Monday, April 28, 2008

The Dividing Line


Avenue, Middleharnis,
Hobbema,(1638-1709)
National Gallery.


Some muddled thoughts on heroines:

Character-driven stories always appeal, because of our fascination with how the set-up, principal characters react, respond or instigate the plot.

Have been mulling over heroines lately -- how they are primarily categorized and the dangers of disgusting readers if said heroines inappropriately blend the characteristics of more than one type.

One could roughly classify lead females as (1) smart-ass/kick-ass, as (2) gentle feminine creatures/wimpy/TSTL, or as (3) Red Hot Mammas.

Ideally, I suppose, the best heroines will tastefully combine elements of all three types. We like them to be strong, feminine and sexy.

Yet, while reading book reviews, I see a lot of criticism. A mess-with-the-best-die-with-the-rest heroine who always seems to need high-power rescue by the hero, or who turns into a complete pussy and can't keep her mind off the hero's body. A jelly bean girl.

I became seriously annoyed with a heroine recently because she was always screaming, B-movie style.

As well as arguing w/hero and slow to follow orders while the bad guys were beating down the door/shooting at them, etc. in a peculiar determination to indicate to the reader she was independent and, you know, strong.

Tickers depend entirely on personal fetishes of course. My limit is one scream per story.

On the other hand, I have no problem with tears, as long as they are not hysterical, and I don't remove strong woman status from a heroine if she has female fits after the action is over. I don't consider that character wimp, merely a physiological stress reaction. One not confined to gender, either.

Lillie, btw, hurls a couple of times. While realistic, not romantic -- and might well cause a reader with expectations of a strong heroine to feel betrayed. Maybe too close to the Squick line for some people.

For while we claim we want developed characters with weaknesses as well as strengths, we're picky about the form those weaknesses assume.

What inconsistent character reactions, regardless of sex, turns your crank?


Pay It Forward Contest:

Closes Wednesday. See April 11 post for details.


63 comments:

kmfrontain said...

I have edited stories which had too much screaming (male and female characters). My objection in the female cases were that the author presented the character as strong, yet these characters' first reactions were to scream at the least incentive. That is not strong.

With the male character, I objected to the use of the word scream in context with a man. The story situations called for a protest sound, not a sound of terror. When a man "screams", he's usually in a situation where he's about to get toasted or has been confronted with a secret paranoia (and even then, some men won't scream, just get this incredibly scared look and try to shrug the hamster off his shoulder without touching it--don't ask).

I also object when I see a male character sighing too much. I'll do the same when a woman is sighing constantly. As if we really do that. There was another...

Oh, yeah. Biting the lower lip. I have seldom, very seldom, seen this happen outside of a movie theatre, which means I only saw actors do it in a fictional situation. In real life, it's usually because of chapped lips.

What I object to is characters who are touted as strong and then the author keeps writing them weak (via actions showing weakness) and yet the authors keep returning to the "my character is strong" theme.

Same thing for characters that act stupid yet author keeps writing lines about how smart the characters are. Don't like that either.

Bernita said...

"What I object to is characters who are touted as strong and then the author keeps writing them weak (via actions showing weakness) and yet the authors keep returning to the "my character is strong" theme."
That's it, exactly, Karen!
The contradiction.
And some are so stereotypical with it.

ChrisEldin said...

Great post.

Scatological humor in children's books. I can take a fart and a burp here and there, but if an author relies on this too much for kicks and laughs, it's a real turn-off. But then my kids love "Captain Underpants."
*shudders*

Bernita said...

Don't know much about kids books, Chris, but I'd think snot could also be over done in either adult or kid.

apprentice said...

I enjoyed this post, it makes you step back and think, which is always a good thing.

I agree with the other contradiction is disappointing, unless used sparingly to cause the odd surprise that doesn't damage the character overall believability - ugly word, sorry!

Bernita said...

Thank you, Apprentice.

Fundamental contradictions, of course.

writtenwyrdd said...

What bugs me? I think whinging. Whiny brat or "why me" types bug the effing crap out of me. Lillie throwing up isn't a big deal, to me; but I think that anything your character does more than once needs to be examined in the light of "Is this a habit/character trait or a one off?" Because things that repeat tend to stick in a reader's mind, whether for good or bad.

Another thing that bugs me is what think of as The Will To Be Stupid. Characters that do not learn from experience. Lead characters must change over the novel. If they do not, they become either TSTL.

I bet it is a tough call, making these decisions.

BernardL said...

I like a heroine with some common sense and logic, imbued with a sense of humor. Like you, I detest the use of nonsensical arguments under fire for the purpose of creating an aura of independence. The only aura such gimmicks create is one of stupidity. I have no problem with emotional heroines; but passionate outbursts over nothing, or apocalyptic fits over petty plot points undermine credibility. For me, there is one unforgiveable act for a heroine: managing to smash a bad guy down, standing over him for a moment gasping in terror, and then tossing away the deadly weapon and running away. It’s difficult keeping my head from exploding when this happens; and I’ve both read this credibility killer, and watched it performed in movies. :)

sex scenes at starbucks said...

I am really tired of the Kick-Ass girl with too much to prove. She always has a snide comment or "line" ready, a past that makes her bury her tender side, and a man who uncovers it.

Yawn.

I admit to not reading female characters very often--especially in the lastest rage of vampire books.

Demon Hunter said...

Bernita,
Thanks for sharing this. It is somewhat difficult to determine how to handle our heroines. I'm still wracking my brain about what to do in my next draft... :*)

Lisa said...

This probably is a matter of taste, but I can't stand a lead character who is otherwise rational and intelligent, but is led around by her hormones. I also don't like the "feisty" female lead who seems to behave as if she has a raging case of PMS all the time.

Bernita said...

I'm sure it's a temporary condition, Written, and Lillie will get over it.

Yes, constant handwringing and throwing oneself about in a non-deductive fashion is not an attractive character habit.Puzzelment is allowable, but not moaning.

I would argue that characters don't need to "change" necessarily, though that's the latest critical buzz word (and more applicable to characters in developmental stage, ie. YA), but they do need to be revealed.

Coupled with the hissy fits ( which I suppose are supposed to demonstrate power politics or sexual tension - cue for "punishing kisses") is the continuously smart-mouthed heroine.
I agree, Bernard. The clutching-at-the-throat "oh noes, I have violated my caring, nurturing woman psyche" reaction.
She could at least KEEP THE WEAPON, even if she runs away.
I'm pleased to report that Lillie plugs him again.

StarvingWriteNow said...

Where a character behaves like an inconsiderate jerk for 300 pages and then suddenly shows vulnerability/love/redemptive qualities at the very end. I just spent 300 pages not liking him--a last minute reprieve isn't going to work for me unless it is REALLY, REALLY well done. Usually it isn't.

Bernita said...

SS, I think a female can be "strong" without acting like a bad case of insecurity.

My Demon, we have to be on the watch for stereotyped reactions, like terror= screaming and other classic womanisms.

Well put, Lisa.Exactly.

I find it funny that in chauvinistic days, women were excused for their emotional excesses because of their feminine weaknesses/hormones, etc.; and now, in post-chauvenist days, women gladly use exactly the same excuses for their bitchiness, et al.

Robyn said...

Ditto on the "nonsensical arguments under fire for the purpose of creating an aura of independence." (Thanks, Bernard.)

Crying is just a reaction. It's a release that people have associated with weakness, which is unfortunate. More often than not, women cry, and men get angry; I personally think that release is rather healthy.

I wouldn't have a problem with Lillie hurling a few times. It proves she's human, and makes me think more of her, not less.

Bernita said...

A few hints along the way might help, WriteNow.

Charles Gramlich said...

I typically don't like characters who consistently can't make decisions. They waffle, and wait, and worry but don't act. In real life folks do that but in a story it is a death knell to me.

Bernita said...

Right, Robyn, some people have active tear ducts, doesn't mean their brains aren't working or their emotions aren't under firm control.Feeling can coincide with logic.
And I agree, perfectly healthy tension release.

Bernita said...

Inclined to feel the same way, Charles.
Even a character forced into a passive position, should carry on normal activities, at least.

December/Stacia said...

Oooh, yeah, I agree with Lisa about the PMSy heroines. Fiesty? Tough? No, she's just demanding and awful. Stupid heroines are up there too--and they usually seem to be the "fiesty" type.


Of course, I've heard from quite a few people that Megan in PD is too wimpy, and I thought she was lovely and strong in a quiet, mature way, so what do I know, lol.


I've been thinking of this a lot lately, because it's so hard to create a character who's tough and vulnerable at the same time without making her schizo.

And my heroines puke all the time.

Bernita said...

December, in her early books, I though LKH managed Anita Blake quite well. Didn't think she over-did it.
Never cared for the stuffed penguins as an example of her "tender side" though.
Think more about what Charles said, perhaps a charcacter who makes decisions and acts on them in extremis may be seen as a strong character.

writtenwyrdd said...

"I would argue that characters don't need to "change" necessarily, though that's the latest critical buzz word (and more applicable to characters in developmental stage, ie. YA), but they do need to be revealed."

You clarify my position's flaw well. This is complicated stuff. We can't portray real life; it just has to feel like it. That's difficult!

All the mentions of too-strong/bitchy/pms-y characters makes me think about the tendency we can have to judge women different from men based on their actions. Not saying you folks do it, but a lot of people have that prejudice of strong woman equal a bitch or an "oh she's on the rag and an eyeroll" reaction. (Got the latter in the Army a lot.)

It is difficult to have a real-seeming female lead who doesn't seem over the top, wimpy, indecisive and also unfeminine. Perhaps it's because we are confused as to what's feminine and what's masculine these days. Roles are still in flux; or perhaps it is because opportunities are there, and both genders feel like the ground is a bit soft beneath their feet?

I like my female leads to be tough but vulnerable, and that's pretty hard to do right. I agree that LKH did a great job of Anita Blake in the first 8 books. A few others come to mind as well.

As usual, Bernita, much food for thought here.

Jaye Wells said...

It bugs me when authors use snark in lieu as a substitute for development in heroines. I like good snark, but without complexity it gets old.

Bernita said...

"Perhaps it's because we are confused as to what's feminine and what's masculine these days."

Written, I believe you've put your finger on the problem.

Right, Jaye, shouldn't be the sum of her character or the automatic response to every single situation. Gets tedious and superficial.

Rick said...

By all means give me heroines who are smart-ass/kick-ass and Red Hot Mamas. I can mostly do without gently feminine, except perhaps a weakness for pretty dresses on suitable occasions. (Wearing a strapless ball gown to a firefight, though, is not recommended, unless the lady in question didn't have a chance to change.)

My young ladies are generally scared to death in situations where they ought to be, but do what they have to do, and only (sometimes) get the vapors afterwards.

Rescue by the hero is a dicier problem, because a hero has to make himself useful somehow, and for about the last 850 years, rescuing a damsel in distress has been the approved method. The earlier alternative of getting in a snit over a captive girl, leaving your best buddy to die, then going ape sh!t, seems kind of dumb.

I suppose a hero could be all about getting home to his wife, but she might raise an eyebrow about the seven years it took him to get off Calypso's island. Sure he needed to build a boat, but hardly a quinquereme, and who did he get to row it anyway?

Bernita said...

Very classic, Rick.

"My young ladies are generally scared to death in situations where they ought to be, but do what they have to do, and only (sometimes) get the vapors afterwards."

Sounds reasonable to me.
Yes, we have to treat the hero with great care, and not have the strong heroine relegate him to wimp status.

raine said...

This is an excellent post.

As a reader, it's easy for me to pinpoint things in heroines when they drive me batty. Not so sure I can see it when I'm writing, though...

The Pandora heroine. "Don't open the box, Pandora. Be very still until I come back with help, and whatever you do, don't make any noise."
So first chance she gets, she goes for the box, crosses a danger zone to do so, and knocks over a rack of platters in the process--then spends the rest of the book whining about her bad luck. I believe it falls under the category of TSTL...

Also, characters who must do the INTERNAL DIALOGUE thing with every single word, movement, and thought. Drives me INSANE.

(And hope the dear one is recovering well, Bernita).

SzélsőFa said...

When a character does the same mistake over and over again.
It might show that he is 'just human', but, finally, there has to be some improvement.

Rick said...

She could at least KEEP THE WEAPON, even if she runs away. I hate hate hate it when heroines do stupid stuff like dropping the gun. The only possible excuse for it was in old time serials, so the dying bad guy could shoot the girl in the back at the end, handily clearing decks for next episode's Bond/Bonanza/Kirk's Girl. (Even then there were more graceful ways to bump her off, so that she wasn't left stupid as well as dead.)

In my overall plot arc my hero rescues the heroine twice. The first time she's on the lam with 3000 guys chasing her, while he has a fleet, so it isn't like he's doing for her what she should be doing for herself. The second time, she's fought her way to a standoff with an invading army by the time he hustles back from the Middle Sea to cut off their escape and wrestle 'em into the cell.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Raine.
Yes, I live in fear I will follow some of these patterns in writing that I might castigate and huff about as a reader!
While I know men are supposed to think with their balls a good portion of the time, I have trouble buying the hero who is distracted by the heroine's bottom and/or bosoms in the middle of an abduction/rescue attempt/fire fight - and spend several paragraphs with those internal thoughts.
Same goes for heroines fantazing about his muscular thighs, and such. Especially such.
Can't believe those writers have ever been in a dangerous situation in their lives.Or else they are devoted to trope.

His doctor is very pleased with my wound treatment/nursing efforts, Raine. While still in considerable pain,he is much improved and recovering nicely.Remarkably well, as a matter of fact.

Hoodie said...

I just finished the Twilight series, and while the story and plot were engaging, the overuse of hyperbole was getting on my nerves. Everything pain was excruciating, every joy was blissful, every beauty was beyond comprehension, etc.

It's a fine line to walk in fiction. You want your readers to feel something, for situations to be extreme, but there needs to be a dose of realism in there to or its unrelatable.

Bernita said...

"finally, there has to be some improvement."
At least in fiction, Szelsofa. In terms of repetitive mistakes, if the character realizes his response is a destructive pattern, the reader will tolerate it for a time.

Exactly, Rick.
Your rescue is based on situation, NOT on some inherent gender/intelligence/psycological weakness on her part.

Bernita said...

"Everything pain was excruciating, every joy was blissful, every beauty was beyond comprehension, etc."
Dear me.
Hoodie, that would excruciate my nerves as well.
Almost like the internet hyperbole habit where we see people adore this that or the other thing.
Pain dulls after a while, beauty becomes banal.

Rick said...

No hero has any business noticing his true love's bodacious bod when his focus should be entirely on the bad guys and their weapons. However, we the omniscient 3rd person narrator are perfectly entitled to notice, since our role in the heroics is purely journalistic.

TSTL heroes are every bit as bad as TSTL heroines. I don't remember whether I actually walked out of "Rob Roy" or merely came close, but his conduct as hero was not acceptable.

At start of the movie he sends his loyal friend riding off across the Scottish Highlands, at night, after making sure everyone knows the guy is carrying a sack full of gold. By the climax his masterful understanding of his milieu has deepened, so he assigns his stupidest guy to guard the coast by his home and Jessica Lange. Because of course the last thing his English enemies would ever think to do, c. 1700, is attack by sea.

Sometimes if I were the doomed heroine I'd tell the bad guy to just shoot me in the back now, to shorten my misery and spare me from the humiliation of knowing that the man for whom I sacrificed my life is a blithering idiot.

Bernita said...

Rick, the one thing I cannot forgive in a hero is stupidity.
He can be rough, arrogant, mistaken,conceited -just about anything else - but not stupid.

Rick said...

All the others are curable, but if the hero's a dope, how does that reflect on the heroine?

Here is a literary history question about which I know nothing: When did the spunky heroine first appear, or at least become a type in popular fiction? (Penelope and Nausicaa between them have all the elements, but aren't quite cast in the part.) In Hollywood she goes back at least as far as Maureen O'Hara, but did 19th century heroines in action stories ever get to do anything but faint?

A fascinating bit of social history is incorporated in the shift from James Fenimore Cooper's Last of the Mohicans, in which spunky (and halfbreed) Cora gets killed off by hostile Native Americans, and the recent film version in which the gentler sister is killed, while Madeleine Stowe lives happily ever after.

Bernita said...

"When did the spunky heroine first appear, or at least become a type in popular fiction?"

A good and interesting question, Rick.
Anyone want to take a stab at it?

I know Agatha Christie's Tuppence and Tommy novels, featuring the feisty American Girl trope were written in the 1920's. A silent film made of one of the stories in 1928.

spyscribbler said...

Oh, YES! I hate the "spunky" heroine who shows her independence by STUPIDLY contradicting the hero. STUPID! STUPID! It drives me nuts!

Whirlochre said...

If it's too easy to assign a 'type' to your heroine, she's probably not worth writing about.

So — for me, it's a case of layering on the gamut of redeeming features and fatal flaws that make the real people in your life either interesting enough to want to be with or annoying enough to detest.

In real life, people are spectacularly inconsistent, but fictional creatures need to be more rounded (for the sake of beginnings, middles and ends I suppose), so as I'm hammering out their ink of life twixt pen and paper, I'm looking all the time for inconsistencies and asking 'does this further the internal logic I'm rendering or is it confusing the issue?'

If there is to be inconsistency, it has to be because
a) events prompt uncharacteristic behaviour, or
b) uncharacteristic behaviour prompts events.

The accidental confusion of real-life inconsistency is difficult to translate into fiction without it seeming like you don't know what you're doing.

As for farts, burps and snot — well, let's just say The Lord Of The Rings might have ended differently if Aragorn had caught Arwen unawares...

Bernita said...

Quite, Natasha.
Let her fight with him before or after, not during.

"If it's too easy to assign a 'type' to your heroine, she's probably not worth writing about."

LK Hamilton would disagree about that, Whirl.So would a lot of other successful genre and cross-genre writers.
I think nearly every Main Character can be reduced to "type."

"If there is to be inconsistency, it has to be because
a) events prompt uncharacteristic behaviour, or
b) uncharacteristic behaviour prompts events."

As good and as neat a guide as any for internal character consistency.

Rick said...

I think most characters begin as types, then develop as we fill them in and find their underlying complexities.

Gabriele C. said...

Inconsistence between a heroince to be told as strong and shown as weak is one of my peeves as well. Women who stand pressed against the wall wide eyed while the hero fights several bad guys, and there's a fire poker handy for her to grasp but she never uses it.

I'm not into the nurturing type of women, either. Find some other occupation than nurse, teacher, or social worker, and don't give her a HEA that includes a bunch of kids. ;)

Bernita said...

Rick, I think they can still be identified by "type" - not matter how rounded and individual we may make them.

Gabriele, that sort of scene positively enrages me.
No category romances for you!
Lillie will not annoy you on those grounds, at least.

writtenwyrdd said...

I think "type" is a useful tool, not a bad thing; but it's a generality. I think what WO is talking about is when the character isn't an individual, doesn't feel like you could meet him or her on the street and have a conversation.

I like types. I just hate flat characters. And that observation about consistency is wonderful.

Rick said...

Bernita - perhaps whether we see well rounded characters as types depends on whether we see real people that way. I definitely start with types. Two important secondary characters began simply as the outdoorsy blonde and the sultry intellectual. Perfect stereotyping, but it gave me a starting point for their byplay with each other, the protagonist, etc.

To Stupid Heroine Tricks, let me add my usual grump about feminist rhetoric. Really it's a variation of talking tough instead of acting it, spiced with anachronism and pandering. Give me a gal who more or less accepts her culture's rules, and deals with them as she must. As my girl says, "A young maid is not what you looked to have, but we are what you have got."

archer said...

Kmfronatain wrote:

Same thing for characters that act stupid yet author keeps writing lines about how smart the characters are. Don't like that either.

GBS offers the best deal on the issue. Here he is in the preface to Man and Superman:

I am sorry to say that it is a common practice with romancers to announce their hero as a man of extraordinary genius, and then leave his works entirely to the reader’s imagination; so that at the end of the book you whisper to yourself ruefully that but for the author’s solemn preliminary assurance you should hardly have given the gentleman credit for ordinary good sense. You cannot accuse me of this pitiable barrenness, this feeble evasion. I not only tell you that my hero wrote a revolutionists’ handbook: I give you the handbook at full length for your edification if you care to read it.

Bernita said...

We may be defining the term differently, Written.

Not sure how we see people in "real" life is relevant, Rick.
Perhaps if we knew as much about them as the creator of fictional characters supposedly do, we could classify them by fictive form.
My use of "types" is merely ( and obviously inadequate) term used for the purpose of casual analysis.
In fiction we have archetypes and sub-types, and sub-sub variants.

Rather boils down to a "show,don't tell," Archer.
I have to address a form of that in my WIP, to demonstrate how my heroine's skills are unusual, unique, etc.

Rick said...

Bernita - relevant only, perhaps, in our attitude toward the term "types." It's a strong and loaded word: archetypes good, stereotypes bad.

if we knew as much about them as the creator of fictional characters supposedly do

I love "supposedly," because isn't that letting a cat out of the bag? We make them up, then if we are lucky we find them as exasperating as real people. A character comes to life when they start interfering with your plans for them. And you know one isn't working when they sit there like a sack of cement and refuse to do anything except on direct authorial order. Which never comes off as a convincing motivation.

archer said...

Rather boils down to a "show,don't tell," Archer.
I have to address a form of that in my WIP, to demonstrate how my heroine's skills are unusual, unique, etc.


I always like to see how others do it, so I can steal from them. Shaw was always good at verbal descriptions of music (as a critic he once described Mozart's pianissimos as "silence, made barely audible"), and he turned this ability to good account in his early novel Love Among the Artists, which is about a Beeethoven-like composer in London.

Another favorite genius of mine is H.G. Wells's Time Traveler, who demonstrates a model of his machine and discourses with great scientific authority on the theory of it.

One that really annoyed me is in The Da Vinci Code, which opens with the phrase "Renowned curator Jacques Sonniere." Not that I like to argue with success.

Gabriele C. said...

Lol no, Lillie doesn't strike me as the type of woman who'd let the fire poker go unused. She'd kock the bad guys out and then start to tremble.

Which is a perfectly normal reaction. I know I did it after I broke the nose of that wannabe rapist and the police had hauled him off.

Bernita said...

True, Rick, sometimes one has to take a whip to them.

Archer, I hope he provided later some evidence to support the guy's reputation.Still, he could hardly do it before the story opens.

A natural excess of adrenalin, Gabriele, which didn't have a chance to dissipate by the process of clubbing him into small and separate pieces.
I'm a post-trembler too.

cindy said...

great post, as always, bernita! it's so hard. i esp have issues with tears, and i feel my heroine cries a lot. but then, i put her through a lot. and i'd cry in the same situations, probably.

but it's a personal thing, tears mean weakness to me. i was even more apprehensive when i made my hero cry. yikes!!

my heroine does moon over my hero. and he saves her butt a few times, but she does return the favor.

you can't write a heroine that everyone will love, you can only write her so at least you love her?

Bernita said...

Sweet Cindy, thank you.
Some people are fiercest when they cry.
There's a slum kid character who appears in several John Buchan novels called "wee Jakie" who cries when he fights.
The harder he "greets" the harder he fights.

Vesper said...

A very interesting post, Bernita. But I have to wonder if all these are not, more or less, cliches that mostly come to us from movies. Can't the character be just a normal human being, with normal reactions? Would it make her less than a hero? Food for thought...

The painting is just beautiful.

Bernita said...

Vesper, many category romances and woman's fiction feature heroines of the sort you mention.
Certain genres may determine the type.
We shouldn't forget, however, that books came before movies and television, and some of these types were already in place.
Whether or not they are "cliche" depends on how the writer presents them.

archer said...

I was just looking over our examples of writers who make their experts and geniuses believable. They all seem to do it by writing what they know. Wells does it for his scientist by discoursing on science; G.B. Shaw does it for his composer by writing about music and for his radical reformer by writing a political tract. All were masters of the stuff they wanted to be credible about.

P.S. I'm glad your husband is mending.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Archer.
Some improvement each day.

Ello said...

Hmm, I don't think it matters to me what the weakness or strength is as long as it is told well without becoming a stereotype. but that said, I hate women who scream and whine alot.

Bernita said...

"but that said, I hate women who scream and whine alot."
Tiresome, Ello. Gag 'em, somebody.

Shauna Roberts said...

Fifty-nine comments so far—you really touched a nerve with this one, Bernita!

I too despise the feisty heroine who shows her independence by looking around or arguing when the hero yells, "duck!"

The heroines of my current WIP and my completed manuscript both are gentle, quiet, polite types. They're not wimps: They stand up for their principles and do what they think is right even if it's dangerous, but they don't get all Rambo about it. Part of the difficulty my agent has had in selling the completed manuscript is that editors are looking for kick-butt heroines and mine certainly are not.

I have come to really dislike the "feisty" and "kick-butt" types because they are so often rude, abrasive, snarky, and generally unlikeable. I get the feeling that some authors think the way to create a modern liberated woman is to give her all the most annoying traits of men.

Bernita said...

~gulps~
Shauna, my Lillie is on the quiet side as well. Mentally tough, certainly, but not pushy.
I suppose a lot depends on the settings/societies one puts the character in,I can see the mouthy types more appropriate for waterfronts, space port dives, etc.

Shauna Roberts said...

Bernita, that's probably why I liked Lillie so much. She was a good example of how a woman can be professional and strong without being an imitation man.

Bernita said...

~beams at Shauna~