Pilar Alessandra recently spelled out ten tips for writing strong female lead characters. Here are her tips:
1. Turn The Tables on Female Stereotypes
Don’t ignore negative perceptions about women; challenge them by turning negative labels into positive traits for your character. “Gossipy” becomes well informed. “Catty” becomes competitive. And don’t forget that positive stereotypes are still stereotypes. Humanize the perfect model of a woman by showing the darker side.
2. Heighten Your Female Character’s Goals
The unappreciated temp doesn’t want to be noticed; she wants to be boss. The neglected wife doesn’t want to find out about her husband’s infidelity, she wants to get even. Scripts that think big sell!
3. Give Your Female Character More Traditionally “Masculine” Activity
Are you undermining your character just because she’s a woman? Ask yourself “what would a guy do?” Perhaps then your character will build the house she wants, instead of just dreaming about it. Perhaps she’ll wait in the dark with a weapon for the burglar, rather than just calling the cops.
4. But Don’t Forget She’s A Woman
The female experience can bring its own activity and entertainment to a scene. In Kill Bill two female assassins suddenly hide their knives as a school bus pulls up and a child comes home. It’s a funny, revealing moment that we normally wouldn’t expect from a kung-fu action pic.