Strength of Character

My sister finally read Burden and tonight we had a lengthy conversation about it.  She is one of my fans, and one of the (growing) group of people who has read Butterflies. 

One of the things that she likes about my stories (and that I work hard on) is the quality of my female characters.  I respect a strong, self-reliant woman and there are many of them in my fiction.  Caetlyn and Rebekah (and even Mara) in Burden, most of the women of Butterflies; these ladies all share characteristics that I admire in many of my female friends and aim for in myself. 

Whitney (my sister – who is a strong female character herself) told me she can always pick out the female love interest in my stories because it is always the character who reminds her of me.  It’s not so much that the character looks or acts like me, so much as she’s the tomboy or the guard or the woman who wants a man to compliment instead of complete her.  (Hope I didn’t put too many words in Whitney’s mouth – our conversations often include a great deal of sisterly shared knowledge and incomplete sentences.  :))As she explained, it gives hope to the “everyday women” like her (or me) when someone like King Stefan ends up with someone like Caetlyn instead of a “froufrou” perfect girl. 

To me, it adds strength of character to my male protagonists, as well, when they choose the strong woman.  Would you like Stefan as much if he had proposed to a female who simpered and flounced?  Confident, powerful men can do one of two things: they can choose a weak woman who will always make them feel powerful (and eventually bored) or they can choose a woman who is also confident and independent, a woman who can give back as good as she gets.  The men who choose the second option only reinforce their strength when they go for the girl with strength of her own. 

At least they do in my stories.  🙂


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Shari Lopatin
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 22:28:26

    Hello Leigh,

    I found your blog on the WordPress dashboard. Sounds like you have a great novel in the works! Very exciting–you’re much further along than me. =) I wanted to make a suggestion that might help you have better luck in publishing your first novel.

    Though I’m not a novelist (yet), I am a former newspaper reporter who now freelances professionally for magazines both locally and nationally. I also have a full time job as a writer/editor/media relations professional during the day. I’ve noticed that building your reputation as a writer helps get books published, and sold. One of the best ways to do that is to publish articles in as many magazines as possible. It builds credibility and reputation, plus, it builds relationships with important editors that could help promote your book someday.

    Good luck! Always exciting to see a fellow writer going after their dream of becoming an author. And if you need some tips on how to get started with making your way into the magazine world, I just posted a blog entitled, “Entice Magazine Editors and Media–Successfully Pitch Your Story!”

    Shari Lopatin
    Twitter: @ShariLopatin


  2. Barb
    Oct 26, 2010 @ 14:46:51

    I love this and am totally behind you, BUT unfortunately people in the position of Stefan might be forced to marry whimpering princesses for political reasons. That’s why my strong men are usually NOT the heirs of the noble house, or they refuse their heritage, or sleep for a century and wake up when they’re not of royal blood anymore. Otherwise they probably marry the whimpering princess and ask the warrior woman to be their mistress (which she’ll of course refuse, making 3 people unhappy, haha!)


    • Leigh Townsend
      Oct 26, 2010 @ 17:00:19

      True, situations can’t always work out – and I’ve had to deal with this in Butterflies and in the next serial, Bonded. 😦


      • Barb
        Oct 27, 2010 @ 00:16:00

        Well, writing is CONFLICT I’m told… we all love to see Prince Charming fall for us, but what if there’s no happily ever after? 😉 And even if there is… that’s boring… end of the story! 😀

      • Leigh Townsend
        Oct 27, 2010 @ 12:57:07

        I like to make the conflict exterior to the relationship, but you are right – things that work out perfectly do not an interesting story make…

  3. Trackback: Get the Picture? « Butterflies and Dragons
  4. Trackback: To use the term ‘princess’ loosely… « Butterflies and Dragons

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