Three More of my Favorite Female Characters

Happy Women’s History Month! This is a great time to take a trip down memory lane to reminisce on some great female characters. From the villains to the romantic comedy protagonists, there are so many relatable and exciting female characters. Over the past few years, we’ve gotten even more great female characters to celebrate. Last year I highlighted just a few of my favorite female characters. This year, I decided to add to that list with a few more amazing picks. These ladies are just a few more of the amazing female characters that I love.

Image from Grishaverse

  1. Nina- Six of Crows Duology

On my last list I had a shout out for Inej, but I couldn’t resist fangirling over Nina. Nina is one of the main characters in the Six of Crows duology known as a Grisha Heartwrender, aka someone with magical powers. In a series full of dynamic characters, Nina stands strong and plays a pivotal role in the plot. We first see her in Ketterdam when Kaz Brekker, the head of a gang in the Barrel, recruits her for a dangerous heist. She is a determined woman who joined a group of Ravka fighters at a young age to fight the Fjerdan troops who despise her kind. Because of a terrible mistake, she’s stuck in the slums of Ketterdam until she makes it right. When Kaz offers her an opportunity to make it right, she jumps at the plan. She joins the team as the resident magic-wielder and actress with a knowledge of many languages. What I love about Nina is that she is a badass, but is also a friendly person with an insatiable love for waffles. Yes, you read that right, waffles. She loves all things sweet and food in general. She often states how many waffles she would buy with the money they’ll get from the heist. Nina is also blunt, but a good friend to her teammates. She takes care of them when they need her, but isn’t afraid to sass back when they decide to do something stupid. She is also an important character for girls because she’s a curvy girl who is confident, powerful, and not looked down upon because of her size. Those characters are currently few and far between, so it was very exciting for her to show up on the scene. 

Image from Goodreads

  1. Veronica Speedwell- The Veronica Speedwell series

Veronica Speedwell is a perfect example of someone ahead of her time. She is almost a character who is plucked out of the 20th or 21st century and is put into the 1800s. While this would be annoying with most characters, Veronica has this charm and moxy that makes it more reasonable and realistic. She has spent much of her life as a butterfly scientist, which has led her to many adventures around the world. When the story begins, she is packing up her house after her last “aunt” has passed away. Veronica knows they aren’t her aunts genetically, but her family is a mystery to her.  She decided after the funeral to go on another butterfly expedition, which she was quick to defend when the bishop and his wife questioned her. She used her quick wit and blunt speech to weasel her way out of a marriage she was not interested in and prepare for her departure. When she is thrown into a dangerous situation, Veronica takes the challenge head-on. 

Something I really admire about her is her intelligence. She isn’t afraid to display her smarts, despite it being discouraged by those around her. Once she joins forces with a fellow adventure scientist named Stoker, Veronica holds her own against him in wit and knowledge. Together, they use their smarts to solve a mystery that they’ve been roped into. Veronica is also a flawed character who sometimes has to get pulled out of the dumb situations in which she interserts herself. It’s nice to have a badass female character who also feels like a real person. If you love sleuths who have witty banter with their partners, she’s the character for you.

Image from Goodreads

  1. Emma- Emma 

Emma is one of Jane Austen’s most famous heroines. While she doesn’t have the enemies to lovers romance like Elizabeth Bennett, I still love her story and character. Emma is a wealthy girl who is definitely spoiled by her father. She has her moments where she is a clueless rich girl, but often she is a kind and witty person. And yes, that is a shout out to her modern version, Cher. Emma is a good friend, if a bit out of touch at times. She uses her boredom and self-proclaimed skills to become the matchmaker of her sleepy village. She tries, with the best of intentions, to set up her new friend Harriet with prospective suitors. These best intentions quickly create problems for those around her, but through it all she strives to be a great friend. Emma is the poster child for good intentions that go horribly wrong. Despite this, she is still somehow loveable and likable. 

Emma is also someone who tries to learn from her mistakes and own up to them. It takes a bit for her to catch on to her questionable matchmaking skills, but once she does she is determined to make things right. She tells Harriet that she was wrong, and apologizes to those she upset during the dreaded picnic scene. It did take a scolding from her longtime friend Mr. Knightley, but she still took the step to make things right. I also love her banter with Mr. Knightley and their friendship. Emma is a great example of a character who feels like a real person who grows and learns to be a better person. 
What do you think of the characters on my list? Who are your favorite female characters? Let me know in the comments below! It was so difficult to choose only three more female characters for this post. I have so many other favorites that have inspired me. In the future I will continue to highlight more of these awesome ladies! Do you have a story with a great female character that you want me to check out? You can send me book recommendations by filling out the book survey here. Happy reading!

5 Tips to Creating Dynamic Characters

There are countless parts of the writing process that make you want to tear your hair out. World building? Difficult. Plot? A mountain to climb. But there is a part of writing that feels as intimidating as crafting a good twist: creating characters. Creating your characters can be as easy as throwing some traits together and calling it a day. Creating well-rounded, dynamic characters is more of a nail-biting process. You want them to jump off the page, but still feel like real people in the world you’ve created. When creating my own characters, I’ve found a few tips that have helped me make my characters more dynamic and relatable. 

  1. Research is key

For those who love starting a story blind, this may be a nerve-wracking step for you. However, research can be a useful tool when creating your characters. It’s not just for worldbuilding! If you have a bare bones idea of who you want your character to be, use those bare bones to learn more about your character. This research is very important if you are writing characters in a different time or if they are someone with a different life experience from you. If you want your character to be a suffragette in England during the 1910s, you need to research the ladies of that movement. If you want to write a character who is a part of a community that you are not, interview someone in that community to get an insight into their experiences. The information you gather isn’t something you necessarily have to replicate when creating your character. Instead, use this research as a lens to sharpen your character. It’s like the glasses of writing! 

  1. Character Sheets are (sometimes) your friend

Character sheets are either the bane or savior of a writer’s existence. They can be a great tool, but also a bit overwhelming. A character sheet is a long document where you write down many different facets of your character to help flesh them out. Everything from their favorite color to their morals is on this sheet. It’s a great tool to help you humanize your characters. It’s also a great guide for those times you get stuck writing. How would your character react to a situation? Consult your character sheet and you’ll be able to determine how their reactions will alter the plot. If you’ve tried a character sheet before and got overwhelmed, you’re not alone. I often get overwhelmed by the details you need to use to fill out the sheet. Try filling out some basic information on the sheet as a jumping off point. If you discover things later down the line about your character, you can add it to the sheet. Once you’ve finished your draft, you can use this sheet to make sure that the character’s actions are consistent.

  1. Use visual references for your characters

If you are a visual person like me, sometimes describing characters can be hard without visualizing them first. If you are someone who draws, try drawing your character using the descriptive words you already have. Adjust these descriptors as needed once you have your character drawn out. I sadly did not get the drawing gene, so I use a different approach. I call it the “movie book cast”. Think about people who you would cast in a movie version of your book. What about their appearance and body language is similar to one of your characters? Use their inspiration to help make your descriptors more concise.  

  1. Take inspiration from your own favorite characters

There are many books that inspire us to write within a certain genre. Characters do that as well. This means it’s time for one of my favorite things, a list. First, write down what you already know about your character. What are their traits, their morals, etc? Then, make a list of characters who have inspired you. Write down their attributes, and pick out a few that you think would go well with your character. It is very important that you use this as inspiration, not as a copy and paste deal. If you love Elizabeth Bennett, don’t put a new name on her and put her into your story. Instead, think of why you love Elizabeth and use these traits as inspiration to create your own character. 

  1. Don’t be afraid of flaws

When writing a story, a compelling tale is a must. How can you accomplish this with perfect characters? Newsflash, you can’t. Characters need to have flaws just like real life people. If you write a perfect protagonist going on a hero’s journey, there’s no point to the story. How will they grow if they’re perfect to begin with? This is when research and the good old character sheet come in handy. Use the information you gather from these to help determine these flaws. Are they a frustratingly perfect hero on a quest? Think about why they are going. Many times characters begin their journey for the wrong reasons, which is where the flaws begin to appear. Flaws are what make your characters relatable and interesting. It also makes your story interesting. No one cares about someone who can go through hardships without batting an eye. If you’re not sure where to begin, reference tip number four. What are the flaws of your favorite characters, and why were they present? Use them as a jumping off point to help you figure out how to humanize your own characters.

Creating a dynamic character in the world of your imagination is hard, but so worth it. Once you have them fleshed out, the story seems a little less intimidating. What is your process for creating characters? Have you ever tried these steps before, and did they help you? Let me know in the comments below! I hope that these tips can help you with character creation, especially during the upcoming NaNoWriMo. We have about a month, but it’s never too early to start planning. Thanks so much for reading, and happy writing!

NaNoWriMo Week 1- Adventures

Hello dear readers!

Today marks a week and three days since NaNoWriMo, aka National Novel Writing Month, sent writers across the globe into a frenzy. The countless characters, plot lines, and world-building unfolding every day is insane. The number of stories unfolding in the many chat forums on NaNoWriMo’s website is almost overwhelming, with people popping in to ask questions from how to describe a gunshot wound to the hierarchy of a dystopian society. It is also inspiring to someone who considers herself to be an amateur writer. NaNoWriMo writers are bonded in this very specific quest to bring a world to life in 30 days, and they somehow have the time to offer advice and be the cheerleaders I need at 11 pm.

In the past few days I’ve given my creative brain enough jolts of espresso to get back up on the writing hamster wheel. Through what I can only call my “Emily determination”, I’ve managed to write more than I ever thought possible in one week. As I write this post, I have reached 10,797 total words! While I’m not on track for a sparkly first draft on November 30th, these 10k words are like a badge of honor.  Last year I wrote a total of 6,223 words over the entire month. You could say I’ve made progress!

The story I’m writing this year required much more planning and outlining than the one that popped into my head the year before. In June a crew of thieves slipped into my mind and refused to leave. They told me a story of cons, underground societies, and an oblivious college student who somehow gets caught up in the middle of their adventures. Even though I’ve written a rough outline and have a Pinterest board with my characters neatly lined up, they’re still telling me new information as month moves along.

Storytelling for me is usually like that. I’m brushing my teeth, or sending an email, and a character pops in my head. They start weaving a tale of their adventures, their worries. However, they never start the at the beginning, so it’s up to me to figure out how they record scratched and ended up in their extraordinary circumstance. I’m always left diving for a nearby notebook or my phone so they don’t turn into wisps and disappear from my mind before I can solve their mysteries.

Over the next few days and weeks, that’s what I hope to uncover. I’m putting on my deer stalker and channeling my inner Agatha Christie to solve the case. How does my character wind up in this gang? Why does she stay? That, and much more, will unfold before my eyes as I join them down the rabbit hole.

Want to follow my adventure as I try to write a novel? You can sign up to get email notifications, or follow me on Instagram @teaandcoffeforemmy and on Twitter at @emiliz32695. Comment down below to let me know how your NaNoWriMo is going!