Guest Post – HOW TO WRITE BITCHES

Today’s post is written by Delilah S. Dawson, author of Wicked as they Come, and The Mysterious Madam Morpho.

If you’re like me, you’re a dude, with dude parts.  If you’re not like me, this post is still a good way to find out what goes on in the head of someone completely different than yourself.  Being a large male person all my life, I sometimes find it difficult to know the hopes and wants and fears of women in the stories I write.  It’s also made difficult by what I perceive as a male-dominated entertainment industry littered with fake, one-dimensional women.

I asked Delilah if she’d help us dude authors write realistic, compelling female characters.  Enjoy!  And check out the links to her work at the bottom of her post!

HOW TO WRITE BITCHES

1. First of all, don’t call them bitches. Ever.

2. Unless you’re calling them bad-ass bitches, like it’s a good thing. And if they kill vampires or demons.

3. Consider the female characters from books, movies, games, and comics that have most resonated with you. Make a list of characters, a list of the qualities you admire in them, a list of what you perceive as their flaws, and a list of what makes them unique. Then start drinking, because that’s a lot of stuff to take in.

4. By now, you’ll be noticing that your favorite characters aren’t perfect. Just like real people, they have flaws, and they’ve been through experiences that have changed them. Remember when Hermione had to obliviate her parents? That’s when I realized how much I’d liked her all along, because she liked rules and she liked to raise her hand but when it came down to the line, she was totally metal.

5. When you’re writing your own female character, remember not to use her as a crutch or a stand-in. She is not a puzzle piece perfectly fit to love, vex, or help the male characters. Remember that she doesn’t have to follow traditional roles and will be more interesting if she doesn’t. Princess Leia wasn’t cool because she was a pretty princess; she was cool because she had the best hit rate of the entire Rebel Alliance and didn’t take Han’s crap.

6. Think of the women you know really, really well. Even more so than characters, real people will inform your writing. Your mom, your sister, your first crush– it’s perfectly normal to borrow from people you know and let little moments of your life sneak in. I steal from my life all the time, except for the parts about blood drinkers and submarine sex.

7. Remember not to make women into caricatures. I used to get furious with Stephen King for doing this, when I was a teen. I mean, have you read Carrie? Teenage girls do not proudly gather naked in group showers to pelt people with tampons. Twelve-year old girls do not happily submit to sewer gangbangs. To be more realistic, women do not cry all the time, get obsessed with shoes, or eat a pint of ice cream in front of the TV when sad. We are rich tapestries of feelings and enjoy other dessert items, such as cake.

8. Once you’re written something and polished it, ask a confident woman you trust to read it and ask her, in particular, what she thinks of the female characters. She’ll tell you. You might live through the experience.

9. Remember that every character wants something. Consider in each scene what the woman wants and what she’s willing to do to get it. And remember that, for the most part, women are more open to talking about feelings. Whereas a guy might leave something unsaid or look stubbornly into the sunset, the woman is more likely to ask, “What’s bothering you?

10. Remember that leading ladies are not always beautiful, thin, and/or perfect. I can almost always tell who the main love interest will be in a book written by a dude, about a dude, for dudes, because when she walks in, it’s like a freaking shampoo commercial. Long hair, perfect skin, nice butt, legs up to here. But is that the girl who usually walks in the door? Nope.

11. Relax and enjoy it. If you’re worried about writing realistic women, you’re already halfway there.

Thanks for letting me visit! And I hope you’ll check out THE PECULIAR PETS OF MISS PLEASANCE, the next e-novella in my Blud series for Pocket. http://books.simonandschuster.com/Peculiar-Pets-of-Miss-Pleasance/Delilah-S-Dawson/9781476715414 You can also find me on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/DelilahSDawson) and on my blog (www.delilahsdawson.com).

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