Avoiding the butt-kicking super-chick with absolutely zero personality.
What give a female "strong character"? You have decided your character is going to be female, and you want her character to be "strong". Making her a butt-kicking, foul-mouthed, machine-gunning, metallic bra-wearing, hot-looking super-chick (ooooh so many lovely hyphenations) does not make her strong in character. Don’t get me wrong, you can make her all of the above, I’m sure that would be fun, but you still need to address her character. One of my favourite book and movie characters is Eowyn, Lady of Rohan, niece of King Theoden, from JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. The part was played by Miranda Otto and she nailed the character, portraying Eowyn beautifully. So how did Eowyn have such strong character? An impacting part of Eowyn's nature was her intense desire to fight for King and Country as part of the King's armed forces. She hated that she was born into a female body (this does not make her gay, simply a bit of a tom-boy) in a land where women were expected to perform a more passive role. When asked what she feared, Eowyn replied. “To stay behind bars, until use and old age accept them, and all chance of doing great deeds is gone beyond recall or desire.” Eventually it is Eowyn who battles and destroys the Witch King of Angmar, yet this is not what gives her character strength. Character encompasses the intellectual, psychological, rational, emotional, spiritual and perceptual qualities of a character as well as their distinct moral and ethical qualities. Miranda Otto’s face in the scene where Eowyn faces the enemy is heart breaking. In utter terror she determinedly battles on, assuming she will die. Eowyn is described by Wormtongue (Grima, son of Galmod) as being, “So fair, yet so cold like a morning of pale Spring still clinging to Winter's chill.” Beautiful, yet remote. She is dissatisfied. Resentful. Rejected in love. Rebellious. Discontent. Desperate. Perhaps a little jealous. Determined. Brave. Frightened. Loyal. She was drawn by the “glory” of fighting and even perhaps dying heroically as a means to escape the cage in which life had trapped her. The key here is that it was not battling the Witch King of Angmar that made her a strong character, rather her dissatisfaction and her failings along with her inability to accept herself and the “rules” placed upon her. So when you are creating your strong female character, don’t mix up physical attributes and abilities with actual genuine character and personality.
Get Dan O'Sullivan's Trilogy on Amazon
Book 1 - The Fallen
Book 2 - The Guardians
Book 3 - Child of a Guardian and of the Free