So, we’re talking strong female characters, something that is near and dear to me. I will admit that I’ve put books aside when the main character comes across as too passive or weak. I don’t enjoy reading about someone who sits around waiting for someone else to save them, or who only manages to accomplish everything due to sheer dumb luck (something I sometimes call TDTSS: ‘too dumb to survive syndrome’—it’s deadly for a character!).
What makes a character, especially a female character, strong then? Well, honestly, I think that can vary a whole lot depending on the book and setting. There are some awesome examples of leading ladies who are completely capable of leading a revolution, fighting the enemy tooth and nail, and otherwise being strong physically and mentally.
But that’s not the only kind of strength.
Sometimes strength comes in the form of relying on other people, and I don’t have a problem with a character needing to do that (just maybe not all the time). Other times, strength comes in the form of kindness and forgiveness, especially when there’s been some serious harm done. And there are plenty of other ways to demonstrate strength without a gun/sword/ninja skills/fists of steel.
What I’m trying to say is that strength comes in many forms. We are rather familiar with the “kick butt and take names” form that we often see, but it’s not all that there is to strength. In order to form a really well balanced character, I think it’s important to have express strength in a variety of forms. It lends humanity and makes the character identifiable for the reader, which is definitely something that you want. This is definitely something that I worked toward with Leah, the main character in An Absence of Light: while she’s able to kill the Shadows with the best of them, and has a brain to figure out new methods, she also has the strength to be flexible when she needs to. And oh does she need to in Absence! For me, that’s one of my favorite things about Leah and what I hope my readers enjoy, too!
What about you? What makes a character strong? Ever come across TDTSS?