Post Revisited: What Do You Want in Female Characters?

This post went live on July 18th, 2013.  It created a fun conversation.  Hope to have another, but let’s be civil.  Also I’m not sure what the original pictures were.  They seem to have disappeared from the original.

One of the big things about Legends of Windemere: Prodigy of Rainbow Tower is the introduction of Nyx and Trinity.  They are the female spellcasters for both sides of the conflict and I think they’re badasses.  Very powerful and very tough while still retaining their femininity.  I’m proud of how they turned out because they are the types of female characters that I love to read.  I will mention that I read mostly fantasy and action, so this is going to be a light combat-skewed.

I picked the Mr. & Mrs. Smith clip because it is one of my favorite fight scenes.  Not because of the banter and the flow of it.  Those are good, but I love how there is not a single point where Angelina Jolie’s character felt weak or overpowered.  This was done without making Brad Pitt’s character come off as weak.  They are even in terms of skill, physicality, and determination.  She gives as good as she gets and the movie wasn’t afraid to she her taking a shot.  I think female heroes shouldn’t be treated with kid gloves and should be shown taking a hit.  More importantly, taking a hit and fighting back.  I’m not talking about taking a hit, crying, and then doing a cheap shot.  That makes a female character cunning, but rather weak.

Xena: Warrior Princess

Xena: Warrior Princess

The third factor of a female character that makes me enjoy her is the retention of her female mentality while still being a badass.  I’m not talking beating people up while breast-feeding, which is a scene written by someone in college that I shall never cleanse from my mind.  I mean the character can be emotional in a tender, gentle way when the situation calls for it.  She doesn’t get confused when a guy hugs her after she’s killed a band of orcs.  She hugs him back and makes a joke about getting blood on him.  I say this should go for male characters too if you’re aiming for the sensitive hero.  Sensitivity does not equal weak, which is an assumption that has to stop.Focusing on the giving part of the equation, I love it when a female character can take out a male character without converting to a masculine version of herself.  Speed, agility, skill, and grace over power and brawn.  Even better if both characters are cunning because that makes either of their victory a lot sweeter.  It’s strange how people still do the weak female character or turn them into a tough, heartless bitch that will inevitably be thawed by the male lead.  I think I threw up a bit on that one.  Give me my Xena’s, Fiona from Burn Notice, and Buffy.  Still moments of sensitivity, but they will happily beat the crap out of someone that crosses them.

Finally, I love my female villains to be smart, but still able to fail and not whores.  I’ve noticed a trend with many female villains that they are one of two types.  They are either the seductive ho villain or they are so smart and perfect that you can’t believe they’re going to be defeated.  It’s like the writers are either misogynistic (that right?) or are terrified to make a female villain that is as bungling as some of the male villains.  I’m looking at you Gargamel and Skeletor.  I want my female villains to be as realistic as my male villains with the same amount of smarts, evil, confidence, and touch of ineptitude.  That might sound strange, but it makes me enjoy the character even more.

Heck, I like it when my female heroes have the same level of ineptitude of a male hero.

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman

That’s why Nyx is about as flawed as Luke Callindor in terms of personality.  She might not have his ego and recklessness, but she has that nasty temper.

So, I like my female characters to be smart, flawed, able to take a hit, and able to go toe-to-toe with the male characters.  What do you look for in female characters?

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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70 Responses to Post Revisited: What Do You Want in Female Characters?

  1. C.S. Wilde says:

    Kudos for the Xena mention ^_^

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Helen Jones says:

    I was thinking about this very thing the other day, Charles! I even wrote a part of a post about it. I agree with everything you’ve said, and I would like to add, spare me the scene where the tough kickass female character has her ‘pretty’ moment- you know, where she shows up at a ball or party all gussied up and all of a sudden all the guys she’s been fighting alongside realise she is *gasp* gorgeous – as though having a brave heart and kickass fighting skills aren’t enough. I remember years ago when I went to the World Karate Championships and the female American team were in a poster titled ‘Women of the American Team.’ This poster featured them all as soft lit, heavily made up, foofed and primped dolly birds, rather than the fierce, talented fighters they were. It still makes me sad to think of it, that it was felt these women needed to be presented this way, to ‘remind’ the world they were still feminine. I don’t recall a corresponding beefcake poster of the male team. Sorry, long answer to a short question 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m torn on the ‘pretty’ moment only because there is a male equivalent. The hardened fighter cleans up and wows everyone by looking like a gentleman. I think the whole thing could be boiled down to the character being described and one person saying ‘you look nice’. It really connects to the idea of seeing someone in another role/suit, but it’s bizarre that it’s exaggerated for female characters. Never heard of the World Karate thing, but I remember the Women’s World Cup going through something similar. As far as beefcake equivalent, there is the male firefighter thing. There’s a lot more to this whole thing that makes me wonder why so many think it’s simple.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Helen Jones says:

        Yes, you’re right – it definitely is a complex issue. And my point about the Karate thing was in the context of the competition, rather than the wider world – that we were all there to celebrate our fighting skills, yet there was an apparent need to ‘prettify’ the female fighters. I like your point about Mr & Mrs Smith and how they were portrayed as equals because really, that is real life. We all bring our own strengths and intelligence to the table, and they all have value 🙂

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      • I remember a recent pictorial that had female athletes nude (yet posed to cover the naughty parts) and it was to show how a muscular female form was beautiful too. I’ve seen it with guys too, but there was a big deal about this because they weren’t the ‘classic’ or ‘supermodel’ beauties. I think we’re looking at a slow evolution of perception here and driving it hard can cause issues. If that makes any sense.

        There really should be more character couples like Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Not saying they should be entirely equal, but complimentary to each other.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Helen Jones says:

        Definitely 🙂

        Like

    • zombiephreak says:

      Ah, the “Pretty moment,” my favorite example is in the Harry Potter series when Hermione comes down the stairs for the Yule ball. It made me roll my eyes and think, “yeah she’s pretty right now,” but remember how smart, cunning and resourceful she was all along without having to be in a dress, make-up, jewelry and heels? Those are pretty desirable qualities in a woman too!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. zombiephreak says:

    I want a strong, independent, intelligent, financially responsible, bad-ass woman in a work of fiction. Too often women in fiction are portrayed as helpless, flailing damsels in distress who don’t know how to handle money and need a big strong smart man to come to their rescue all the time. And frankly I can’t think of a better example of a great female character than Wonder Woman. She truly is a wonder 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • She’s definitely one of the greats. Though I’m seeing more female characters come out as what you describe, but there’s another flaw turning up. Many seem to design these characters along with a ‘prove I’m better than a man’ plot line. Look at how ‘Supergirl’ seems to constantly bring up her gender while ‘Xena’ was more subtle. I’d prefer that a female character prove she’s strong and independent instead of being told that she is, which is what seems to happen far too often. I mean, if we don’t need the males to announce their strength then why should the females have to do it? Just act and prove it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. L. Marie says:

    Such a great post! Totally agree. And you provided some great examples. My least favorite female heroes are of the tough, heartless variety. They’re usually humorless too. A woman can still be a woman and be strong too. And please give her a sense of humor. I enjoy the Supergirl show for that reason (though I’m not a fan of love triangles).

    I love the notion that a strong hero does not mean a diminished villain. I love Black Widow for that reason. She goes up against some powerful villains with her skill set. She has to be cunning.

    You do a great job with your female heroes. They take a beating and give one in return. But you never forget that they’re female.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My wife and I actually gave up on Supergirl fairly quickly because it felt like it was trying to scream ‘WOMAN STRONG!’ too often. I mentioned it in the comment to zombiephreak, but there’s something to be said for subtlety. It really felt like Supergirl was placed in a world where misogyny is exaggerated. I think in terms of storytelling, there’s a trend that you can’t let people even consider a female hero is weak at any moment or even the underdog. If you fear it might come off that way, you end up having a dialogue from someone about girl power or even mocking the opponent for ‘getting beat by a girl’. Why is that still an insult these days?

      Yeah. I think I should avoid conversations about the Supergirl series. Sucks too because I was so looking forward to it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • L. Marie says:

        I was ready to give up on Supergirl because of the issues you brought up (that and the love triangle). Those aspects were totally annoying. But I was glad to see some improvement. I think season two will be better, once the writers relax and realize they don’t have to be so blatant. They should take a page out of Joss Whedon’s handbook.

        That’s why Wonder Woman is probably one of my favorites, though I admit to having some concerns about the upcoming Wonder Woman movie. We’ll see what happens in the Batman v Superman movie. But Wonder Woman and Xena (used to watch that show faithfully) are great examples of characters done well.

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      • I guess the other reason for my issues with the show is that they hurled so much out there. Felt like they didn’t want to save anything for later and that kind of weakened her to me. For example, I think Supergirl should have been allowed to work as a solitary and learn on her own before introducing the military. It gives a sense that she needs backup and I still have no idea why Cyborg Superman (Hank Henshaw) is in there. As far as Joss Whedon goes . . . he’s good, but I think he could use some improvement too. Buffy takes Angel’s soul after sex? Willow goes insane after her lover dies? Black Widow was made infertile? At least Kaylee got a happy ending.

        Wonder Woman is always awesome. I finally got to see the 2009 animated movie and wish they did a sequel. Then again, we do get a live action soon and I’m looking forward to BvS. The new trailer got my attention. I think there’s a surprising number of heroines in comics though. Wasp, Black Canary, Hawkgirl, Vixen, Jessica Jones, Ms. Marvel, Lady Sif, etc. I just wish they’d get used more often.

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  5. noelleg44 says:

    I have one in my books: she’s smart and intuitive, a little snarky, takes risks where she shouldn’t, but is also a mother and is attractive to men. She takes a beating on the regular basis, but isn’t afraid to take on her opponents. Definitely NOT helpless!

    Like

    • Very cool. I like how you have her be strong and maternal. That lack of fear even in the face of a beating is something I always try for. Sounds mean when I say it that way, but I see it as knowing my female heroes can take it and dole it out.

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  6. L. Marie says:

    The 2009 Wonder Woman was really good. I’m sorry they dropped the ball on a sequel. 😦
    There are quite a few heroines. It’s great to see some of them getting a show like Jessica Jones. Black Canary is okay. I liked her in Young Justice. Back in the day (in the Green Lantern/Green Arrow comic book days I collected as a kid) she was Oliver Queen’s girlfriend mostly. Kinda boring.
    I agree with you that Supergirl should have had her Supergirl Begins year–working solo. I hope pairing her with the military isn’t a subtle hint that a woman can’t make it without an organization backing her up. 😦 I don’t quite know when Hank Henshawe will reveal himself. Is he Cyborg Superman as per the comics? Or will he turn out to be Martian Manhunter as some bloggers have speculated? (Though he’s J’onn J’onzz.).

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    • Not sure they dropped a ball though. DC never really went for animated sequels outside of Batman and those weren’t really connected. I was actually thinking of Black Canary from the comics where she was a big superhero. You might be thinking of the time when she was depowered and getting over a trauma. I have a few of those issues and I think she had been beaten and raped by an enemy, so she had PTSD. It wasn’t that she was boring, but freshly broken. I’ve read others where she was with confident and powered up to be his equal. I see you have the same wonder about the government group as I did.

      Hank Henshaw is obviously not the comic version of Cyborg Superman. He’d have to look like him for that to work. I’ve heard the Martian Manhunter idea, but I really hope that isn’t true. It’d make so little sense unless they revamped him to the point where you can imagine the writers peeing on a stack of comics. Is it really so hard to at least show some respect for the source material?

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      • L. Marie says:

        I’ve noticed that the TV shows tend to do their own thing. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t. 😦 I like Martian Manhunter, so I wouldn’t want to see him in a reduced role on this show.
        I’m not sure why in shows and movies, a shadowy government organization has to be included. I’d like to see them move away from that model.

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      • I’m more scared that they’ll make him a bad guy. Also, how do you bring in a male heavy hitter like MM when the show is supposed to be pushing a strong female hero? No idea about the shadowy government organization. It’s always a fun plot line, but totally overused.

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  7. Bill says:

    Charles-

    Women who face the same trials, failures, set backs, successes and victories as men.

    This is almost never the case, especially in fantasy. Male characters are tested by failure, wounds, choices that test their integrity or character;

    Do I save my brother/wife/friend or sacrifice them for the greater good?
    Can I make it across this cold barren mountain?
    Can I survive as a slave in a gladiator arena?
    Can I defeat this enemy that seems to have every advantage in power?

    Male characters go on impossible quest, are scared, broken, rise usually stronger.

    Women, especially in fantasy, are tested by access to their bodies.
    How does she rebound from rape?
    Do they sleep with a man to gain an army that will save her people? (greater good)
    Do they allow a man to sleep with them to please someone important?
    Is she willing to make the sacrafice to marry for peace?
    She’s destined to give birth to the chosen child, so must endure whatever it takes to make that happen…ect..ect..

    Male characters almost never are tested that way. Male characters test, their “‘rights of passage” are almost never about sex, female characters “rights of passage” are almost always about either sex, access to their bodies or sexual violence.

    So, i want to read about female characters…who faces trials of their integrity, bravery, mind. Characters who sometimes fail but always get up, even if it takes awhile to recover. Characters who maintain their integrity (whatever that is) when it comes to their bodies.

    Liked by 2 people

    • L. Marie says:

      I really appreciate your response, Bill. You’re so right. Sometimes fantasy writers are caught up in how women were perceived at certain times, especially if they have a medieval bent. I’ve seen young adult stories break this mold however. (Though many fall back on the love triangle aspect which gets old fast.)

      Like

    • I’ve actually been toying with the idea of having a male hero who has to face the ‘rape’ danger. It’s a plot line that tends to be geared more toward women for some reason. I wonder if it’s because they’re usually the target in reality. Another reason the sex storyline might be more common for women is because that hits nerves more often. For example, a female character going through such story lines tend to be part of serious, dramatic story. For a male, it’s usually put in a comedy. Almost like we take female sexuality to one extreme and male sexuality to another when they should both be treated the same.

      Another author once told me that a big difference between heroes and heroines is that that former could be beaten to death without anyone complaining. There’s still a fear about putting female characters through the same rigors as males, so that ‘sexual test’ might be seen by many as a safe zone. Honestly, I don’t get it.

      Like

      • Bill says:

        Charles,

        I agree and think it’s a sad commentary that folks don’t recognize that rape is an act of violence in itself.

        I’ve made no secret of my dislike for a situation in your book where a character had sex with a man she had no feelings for simply to please her father and meet social expectations, completely compromising her integrity. Because I know the indigestion that situation cause you, In asking this question, you’ve gained my respect even more than before.

        To me, it’s not about violence or sex, a little or a a lot, it’s about character agency and integrity. Men get to keep theirs in fantasy, women most often don’t.

        L.Marie- the only other thing I would say or change, is where you say sometimes, I would change to often. Take a look at the top 100 of any fantasy list, many YA included, the theme is an epidemic, even for the well intended.

        Back to the original question- change the gender and ask …. would I find this person heroic, if yes, then proceed …

        Now all of this ignores that men and women are different (a fact that really makes me happy) but in worlds with magic, demons, angles, unicorns, impossible realities.. why be limited by conventional gender roles?

        Fantasy: ” imagination, especially when extravagant and unrestrained.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah. That situation, which I’m sure is going to get worse before it gets better. For me and the characters.

        As far as fantasy gender roles go, I think part of it stems from the focus on medieval mentalities. It is rather lazy though. On the other hand, these are situations and personas that occur in the real world. So they probably shouldn’t be banned entirely. They should only be used if they make the most amount of sense for the world, story, and characters. As an author, it’s really hard to find that balance because everyone has their own opinion on what works and what doesn’t work.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Bill says:

    Agreed 100%

    Funny….”That Situation”….

    Damned if you do, damned if you don’t and everybody has an opinion… (like me)…

    To be candid, I was a happy reader of the normal until I read this post at Drunken Dragon Review almost a year ago, it’s caused me to reconsider what I read and why…. at the very least it challenged me.

    https://drunkendragonreviews.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/a-paradigm-shift/

    Liked by 1 person

    • L. Marie says:

      Thanks for that link, Bill. I completely agree, particularly with this: “Characters who face the same set of circumstances, the same set of choices, choose the same sort of answers, over and over and over. Writing that often as not barely seems functional, imagination often stilted and shoved aside for a perverted sense of ‘realism’, a shabby excuse to use shock factor to stun and repulse readers.”

      Like

    • Interesting. One thing I wonder after reading that is the influence of the old on the new. I know for myself that I grew up reading standard fantasy, so that’s where I gravitate as an author as well. I do try to change things, but at the same time I see people get annoyed at that. Also at the standard fantasy. I’ve actually kind of stopped trying to either hit the marks of fantasy or avoid them. Seems it’s a headache either way, so I just try to tell the story that’s in my head. Doesn’t always come across well and I think that tactic does mean I take more from the old than I even realize. I do agree with the shock value thing that L. Marie mentions. It has a time and place in fiction, but now it feels like that’s all some people want out of a story, especially fantasy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • L. Marie says:

        I’m not a fan of she shock value technique. Once that wears off, then what?
        We’ve all been influenced to a degree. I grew up with comic books ages ago. Grew up with a science fiction loving dad who read Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury. I gravitated toward epic fantasy, reading Tolkien, Lewis, Tad Williams, etc. along with Beowulf, The Wanderings of Oisin, and such. Heavily male-centric. I don’t have a problem with that. I like a good heroic tale. Found Ursula LeGuin and Garth Nix later. Nix’s Sabriel is one of my favorite books.
        That’s how I happened to discover your blog and your books, Charles. 🙂 You weren’t afraid to let your female heroes take a beating. 🙂

        Like

      • I’d say one shock per book or every 5-6 chapters. Then again, most people think character death and betrayals when it comes to shock value. It could be milder and even happy, but nobody seems to use that very often.

        I grew up with fantasy too, but I seem to have stumbled onto ones with strong female characters. Maybe I just gravitated toward them on the page too. The old ones are definitely male-centric though. At least Tolkien was. Narnia was better in that respect. Funny thing about my stuff is that it all stems from Nyx since she was the first female character for Windemere. Mostly that the player kept charging into battle and getting decked in the first round, so I felt like I had to make book Nyx a force to be reckoned with and durable.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Bill says:

        I’m probably not the norm. I read a minimum of 2 books a week (lots of hotel and flight time). Yes, I want my “comfort” reading, but I’ve also tried to supplement those sessions with new and diffrent fiction this last year. I have a strong bias to independent/self published authors and make every effort to support them. Story is a lot more important to me than minor editing issues. My amazon review ranking is #59,000 with 81% helpful but I had found that my reviews were becoming more critical and I didn’t like that. (that’s why that drunken dragon essay resonated with me) I had to consider, are books getting worse or am I reacting to them in a different way? I concluded, the books were no worse, but due to my rate of consumption, I needed to do a better job of find books I would enjoy. I just wan’t willing to accept the usual tropes anymore.

        As a reader the though thing is, it’s often many books into a series before the type of situations we’ve been discussing take place. What do you do then? Stop reading, keep reading despite falling out of love with the series?

        I’ve come to rely more and more on like minded reviewers and review sites to help fine tune my book selections, to avoid the frustration I was experiencing previously.

        To your point

        “I just try to tell the story that’s in my head”

        I think that’s exactly the right thing to do. The gap isn’t in the stories or type of stories, their are as many reader preferences as their are authors. The key is communicating to people like me, what it is you write, who you are as a writer, so that we see your name on a title we know it’s an author we trust with our time.

        As a reader, I don’t need to know what the story will be but I’m much more likely to purchase a book from a writer who’s style I know.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Interesting. As a slow reader, I never had to face that issue. Yet I can see how that happens and I have a fast reading friend who is in that boat. He devours zombie books and he’s becoming jaded to them. Nothing seems to satisfy his literary desires when it comes to the genre. His reviews become almost hyper-critical too. The odd thing about tropes though is that the book that a reader points a finger at is never the same one. It’s all about exposure and I’ve seen people call one book a new take on a genre while others say it’s old hat. The difference is that the former read the work earlier in their exposure, which supports your statement that books aren’t really getting worse.

        That last part is always a trick too. An author might want to shake things up at some point or they think they’re doing one thing while it comes off as something else. Especially in a long series, some things fall flat because you don’t want to bluntly scream what it is. Many times I’ll think a scene or action means one thing and then realize that 5 people have their own interpretations. This issue has actually caused some authors I know to just quit because they can’t take the debating.

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  9. L. Marie says:

    Good thinking about Nyx. 🙂

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  10. Bookwraiths says:

    I prefer strong women characters who are more than just a male character with a female name. In other words, there should be a difference in a heroine’s actions, thought process and demeanor from her male counterparts. Wonder Woman has been mentioned numerous times, and I’d have to agree, because she generally (There have been some rough spots in her history though.) is the best example of the perfect heroine, in my opinion: tough, caring, and bad-ass when necessary. Diana is definitely not Superman in a different costume.

    One thing I’ve seen too much of lately is fantasy authors attempting to be “creative” by basically turning the archaic “man-rescues-damsel-in-distress” story into “woman-rescues-man-in-distress” story. What is creative about merely changing the roles in the same tired, old story? It’s not, and it isn’t helping to evolve the genre away from sexual discrimination as much as changing which gender we are discriminating against.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      Bookwraiths

      That’s an excellent point, I guess I meant you can have both. You can have a strong woman, who is a woman but without the typical challenges presented ONLY to women. The challenges don’t need to be different, only the way in each would deal with this in their individual manner.

      I’d prefer Man & Woman or Woman…or Man ….rescues the world 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve been trying so hard not to mention a certain comic book character with this post, but your first line is making it really hard. Female Thor . . . I’m weak. 😀

      Great point on role reversal being over done these days. It might have been creative at first, but now it seems to appear all the time. A hero doing the rescue shouldn’t be judged by their gender. Wonder Woman and Superman have rescued men and women all the time. I’m sure they’ve saved each other too. There will always be characters who need rescuing, but again what’s the point of crowing about the gender like so many stories do these days. Another character that I grow tired of is the ‘tough woman’ that seems to be used without a reason. It always seems to simply be what they are born like instead of shaped by events.

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  11. I love all your female characters. They all have moxie and a strong sense of self. They also have deep feelings which makes them well-rounded and not cliches.

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  12. Bill says:

    “That last part is always a trick too. An author might want to shake things up at some point or they think they’re doing one thing while it comes off as something else. Especially in a long series, some things fall flat because you don’t want to bluntly scream what it is. Many times I’ll think a scene or action means one thing and then realize that 5 people have their own interpretations. This issue has actually caused some authors I know to just quit because they can’t take the debating.”

    Understood…but I expect peaks and valleys, different tones within a multi book series. Imagine how boring it would be if they were all carbon copies of the previous! Then of course the ever present ..”what color is the beach ball?”, of course that answer depends on what side of the table you are sitting , your perspective when you view the ball.. leading to 5 different interpretations.

    What I meant was more about the writers style. A safe example: I absolutely LOVE GJ Kelly -for no other reason than his dialogue, the quips and character interactions make me laugh, even in the toughest situations. When I read his books, I know I’m going to get spectacular dialogue, anecdotes and quirky secondary characters that you end up really caring about. When I read Neil Gaimen I know I’m going to get haunting stories ..that are sometimes hard to read…whatever the particulars. China Meivelle….I’m just going to get confused…but love it anyway. 😛

    So it’s not so much the specific content, it’s more what they “do”… they do consistently.

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    • Never heard of the beach ball question, but it makes sense.

      I get it now. It’s how they present the content instead of the content itself. Kind of like how you know what kind of art you’ll get from various artists before you even open the comic book.

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  13. Bill says:

    Exactly….

    Mark Lawrence Prince of Thorns vs. Prince of Fools.
    One protagonist is a damaged, brutal, uncompromising near sociopath the other willing to compromise anything- yet again and again an unwilling self depreciating hero.

    The main characters and story are exact opposites written by the same author but I know how he presents his content so I purchased both.

    The beach ball- you’ll never reach total consensus, perceptions are as much about what people bring to the conversation as what you present. You (or your friend) will drive yourself crazy if you try.

    Some would see the “situation” as parity, minor, meaningless….they would be no less right or wrong than me, just having a different perspective. To them, the ball would be green, where I saw it as blue from my seat.

    Speaking of perspectives…I just had an epiphany

    Maybe it’s because the guy was an underserving jerk…and used it as a weapon against her and Luke…. (I just gained a new perspective on my reaction!) Wow..now I can forgive her.. 🙂

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    • The beach ball reminds me of a rule in college: More than 2 people and you’ll never agree on pizza toppings. Only because with 2 people you can do half and half.

      I do think Caspar being a undeserving jerk is the big factor. Never realized how big it would be though, which is why I got left scratching my head a bit. Good point on the weapon thing against her too. I had him aiming for Luke and didn’t realize how it was a shot at her as well.

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  14. L. Marie says:

    Well, the latest Supergirl just revealed definitively who Hank Henshaw is. . . .

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  15. L. Marie says:

    Though I’d heard the rumors, I didn’t really think they would go there.

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  16. Bill says:

    Makes sense, heck I was bothered and didn’t realize why until now. Truth is, you could never factor all the variables of human emotions. There is also personal bias, folks like me who have high sensitivity to those kind of circumstances likely give the situation too much weight. Don’t let it bother you, we are talking about fictional characters. The good news is the conclusion of the story is yet untold. What happens next is much more important than what happened before. It’s folly to judge that kind of decision by an author in the middle of a story.

    Be well sir!

    Like

    • Great point. I definitely got flustered by those who threw up their hands and got angry at what was the first hurdle for the story line. I’m actually reminded about how people get very upset whenever something happens in ‘Game of Thrones’. Martin (and whoever is writing the show now) know where they’re going, but the audience/readers don’t. So what might be a logical step toward the ending might seem a terrible idea at the time. As you said, it comes down to what happens next and even how the characters react to their own mistakes.

      Like

  17. Bill says:

    It’s so funny you mentions Game of Thrones. That single scene basically broke a 5 year trajectory for the show. I didn’t like it because it wasn’t story driven, the producer said they did it to get the actress more scenes than the original Sansa had written in the book and this was the vehicle. Everyone focus on the season finale numbers, the John Snow story line viewership but the than episode 1 and 10 it turned out to be an awful season, fueled by that scene. See this … lesson, even the golden egg can break.

    This will be a very important season, to see if the show can regain it’s momentum. I would think they need to close the loop on that situation sooner rather than later.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I couldn’t get into Game of Thrones. A friend pitched the books as ‘every character you like will die’ and the times I tried to watch the show were ill-timed. Randomly put it on to always catch death, nudity, violence, or rape. So I’m not sure which scene you’re pointing at. I remember there being quite a few over the years that riled people up. I’ve heard people say it went astray when Martin returned to focusing on the books.

      Like

  18. Bill says:

    Season 5, episode 6 a character, Sansa Stark is brutally raped. The scene didn’t exist in the book and was crated to give the “actress” more screen time. Two weeks later the series had 1,500,000 fewer viewers. While the series recovered many viewers, many were lost by forever. The last 3 episodes were of a more epic scale about a greater challenge involving John Snow… without the John Snow episodes it would have been an even tougher year for the show.

    That said, on the topic of Female Characters, Aria is my favorite character in the entire series.

    Think of her as a 5’2 90b dark night or punisher in training.. (Batman) a survivor, full of agency, uncompromising and committed to her chosen path… the best character in the book IMHO.

    She has a (growing) list of those deserving justice for their acts, and their names are part of a mantra she repeats every night.

    She scares me a bit….. I like that…

    Like

    • Aria is the one played by Mazie Williams, right? I’ve heard people praise that character and fear for her safety considering what happens on that show. I did hear about that Sansa scene, but didn’t see the backlash on my FB feed. Saw more anger over something with the incest storyline and a tomb? Not being a watcher, I get lost a lot. All I’ve gotten is that most of the ‘big scenes’ deal with sex or violence, which might not be a clear view of the series. As far as that specific scene, I can definitely see how that would anger people. Especially when it’s done to give her more screen time. So many things to do and they go with that?

      Like

  19. Bill says:

    Yep. Maisie … well hopefully she’s too young as a character to get the Sansa treatment.. They later framed it as her growth moment… which is kind of funny considering the topic of this thread.

    Like

    • True. Hope the character steers clear of that treatment too. I’m curious if the use of death and sexual violence to such a degree in popular shows is causing a level of de-sensitization. A lot of people talk about the fictional events without a care.

      Like

  20. Bill says:

    I believe it goes hand in hand. In a word of Dragons, reincarnation, zombies and assorted other fantasy elements…. the one thing that MUST be historically accurate is the brutal treatment of women in patriarchal society.

    Like

  21. I was sure I commented on this in your original posting, but looking back I can’t find where I did, so… What I dislike about the way women characters are handled in books is how the cover copy will describe them as tough, or brilliant, or whatever — and SEXY. No matter what her other qualities are, SEXY will take over everything else. And the cover art will show her with peek-a-boo armor or a slinky evening dress and then with a sword or gun, as if somehow that gives her credibility.

    For what it’s worth, I have a few suggestions about what writers can do with women characters. A) Don’t dwell on her appearance, beyond the basic descriptions you would use for any character. Getting too much into her appearance makes her SEXY.

    B) Treat her with respect. Don’t take her hostage or place her in humiliating situations. At all cost, do not treat her as a sexual party favor.

    C) If she holds a position of authority, don’t make her yield that authority to men who haven’t earned her regard. If she holds low rank, she might have to argue to be heard. Let her do that.

    I could go on, but I’m sure you get the point. Women who read are just like any minority who want to enjoy the story without seeing avatars of ourselves insulted and degraded. If you’re interested in issues of how women can be discriminated against in subtle or not-so-subtle ways, check out the current TV show, Supergirl. She and her boss, Cat Grant, have some forthright discussions about the hill that women in the workforce have to climb.

    Like

  22. Jack Flacco says:

    For me, female characters have to be strong and independent. They also have to show a vulnerability to them that the audience would find appealing, but not fatigued by their openness. They also have to be able to fight equally side-by-side with their male counterparts. It’s a tough sell, but worth reading!

    Like

    • Fatigued by their openness is a new one. Not exactly sure what you mean by that.

      Like

      • Jack Flacco says:

        In the context of literature, not reading pages and pages of inner thoughts. I notice that with some authors. Sometimes scenes have nothing to do with the plot and the author takes liberties to highlight what the character is thinking and feeling to the point where the reader wants to skip over all of it to get back into the story. This applies to characters in general.

        Like

      • I’ve read a lot of books like that, so I might just be getting numb to it. Also, present tense third person doesn’t really work will with the inner thought thing. It breaks the flow pretty badly. I do agree that if you seem to be spending most of the time inside the character’s head while events are happening, it can be frustrating.

        Like

  23. Watching Xena breastfeed and then fight men (not Orcs, dear, that is a different fandom) was a really great picture of the possibilities of womanhood for me, even though I will never have kids myself.

    Like

    • For a second I thought I wrote about Xena killing orcs. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it. Breastfeeding is an odd one in fiction since I remember it being in a lot of books, but not in movies and TV shows. At least the fantasy books I read where there were female characters with kids. Not sure why we can read about it, but not see it.

      Like

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