How to Write a Female Character

Last week we covered how to write from a male POV and this week we are tackling how to write from a female POV. This may seem intimidating for guys who know women are complex creatures that can be hard to understand, but first and foremost women are people, so don’t feel too intimidated. Here’s a few tips to help.

Make your female character a person first. All of us have a connection to being human and what that means. We share experiences and feelings, so it’s a good place to start when characterizing.

Avoid stereotypes. Girls are all unique and different. Not every girl likes make-up and shopping, talking about boys, freaks out over spiders, gets their nails done, or is helpless. Your character can share any of these characteristics, but don’t make them a cardboard cutout.

Make her three-dimensional. Make sure she has a goal to strive for, fears, flaws, a personality, and an interesting and relevant past. Make her well-rounded and real and complex, like you would make any other character.

Don’t just make her a love interest. She shouldn’t exist just for some other character to win her as a prize. Give her a real goal to work towards in your narrative or cut the character. Nothing is more boring than a two-dimensional space saver.

Don’t make her use her looks to get what she wants. Not all girls are vixens, nor do they want to be, so don’t treat your character like a stereotype.

Understanding girls

  • Girls are emotional beings and talk about their feelings to deal with them. They seek emotional connections and relationships.
  • Girls talk. They have heart-to-hearts, they gossip, they ask about your day, they tell you about theirs. Talking is how they develop relationships. There’s also a lot more subtext when girls talk, which is why when she says she’s “fine” you better watch out.
  • Girls are always thinking about ten things at once and over-thinking and over-analyzing what others say and do. Sometimes they just can’t help it.

Above all, make her a complex character and you can’t go wrong. I suggest reading a few books with a female protagonist to see what other writers are getting right. This should help you tackle your female characters with confidence. Did I miss anything about female characters? Comment below and, as always, happy writing.

Julia

Follow my column at Our Write Side and on Twitter for more writing tips and inspiration and check out my Facebook for weekly writing prompts and stories.

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