Many years ago, I saw a writing prompt that asked for a story with a ‘strong woman’. This made me think. Why a ‘strong woman’? Why not a ‘strong person’? Why not a ‘good character’? I could see the point, though. Women have been seen as something to rescue for centuries, so perhaps it made sense to encourage a female lead. So I sat back and wondered what would make a strong woman.
My first thought was a woman in a steel corset waving a sword around. Or perhaps one of those amazing martial artists or tough superheroes. I love the Marvel films and have spent far too many hours watching impossible fight scenes. But my mind wandered and I thought about all the strong women I knew. The ones who kept it together with work and families life in general. But what was it that made a woman ‘strong’? It was the same things that, in my opinion, make a man strong. It’s the ability to keep going when times are tough. It’s about being kind to those around you, even when you are hurting. It’s about doing the right thing when it is hard and standing by it. It’s reaching out and helping others up, even when you are falling apart. Guns and swords aren’t included in my definition.
And that led to Dinner at Dark, a story where two vampires, four werewolves and two ‘normals’ sit down for a dinner party and when things went wrong, it is the housekeeper that holds it all together. I had a blast writing it, all those years ago, and I was reminded of it when I was lucky enough to talk to L Bachman on her podcast. So I went over it, corrected some punctuation and it is free until 17th April. You can find it here.
I would love to hear your views on strong characters, please leave a comment.