Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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What Women Want in Female Characters

Here's an article about women in comics and art. Cool redesigns.

My experience? Women want AGENCY. (If that's you and you haven't seen the move "Lucy" yet, go do that.) They want female characters to have a goal of their own and some ability to influence what happens as they pursue it.

What do my readers ask for in female characters?

Women on the autistic spectrum.

An asexual, aromantic character with some good friends. "I am imagining a very affectionate biromantic asexual genderqueer character who has a passion for gardening, especially growing edible herbs and plants, and loves getting the children involved in the garden too."

Someone using origami to work magic.

A battered, world-weary paladin instead of a shiny, perfect one.

P.I.E. was my own wish: one night after wanting to throw an entire bookstore against a wall, I sat down and wrote a smart, strong urban fantasy hera who is courted by assholes and does NOT fall in love with them, but instead shows interest in a nice guy. Who does not turn out to be a demon, evil spy, villain, or corpse. He's just a little accident-prone.

Someone who could actually unite the squabbling municipalities of southern Louisiana. A gendershifting transwoman. A scientist addressing mental illness. What can happen when women with superpowers have to deal with sexism, glass ceilings, and other bullshit. And most of my female characters on either side of the cape wear practical clothes. Until I got to Dvorak, who uses a boob window for its original purpose: to make men stupid.

A black, British, female steampunk engineer.

This series began with a request for a lesbian couple, one of whom is Deaf and the other walks with a cane, fighting crime together.  Walking the Beat has turned into my only popular series that is ordinary instead of speculative fiction.

Folks, listen to your audience.  Fan ideas can be way better than another McFloozie in a poorly designed swimsuit.
Tags: art, entertainment, gender studies, networking, writing
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