7 Tips to Writing Bad Girls: This May Get Awkward

Batman and Catwoman comic
Credit: Tony S. Daniel/DC Comics

Writing a Bad Girl is easy if you’re going for the stereotype, but more difficult if you’re going to try to go out of the mold.  We’ll see what we can come up with here.  It might be a bunch of ‘Do Not!’ tips to avoid going over heavily trodden ground.  Let’s see what happens . . . Sorry in advance.

  1. Sex does not always have to be involved.  You can have them be mysterious and rebellious as well as attractive, but they don’t have to be introduce eating a lollipop in an unnatural way.  We get the phallic symbolism of food, so get her away from the corndog vendor.  Just try to find other ways to demonstrate that this is a character who is different than those who follow the rules.
  2. Like the jacket of the Bad Boy, you might have to put some leather on this character.  I don’t know why this fabric is used so often by these characters, but that’s what seems to happen.  Maybe they hate cows?  Still, you don’t have to make the clothing so tight that they need to be removed with the jaws of life.  We know women have curves, but you can show them off without asphyxiation.  Also, whips and chokers don’t always mean Bad Girl.
  3. Research what has been done and give your Bad Girl something different.  Maybe she has glasses and not in the ‘remove to be sexy’ way.  She could have a curious hobby like pottery, stained glass window making, or anything other than hanging out at the bar or arcade.  This might be tough because people connect certain stigmas to these kinds of activities that go against the archetype.  What can you do?
  4. For the love of ‘Grease 2’, remember that this character, much like all characters, is about attitude more than appearance.  There are certain physical tells that you might use, but they have to act the part.  Don’t make them sexy, have them sleep around, and that’s it.  You don’t get a Bad Girl from that.  You get an adult magazine centerfold and I don’t mean the model.  I mean, that kind of character has the same dimensions as the inanimate picture.  Focus more on having them act rebellious and demonstrate why they are considered a Bad Girl by others.
  5. You can always make a society with norms and rules that differ from reality.  Maybe everyone is athletic and takes sports seriously . . . More so than here.  The Bad Girl could be the one who is more interested in the library, which is most people don’t realize exists.  The key is that they operate the opposite way that the rest of society does.
  6. This one might not go over as well as the others.  A Bad Girl does not ALWAYS have to be pitted against men.  It’s weird, I know.  I’ll admit that this is an easy way to get positive attention though.  People love this type of plot line.  Yet, it can only end in so many ways, which have been done.  Find other things for them to rail against and develop their Bad Girl persona.  I’m going to add that the overbearing mother who doesn’t understand has been used a lot also.  Maybe her Bad Girl identity comes from some activism that she’s into like saving the environment in an area where other people don’t care.  Make the enemy an entity instead of an easily identifiable figure.  This is very difficult, but Bad Boys have non-specific adversaries all the time, so Bad Girls should be able to do the same.
  7. SHE DOES NOT HAVE TO FALL IN LOVE!  Seriously, this is not a requirement for Bad Girls.  They seem to get tamed with the ease of opening an unlocked door.  Let them stay independent and free.  Just like the Bad Boy doesn’t always settle down, she doesn’t have to drop her rebellious nature.  Even if she fights and wins against the system, she can still remain who she is.  Romantic storylines are okay if it’s supposed to be a romance, but beyond that you really need to be careful.

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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27 Responses to 7 Tips to Writing Bad Girls: This May Get Awkward

  1. Pingback: 7 Tips to Writing Bad Girls: This May Get Awkward – Wade Hinson

  2. L. Marie says:

    These tips are spot on–especially the attitude. I have a character like this in a YA novel I’m working on. She lives by her own rules. Your tips remind me to go deeper with her–to get at what makes her who she is.

    Like

  3. Wait a minute, didn’t you promise awkward? I don’t see this as awkward. I’m getting a theme here that she breaks societal norms, but could be different than some of the tropes we’ve seen. In fact she probably should be different. I think some of that sexual angle has to remain. It’s kind of definitive of the bad boy, or he’d just be the antagonist or the anti-hero. What do you think of that Idea?

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  4. Reblogged this on Nicholas C. Rossis and commented:
    Some great writing tips from Charles!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I totally agree especially with 7.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I would add to your #2 that a Bad Girl could show her rebellion by refusing to do the beauty routines that are demanded of women. No hair salon, nail parlor or makeup-before-leaving-the-house phobia for the Bad Girl!

    This doesn’t mean she has to be disheveled or reek because she refuses to wear deodorant. Just that she has better things to do with her time than get her nails done. For me, most of my life, money has been so tight that I could not have done most of that. I had to pay rent before I could think about hair styles.

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    • That’s an option. I think it would depend on how rebellious a person thinks that is. I’ve known more women who go against that standard than for it, so it doesn’t feel like a rebellion to me. It’s another issue of the bad girl being an evolving character type unlike the locked in bad boy.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Rick Ellrod says:

    Enjoyed the reference to “Grease 2” — I thought I was the only person who likes that movie. 🙂 “[A]ttitude more than appearance” — exactly.

    Rick

    Like

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