AL's Musings- Things the Muse likes

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   The Trouble with Strong Female Character

Here is a piece I wrote as a Guest Blog spot about writing a ‘Kick-Ass Female Lead’ and how it can be challenging.


I believe a ‘Kick-ass Heroine’ should be smart and spunky, able to take care of herself but with a bit of a vulnerable side.

Holding a doctorate in scientific engineering Valesque Rhaugh is not the violent type, she believes in the sanctity of life and will do everything in her power to protect the innocent crew of her commandeered vessel.

Not that she can’t take care of herself when the need arises, as a Virrilian she possesses not only four sharp fangs, claw-like nails and a virtually indestructible body but also an exceptional ability she calls ‘hunting mode’, where her warm brown eyes turn a bright silver as they film over and her senses elevate, enabling her to see her ‘prey’s’ circulatory and nervous systems, even in pitch dark, and vastly improving her physical prowess.

Although she has not had much need for this natural ability as a scientist, and has in fact avoided using it ever since she was exiled from her home planet, as her unwanted adventure continues she is forced to use it more and more; to evade alien scavengers, escape captivity, track potential enemies, gain temporary employment as a ‘lie detector’ and to protect herself from the dark forces that threaten our world.

All ‘Kick-ass’ women have the same challenge; interpersonal relationships. Strong women can tend to be loners, preferring to go it alone and do it ‘their way’. Valesque is no different, she had been on her own for a number of years, after being wrongfully accused and put on the most wanted list of her home planet, she moved from place to place, working on engineering jobs, some of which she found ethically challenging, but a necessity for making a living.

When her, under-construction, science ship is stolen, with her onboard, she is reluctantly befriended by a young, genius, science officer and an extremely flirty ex-police pilot. These two people did not have much knowledge of Virrilians, as they lived in IPA space which has been at war with Virrilia for longer than any of them had been alive, and thus were extremely surprised at how much her small frame could take. From having fallen over twenty stories with hardly a thought to being barely singed by laser fire, her natural abilities continue to surprise them.

The first time they saw her in hunting mode they were taken aback by her unusually fierce appearance, with her glowing eyes and exposed fangs as she breathed heavily and growled at them in her heightened form. As time goes on they are still wary of the sight of her in that state, never sure which is more in control, the scientist they know and love or the beast that surfaces and grins at them with that cunning, blood-red smile.

Writing a strong female lead can be challenging, you always have to keep a balance of good (sweet) and evil (spunky) in her thoughts and behavior, and in others perceptions of her. Although Valesque is not a ‘hard as nails’, violent or gruff kind of person, she is strong willed, sturdy, a bit scary and aloof. Keeping her true to herself in many different situations, and especially while people she in not sure about want to keep getting closer, is something that takes a lot of planing out, so that we can see her development along the series of books things have to be paced evenly over the course of the story. Writing a ‘Kick-Ass Heroine’ is a challenge and even more so when she is the star of a series, but they are so much fun! Who doesn’t like a cool, talented, self-sufficient, spunky gal?


Check out my Space Trippers SciFi/Fantasy SciFan series to learn more about Valesque and the rest of her would be friends.

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