Strong Male Characters

Some thoughts on what I’ve been trying to do in my writing.

When I think of a strong female character, I don’t think of a weapon-wielding, no-crap-taking, never-crying type of girl. I think of a “strong” character as a well-fleshed-out one. One who sticks in your mind because she is living and breathing on the page in front of you. It is vital to have strong female characters in fiction.

However, a fictional woman’s strength and reality is cheapened when she is surrounded by cardboard men. It’s relatively easy for me (a woman) to write women well. It is much more difficult for me to write strong male characters. Particularly when it comes to love interests.

I think the most important thing is character consistency. His stated strengths and weaknesses need to play real roles. If he’s a bad boy with a heart of gold, does he always know when to be a good boy and when to be a bad boy? No. He needs to slip up. If he’s never actually bad “on screen,” then he’s not a bad boy.

If, on the other hand, he’s a perfect, selfless angel, then he’d better be upright and selfless when it might be more convenient to be otherwise.

Inconsistent, weak males who are just there to be walked on by “strong” females have the added anti-bonuses of setting up unreal expectations and glorifying unhealthy relationships.

Then again, maybe I simply don’t understand the “romance” genre.

Just some thoughts.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled yarning.

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4 thoughts on “Strong Male Characters

  1. Great post Julia! I agree that there needs to balance between the male and female characters, making both strong in their own ways. That’s what I really hope to do with having times of following the perspective of Jamie, Marcus, and Samuel to help in developing that.

    I am someone who reads romances and I believe that there should be a back in forth when it comes to who is feeling stronger. All characters have their hard times and having a love interest that is strong for them at that time is important.

    Strong, well-rounded characters, that follow your definition, will always make a story better. 🙂

  2. That’s right! No cardboard cut outs for any of the characters. Well rounded, with flaws and strengths. Make them real.
    Good post!

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