Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Weak vs. Strong

I'm tired of female characters who make stupid decisions. Like going out at night, alone, when you know someone's been stalking you for weeks. I mean, really? Even if it's a technique to build suspense, I don't like it. My friend and crit partner refers to this as the BSS, or the Bella Swan Syndrome.

I prefer kick-ass female protagonists (picture Buffy or Katniss). Aren't those the models we want for teenage girls, ones who stand up for their beliefs and protect their friends and family? Yet, I keep reading YA books with female characters that make me want to hurl my Kindle across the room (don't worry, I love my Kindle too much to actually follow through with it).

As a writer, my characters don't start off strong. They have struggles. They're naive. They're unsure of themselves. But they grow into better versions of themselves as they face their fears and self-doubt. These are the kinds of protagonists I want to read about. 

But maybe that's just me. What about you? What kinds of characters do you prefer to read or write?


Dawn Embers said...

I'm with you. One of the books I read lately in YA annoyed me to no end because the Main Character was basically a pawn in the story. The few times she actually did make a decision to act in some way, it only caused trouble and required someone go and save her.

I prefer characters like the ones in Tamora Pierce's novels. Capable females who can sometimes even do the saving themselves. They don't always need a boy to help them all of the time (or an adult) and doesn't spend half the time around boys thinking about how attractive the boys are. I'd rather see strong YA main characters than ones that rarely do things for themselves.

Marcia said...

I don't always love the feisty, spitfire types, but I completely agree about the protags who make stupid decisions simply because the plot requires them to. I stop believing in both the character and the story.

Cheree said...

I love the feisty characters. I really hate female characters who have to wait around for prince charming to save them. I'd rather have them be able to stand on their own.

But, if they have to go out on their own if something's stalking them, I'd prefer that they be the one hunting it down rather than just making a stupid choice.

Anonymous said...

Strong females should be portrayed in literature and in real life. I think the thing I like about Katniss is that not only was she kick-butt, but she retained an air of femininity.

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