Strong Characters?

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dramspringfeald
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Strong Characters?

#1 Post by dramspringfeald » Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:09 pm

What is your Definition of A Strong Female lead?

Just wondering. :3
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Re: Strong Characters?

#2 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:27 pm

A character that has a personality, a sense of self and whose exsistence is not dictated by others.

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Re: Strong Characters?

#3 Post by SundownKid » Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:30 pm

I think the best advice to give is that "strong female lead" does not mean PHYSICALLY strong, just mentally strong. Of course, they can overlap, as long as her physical strength does not dictate her character (see: most video games with female leads)

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Re: Strong Characters?

#4 Post by papillon » Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:00 pm

Heroes need flaws, or they're boring. Heroes need strengths, or they're exasperating.

If your hero's only strength is being pretty, expect some eye-rolling. Which doesn't mean she can't be pretty, of course, just that this should not be her major strength. "Using her beauty as a weapon" is possible but so overdone that it's still likely to annoy people. (Cleverly making use of her amazing fashion sense has more possibilities...)

A strong lead needs sufficient skill and assertivenes to affect the plot in some way rather than solely being affected by it.

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Re: Strong Characters?

#5 Post by saguaro » Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:04 pm

1. A character that drives the plot.

2. Jacqueline Brown.

sorry, couldn't resist

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Re: Strong Characters?

#6 Post by KittyKatStar » Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:19 pm

Someone with dreams, goals, aspirations, strengths, weaknesses, worries, fears, opinions, will refuse to stand around and let circumstances push the person, will carve their own path, will learn, make mistakes, have regrets, drive to improve oneself, know when to ask for help, know when it's something only they can do.

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Re: Strong Characters?

#7 Post by MaiMai » Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:28 am

SundownKid wrote:I think the best advice to give is that "strong female lead" does not mean PHYSICALLY strong, just mentally strong. Of course, they can overlap, as long as her physical strength does not dictate her character (see: most video games with female leads)
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On a more serious note, I agree with SundownKid. This just doesn't apply to female characters though, but also male characters. We sometimes mistake physical strength as a key feature to a character's awesomeness when in fact they don't need to have been in a physical altercation and coming out on top to be considered "strong." For instance in the new American drama show Elementary, (a modern Sherlock Holmes adaption set in New York) people complain that Lucy Liu who plays Joan Watson would have been a cooler female character if the writers gave her a military background like John Watson in the original stories. And this is totally disregarding the fact that Joan Watson is an ex-surgeon who spent years studying an extremely difficult practice, came out on the top of her medical school, and despite not practicing anymore, she's proven more than once on the show so far to be very knowledgeable about medical matters and that aids Sherlock Holmes in his cases. What's not cool and "strong" about that??

As for what I consider a strong female lead, I like ones who have solid resolve and drive to do what they want to achieve while still respecting others around her and still being able to say "no" when it matters.
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Re: Strong Characters?

#8 Post by junna » Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:42 am

strong women make me think of Diana Wynne Jones's heroines. Their brilliance but silliness are perfectly balances and they are pretty strong women.
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Re: Strong Characters?

#9 Post by wakagana » Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:50 am

3poh8z.jpg
3poh8z.jpg (18.86 KiB) Viewed 1880 times
I think this is a good example. :3

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Re: Strong Characters?

#10 Post by TheGuraGuraMan » Thu Nov 08, 2012 7:43 am

Strong or badass ?

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Re: Strong Characters?

#11 Post by Misfile » Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:03 pm

wakagana wrote:
3poh8z.jpg
I think this is a good example. :3
I'm going to have to disagree with you on that. This strikes me as a rather blatant straw feminist.

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Re: Strong Characters?

#12 Post by Obscura » Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:55 pm

Probably a personal thing, but I've always thought strong characters--male or female--are characters who have a clear goal that's larger than themselves or their own personal aims. There's some principle or overarching ideal they're trying forever to achieve.

And more importantly--that goal is not romance.
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Re: Strong Characters?

#13 Post by Misfile » Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:37 pm

I realize now that I should have pointed to what I said in the Characters in Games thread, as I feel that still holds true for the more exacting strong character you're looking at creating.

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Re: Strong Characters?

#14 Post by MarineScripter » Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:14 pm

I myself am a large fan of strong heroines, so there are a few factors that can key in to this. They know what they stand for, don't burst into tears at life's every turn, have a personality, and also have distinguishing traits. They don't have to be beating everyone up or feminists.
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Re: Strong Characters?

#15 Post by Omnificent » Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:37 pm

What makes a strong female lead is exactly the same thing that makes a strong male lead: they act rather than react. And in order to do that, they probably need some small incentive they're working towards.

I mean, it's all well and good to have a reactive character, but they'd better have some entertaining reactions in order to justify being the protagonist/POV character. Like Kyon from Haruhi Suzumiya, or to some extent his distaff counterpart Haruhi from the other anime with a Haruhi in it Ouran. They're kind of passive people, but they're also entertainingly sarcastic enough that they act as the straightman to the antics around them. Even then, their goal is probably something like "I want to live a peaceful life, god damn it."

A shoujo heroine in a pure romance game whose goal is to have a bunch of prettyboys fighting over her and manipulate their personal politics to her maximum benefit would be kind of a terrible person, but at the same time it would explain and justify a lot about the stereotypical shoujo/otome game. Or even if it's, "Welp, seems like I landed in Male Supermodel High. Even though I am an ordinary girl, I'm going to try and win one of these dudes as a boyfriend, using the fact that no girl ever just talks to them like a normal person to my advantage. Then all my middle school friends will be hella jealous and I will point and laugh at them repeatedly as I swagger down the red carpet with a bish on each arm and a giant feather boa around my neck for no discernable reason other than to look classy," that would be a petty teenage motivation but perfectly valid and kind of refreshing (see Celes in Dangan Ronpa).

The main character in my game right now is an underperforming slacker who's never had a Big Dream in life aside from continuing to hang out with her friends and dreads the coming of college/the future that will separate her from the first people she's gotten close to in her life. Her overwhelming drive comes from her will to keep her bonds with the people around her come hell or high water, more than something entirely within herself or say becoming a doctor or a lawyer or something. Does that make her weak? Maybe, but to be honest everyone else in the game is either just as much of a loser slacker or as weak in some other area. But they could all be protagonists nevertheless, because they all have some goal they're driving towards. Not big goals like "I want to be God-Emperor of the Western world" or "I want to be the best space mech pilot there is", but stuff like "I want to avoid this incredibly awkward situation" or "I realize I must stop bursting into fits of wrath if I want people not to be afraid of me, also I realize the man I looked up to growing up is kind of a failure and I will probably never be a rock star."
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