I have been asked a few times about a strong female lead and what I thought about what it meant to be a strong female lead and I honestly had to think about this one for awhile. There’s so much that could classify someone as a strong female lead and I’ll be quite honest when I say that I think my character Kressara, in The Making of a Queen, will honestly be my first strong female lead in any of my books.
Thinking about this more, I’ve come up with a few things that I had to be sure that I made Kressara fit a mold. I wanted her to be more than just a character who was pushed around and shoved every which direction by everyone else. Anyway, I guess here’s my checklist for a strong female character.
- The character HAS to make things happen. I think this has been a big problem in a few of my books where my female lead was dictated by everyone else and what they wanted to happen. She didn’t make a lot of choices on her own and because of that, she may have came across as a Mary Sue character, one who was plain and who didn’t take initiative to create her own path. With Kressara, I was (and still am) determined to make her a character who chooses her own destiny – just like all of us should.
- A character doesn’t have to be likeable, but to me, they do have to have desires and wants. She needs to have something that she will push towards despite the consequences (though that should be taken into consideration and thought about beforehand). She needs to have a purpose. These things make us human and make characters stronger. Women are more than objects. They have more than their sexuality, the cut of their clothes, or how many people she can take down in a minute to prove that she doesn’t need a man. She needs wants, fears, motivation. That makes her relatable.
- Is there a love interest in the first few chapters? If so, try again. What is the purpose of your character other than to be there as a love interest (unless you’re writing a romance, because there are very many good books out there that have a love interest in the first few chapters – hell, even the first few pages – that are really good). But there should be more to a character than just being there to be dated or desired by another. Don’t get me wrong though, I have been there myself and looking back on a lot of my other books, there are some that I now wish that I had done better by. There are some that I wish I had waited to write until I had grown as an author.
Now, those aren’t all of the things that I think make a good and strong female lead, but they are some. I’m in no way telling you this is HOW you HAVE to write your character, but I’m hoping that it gives a little insight. People are shaped in many ways, whether it be something that happened to them or something that affected them without them even realizing it. Could be like the Butterfly Effect, right? Every small action affects the future and while you’re writing your character, really think about all of these 🙂