Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Feminine Mystique

Female characters are hard to write. I'm sure I've mentioned this before. I'm not sure why they give me so much trouble, but it's just so hard to give them a proper personality. They tend to be very flat and just… bleh.

Why should they be any more difficult than any other character? I don't know. There's certain expectations. Like, you're supposed to have strong female characters, who are badass and go for what they want. They're supposed to be role models for little girls oppressed by the patriarchy everywhere.

There's a lot of pressure.

And I think there's this expectation that women are more emotional. They're nurturing and soft and they cry at the sight of cute dogs. Obviously that's not true of all women. But that idea is just… out there.

I'm not good with emotion. I don't know what to do with it. That applies to both my writing and my life. I once had a character who had to react to the news of her boyfriend's death, and I actually said, "Oh great, now she has to have emotions." So I skimmed over that real quick and got to the interesting part, which was the boyfriend's journey through the, uh, sub-mortal plane. I didn't want to dwell on this girl and her feelings.

Me, I tend to convey everything with thinly-veiled sarcasm. So why not write my female characters that way? Well, because of a little thing called the Author Avatar. That is, a character that is basically a fictionalized version of the author.

And no one wants that.

Lately, it seems like the "strong" female character is supposed to be secure in her femininity and in control of her sexuality. She is a woman, and she has needs. She's been through some things, but they've only made her stronger.

I can't relate to any of that. "But Mad, you write fiction! It's not like you can relate to being a vampire!" One, you'd be surprised, and two, I don't have any point of reference for this strong female character. I can't even build off of something I know because this whole mindset is completely foreign to me. I see all these posts on Facebook about how "my hardships only built me up into who I am" and "I'm so much stronger than you know." And they mean absolutely nothing to me. I think these are the kind of histories you need to be a strong female character. Without any knowledge of that kind of history, I think I'd end up with a parodic bullshit character who thinks that Marilyn Monroe said, "If you can't handle me at my worst, you don't deserve me at my best." (Hint: she probably didn’t.)

And no one wants that.

What I'm trying to say here is that I have no idea how to write a female character who isn't some kind of stereotype. And there's no good reason why I can't figure it out.

Well, shit. I can't write good characters. I can't describe anything. I can't follow a basic plot structure. I'm a… bad writer. All I can write is murder. Shit.


  1. I just binged on every post on your blog all Netflix and no chill like.
    I may slightly obsess over you for a few days like you're my new favorite band, but I'll try to make it less creepy than I'm being right now. (Sorry).
    I must say I love the way your mind works, not because it's "so out there" but because it's at a strange altitude that I so often find my own fleeting thoughts.

    1. I just read all of your comments and I appreciate the... appreciation. This is what I've been trying to achieve, audience interaction!