I love creating strong female characters—if not already evident by the way I typically describe my protagonists. Ria is a semi-typical kick-ass personality. She’s learning to balance the evils of her vampirism with her morality, which means she gets beaten up and beaten down on quite a regular basis.
But she’s not the only heroine in the series, even if she’s put out front.
What I’d like to do instead is highlight some of my other strong females in the series to explore the depth and variance of what makes a character “strong.”
It’s hard to start anywhere other than with Ari, Ria’s long-time bestie. She’s mentally tough and able to surf through chaos since it’s unavoidable given her childhood friend. Her ability to navigate people is her best asset, dissecting and diffusing a situation before it escalates.
Her weakness is her boredom—with the several jobs, with the cycle of men, with the struggle to stay afloat. Yet, Ari comes into her own when she arrives at the training facility, traversing an entirely new world without the veil of safety.
Is she a kick-ass-and-take-names heroine? No, but most of us aren’t. She is the kind who steps up when she can, and she makes a difference. That’s something to celebrate.
Next would be Tahe. Although she can fight well and came to help Ria save her seven-foot-tall leprechaun, her ability to embody femininity and eschew traditional depictions of it gives her a different kind of strength.
She is a lipstick lesbian, who loves to tinker with cars, learned to harvest a field with a scythe, worked with an old-school magician, had tea with Nikola Tesla, and has a trend of back-sassing authority. Tahe’s got a hell of a complex backstory to showcase how she uses others’ natural tendency to underestimate her to her advantage.
Tahe represents the long-term fight to be a woman any way we want to be. Something I have struggled with for decades.
Finally, I want to showcase Ria’s mom. Writing more about her in the last few stories I’ve explored has revealed a lot of what I think about motherhood and what I know about Ria. Tatiana is excited to be a mom; scared, too. She has to shift from the new adult freedom to a real adult so quickly. Then, she has to come to terms with her mortality and the knowledge that she’s going to die from childbirth.
It takes a hell of a strong woman to give her life for her child. Complete selflessness. Honestly, I don’t think I could do it, but I’ve also never been put in that situation. Regardless, that type of decision makes Tatiana all the more heroic to me.
Three very different types of strong females, and there are plenty more worth exploring, like Julia sacrificing herself instead of taking down her lover, like Deanne’s unwillingness to give up on escape even when it’s hopeless, like several other characters who use their motherly instincts and life experience to help themselves and others in bad situations. What I’m getting at is that muscles and fighting skills aren’t the only way to make a character strong.
Do you have a favorite strong female lead (whether someone else’s or your own)? Tell me about her in the comments below!