Having an unforgettable female lead is an essential ingredient when you are cooking up your novel. If you check on previously published works by famous authors, you’ll see that many of them with female leads are well-received by the readers. There are lots of iconic female leads that these readers look up to as well. For aspiring authors, here is a guideline to follow when you want to create a strong female lead.
#1. Not all badass female leads are strong ones.
A character that has a scenario in the book wherein she coolly jump from the overpass straight into the back of a running truck (think Angelina Jolie in Salt) makes the character badass. While that character may be badass, that doesn’t mean that she is strong. Strong leads are usually with strengths, depths, weaknesses, and even attachments.
#2. Strong female leads don’t only think about romance.
Writing a female character into the novel for the sole purpose of creating romantic tension is a mistake. They aren’t just tools to support an in-depth backstory for the male lead. The female leads can do more than just be the male lead’s partner.
#3. There’s the Bechdel test.
Some authors may have already heard of the Bechdel test. It is this test that will tell you whether a story has two or more strong female characters. To pass this test, the novel should have two or more named female leads. They should then be in talking terms with each other, even better if they are friends. Lastly, they should talk about things other than the male lead.
#4. Another test – the Mako Mori test.
If your manuscript fails the Bechdel test, that doesn’t mean that it is a complete disaster. There’s also the Mako Mori test, after all. This particular test can be used as an alternative to the Bechdel test. To pass the Mako Mori test, there should be at least one female character in the story. She should get her own narrative. Strictly, her tale should be more than just supporting the male lead.
#5. She should be “human.”
Write the female lead as if she is really “human.” Humans have strengths, weaknesses, and quirks. No matter how perfect you want your female lead, write one or two quirks. If the female character has “human” characteristics to her, readers will like her even more.
The more unforgettable your female character is, the more successful your published book will become. Readers will definitely appreciate your strong female lead.