Dennis Coslett

I am a writer and novelist. Welcome to my blog and website. Here, you can learn what is going on in my life and in my writing career.

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Sunday, January 13, 2019

What's the Fuss about Strong Women?

There's been much talk lately about strong female characters, in the wake of controversial changes to Star Trek, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. I am a little nervous about stepping into these waters, but I will do so. Here are a few thoughts on the topic of strong female characters.

Nothing is wrong with female characters in and of themselves. In fact, strong female characters are good for fiction. This is why there have been many strong women in fiction, going back years. Frankly, if the main character in your story is a woman, she should be a strong character.

What is the definition of a strong female character? I think it is simply a woman who takes responsibility for her own life, without needing to rely on anyone else. For example: A strong female character who has been kidnapped by the bad guys doesn't passively wait to be rescued, she gets herself free and either escapes, clobbers her abductors, or clobbers her abductors and escapes.

This would make her an interesting heroine, a flawed but enjoyable character you want to read about and root for.

A strong character isn't strong because they tear others down. They may build up the characters around them, much as Wonder Woman did in the recent movie, but they aren't strong at the expense of another character

They definitely aren't Mary Sues (yes, I'm looking at you, Rae from Star Wars.)

And making a character strong doesn't mean you can forget about telling a good story. That is the real problem, I think, with the controversy over the recent changes to Star Wars, Star Trek, and Doctor Who. The so-called "Social Justice Warriors" have got hold of these franchises and have inserted their messages at the expense of good storytelliing, in the process ruining storied franchise that have brought joy to millions, but now bring anguish.

So, my advice for anyone who wants to create a strong female character for his or her story is this: decide what makes your character strong. Remember that she isn't strong because she is tearing someone else down. She can still have flaws, otherwise she will be a Mary Sue. And, finally, as the saying goes, leave the message to Western Union.

2:22 pm cst          Comments


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About me: I have been writing since the early 1980s, ever since discovering a passion for writing during my senior year in High School. My completed writings include novels, short stories, and newspaper articles. I have completed four novels in that time, and have partially completed two others. I have had little success in finding an agent or a publisher for any of my novels, and have recently taken my efforts online. During the years that I have been writing, I have also served my country as a member of the United States Army's Judge Advocate General's Corps. In the last five years, I have been deployed to Army bases in Iraq, Kansas, and Virginia.

Look for my novel Taylor Made, available from Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. taylor_made_banner.jpg