys.

    I have found that this method works well for me. It is rare that I invent a character totally from thin air.
    I have a motto about writing: Fact is stranger than fiction, and people are stranger than fact.
    Good to know, thanks for sharing. I have a few female friends on Instagram and they constantly post quotes and thinks that basically say "A woman can be strong, but she should still be vulnerable/fragile as a flower". I think that's very strange. Women should be raised to be big and strong like their male counterparts. I'm glad some women are being brought up that way. Women need to be taught to defend themselves, just like men are. A lot of women in my life are very strong physically and mentally and hell no, they are not fragile as a flower. May be vulnerable at times yes, but that's common in all humans. We all have times where we want to cry. It's human nature.

  6. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by JJBuchholz View Post
    One would think this comes down to the writer. Speaking from experience, as a male writer I feel more comfortable writing a strong
    male protagonist and can relate directly to the character. That being said, I have created strong female supporting characters, and
    have even written two stories with a strong female protagonist to see if I could pull it off.

    I have read many books with strong female characters, and that is where I primarily took inspiration from. Being a man, I find it
    easier to write from a male perspective, as there are aspects of female life that I'll never understand, even with the amount of
    research I do. I'm not a woman, I can't think like a woman. Therefore, I stick to what I know.



    They can, and sometimes do. Just because you don't agree with things doesn't automatically make them B.S.

    Again, people write what they know.



    I think if people calmed down and stopped being offended by just about everything, we wouldn't be having this problem in the
    first place.

    -JJB
    Yes I agree....people's feelings are that of a snowflake these days. People are offended by just about anything these days. What if my heroine had an abortion because it was her personal choice because she doesn't want kids ever? Of course, some of my readers would have a problem with it. But it makes sense for her, I know who she is. And there are women out there like her.

    But yes...I'm a male and I tend to find writing female lead characters more fascinating/exciting. Most of my closest friends are female and we share quite a lot in common. Lots of "tomboy"-ish stuff to them I guess...lot of stuff males are traditionally into...but they are also into makeup/beauty/fashion and stuff. We aren't astronomically different. Yes, I have absolutely no idea what a period feels like, but I'm not going to write about that. I don't have boobs either so I don't know what that whole experience is like. However, my heroine keeps hers covered up. I am very respectful to women in my writing. Try to make men and women as equals as much as I can.

    Writing what I know is HUGE, yes. I may not be a woman myself but I am damn motivated to write a very inspiring one (to both women and men).

  7. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by vranger View Post
    When you write that sort of a rant, it appears as outrage.

    In real life, women (even strong and aggressive women) dress up in pretty clothes and alluring clothes, wear makeup, look for a man in their life ... or already have one. By their early 40s, 85% of women have borne at least one child. Two income households are much more common now than 50 years ago, but there are still many women who choose to stay home and take the role of homemaker. I know women who change their own oil, and competent career women who melt down and call for help if they have a dead battery. Of the women I know, if there is a man present, they expect him to do 'traditional male jobs'. Certainly that's not always the case, but I've rarely seen a woman turn down an offer from a man to do heavy lifting. Where I live, women are pleased to have a man open the door for them, even when the man is a stranger. Goodness knows I've been caught at the bank door often enough when I opened it for one lady, and wound up standing there for a stream of them going both in and out. LOL Any time I see a woman come out of a store with a heavy product, I offer to load it in their vehicle. I have NEVER been waved off.

    If a woman doesn't want to choose a traditional role or motifs, that's great. But ... it's only wrong if she is FORCED to chose them against her will. If she wants them, she's entitled to them.

    Like I said, this is real life. You're dreaming of some fantasy where NO WOMEN want these things. That place does not exist. So while the women you fantasize about DO exist, and there is certainly a place for them in literature, it's silly to exclude the roles and attitudes of the rest of our population of women. These are not "stereotypes", they're real people.

    I've now finished my seventh novel, and I have strong female characters in every one of them. But they are not the ONLY female characters. If I took your advice to heart, my female characters would be monotone Wonder Women with no surprises and no vulnerabilities. I have strong characters, traditional characters, and in between, because despite what you might think, I want a variety of characters in my stories. I'm not going to write the same female character for every role in the story, for every book, ad infinitum. And I'm certainly not going to write the same character as the lead female role every time. You write the same thing over and over again if you want to, I won't stop you.

    But to slam other writers for not writing your fantasy every time they sit at a keyboard? Nope, I'm not having that.
    Yes I get that even the fiercest most badass women out there (especially in real life) wear dresses and have makeup and stuff. Yeah, most look for a male partner and most have kids. But not ALL women are like that and want all those things. I guess the type of woman I want to write...which is perhaps the most inspiring type of woman for me...is one who kind of ditches a lot of that traditional stuff. She doesn't want kids and I think it's best she remains single (I'm not a fan of writing romances for my main characters, I'm aromantic btw). Does that mean her life/story will be boring? Heck no. I follow a couple of super amazing women on Instagram who have no desire to have kids and are very happily single...those two women lead very amazing and inspiring lives. Just trying to picture them in a medieval story or something and they'd be damn cool!

    I realize that not all my women in my story need to be Wonder Woman or Superwoman/Supergirl, whatever. My heroine I'm currently writing is not an invincible fighter, she is more of an underdog. She's not going to destroy every man (or another woman) she meets in a fight, my heroine will get her ass kicked too. My heroine does change as a human over the course of her journey. I too want a variety of characters in my story. I want them to all feel very human to my readers. Some are romantic and some aren't.

  8. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by MorganaPendragon25 View Post
    Yes I get that even the fiercest most badass women out there (especially in real life) wear dresses and have makeup and stuff. Yeah, most look for a male partner and most have kids. But not ALL women are like that and want all those things. I guess the type of woman I want to write...which is perhaps the most inspiring type of woman for me...is one who kind of ditches a lot of that traditional stuff. She doesn't want kids and I think it's best she remains single (I'm not a fan of writing romances for my main characters, I'm aromantic btw).

    You're speaking as though this type of female character is some rarity in modern literature. It isn't. There are lots of examples of female characters (and real life women, for that matter) who are not traditional. As a matter of fact, it's kind of become the norm. I can't remember the last time I read a book where the protagonist was a happily married woman in a traditional marriage. Which is okay, of course, and it's great that you are discovering that female characters come in all shapes and sizes, just like male ones, but I'm not sure why you're acting like this is revelatory?

    What troubles me with your comments is I think you make a lot of unhealthy presumptions about women. I do not think you mean this the way it comes off, only that I think this speaks to a certain lack of understanding and a kind of 'reverse sexism'. For example, here you are saying 'she doesn't want kids and I think it's best she remains single/I don't like romances'. This statement implies that you regard this female character's romantic life as being inextricably linked to whether she wants kids or not. This doesn't make sense in modern society. There are lots of child-free couples just as there are lots of single parents. What I am getting a sense of is that you consider women effectively divided into two categories: "Traditional Women" who get married and have babies...and "Inspiring Women" who do not. That may be a misread, but I find that sort of binary either/or unappealing.

    Quote Originally Posted by MorganaPendragon25 View Post
    But yes...I'm a male and I tend to find writing female lead characters more fascinating/exciting. Most of my closest friends are female and we share quite a lot in common. Lots of "tomboy"-ish stuff to them I guess...lot of stuff males are traditionally into...but they are also into makeup/beauty/fashion and stuff. We aren't astronomically different. Yes, I have absolutely no idea what a period feels like, but I'm not going to write about that. I don't have boobs either so I don't know what that whole experience is like. However, my heroine keeps hers covered up. I am very respectful to women in my writing. Try to make men and women as equals as much as I can.

    I have a few female friends on Instagram and they constantly post quotes and thinks that basically say "A woman can be strong, but she should still be vulnerable/fragile as a flower". I think that's very strange. Women should be raised to be big and strong like their male counterparts. I'm glad some women are being brought up that way. Women need to be taught to defend themselves, just like men are. A lot of women in my life are very strong physically and mentally and hell no, they are not fragile as a flower. May be vulnerable at times yes, but that's common in all humans. We all have times where we want to cry. It's human nature.
    You talk about how fascinating/exciting it is writing about female lead characters, but then say you try to make them 'equal to men' and deliberately ignore/stay away from aspects of their body/sexuality (parts that actually make them female) so what exactly do you find so fascinating/exciting?
    Deactivated due to staff trolling. Bye!

  9. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by MorganaPendragon25 View Post
    I too want a variety of characters in my story. I want them to all feel very human to my readers. Some are romantic and some aren't.
    Well, this is a complete reversal of everything you've written previously in the thread. Congratulations. But be careful. Heaven forbid you should write a female character in a traditional role and subsequently be shunned for having "little imagination and a very narrow mindset". I'd grieve for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by MorganaPendragon25 View Post
    I have a few female friends on Instagram and they constantly post quotes and thinks that basically say "A woman can be strong, but she should still be vulnerable/fragile as a flower". I think that's very strange. Women should be raised to be big and strong like their male counterparts.
    By all means ... Anytime women tell a man what their preferences are for living their life, he should IMMEDIATELY reject that in preference for his own fantasy. Nailed it. :-/

  10. #30
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    Yes, I was sensing the 'trope,' if that is the word, is ripe for subversion: the battle-armour ladies v the 'oh my god if I see another badass woman I'll puke.' I was thinking to write some 'badass badass women with a treble treble of treacle goodness messaging.' It was only fleeting.

    If I was being more serious I might urge a writer to consider the reader, and the pleasure the writer could provide a reader, and the pleasure they would receive from that achievement..rather than the school o navel which of course has its place. Did I spell navel properly.

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