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.


Book Report: The City in the Lake by Rachel Neumeier


Despite the growing number of books I already own that I still need to read, it’s always fun to pick something random off the library shelf and be delighted by it.

This story explored mirrors and multiple layers of reality, and it kept me intrigued all the way through.

The magic system and its costs were never described in minute detail, but neither did the magic become a deus ex machina when it was used to solve problems. Neumeier struck a balance that I’d like to figure out how to strike myself.

I’d recommend The City in the Lake for preteens and up.