Tuesday, August 29, 2017


Women deserve to be well-represented in fiction. They make for awesome characters. Too many times a novel features female characters as sidekicks who could not exist without a male protagonist driving the story. A female character isn't necessary to support the male character's story arc. Females can do quite well on their own and not as dramatis personae existing to create romantic tension. They are, in their own right, as compelling  as any male character. They can drive a story forward quite well in most any plotline.

A strong female protagonist has her share of successes, failures, hopes, and motivations. She doesn't have to be Einstein-smart or a raving beauty. Flawed female characters fascinate readers. Make her real. Give her strengths, weaknesses, quirks, and emotions. Let her feel the whole spectrum of emotions from grief to elation. Force her to make choices, major and minor, right and wrong. Let her win some battles and lose a few.

The greater the challenge, internal or external, blocking her path, the more a reader will relate to her. Seemingly insurmountable hurdles generate conflict and suspense. And they drive a novel and keep readers turning pages. In Dean Koontz' novel, The Silent Corner, rogue FBI agent Jane Hawk had a lot to lose if she stumbled - her son and her life. Other prominent female characters include Lucy Guardino in C.J. Lyons' FBI thrillers, Hermione Granger in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, and Jackie Brown in Elmore Leonard's Rum Punch.