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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

CCC Part Four - Girl Power!

This will be the final post in the Characteristics of Characters and Their Character series (Say that one five times fast). I have a few ideas for a new series, you'll just have to wait and find out what they are. Mwhahahaha

Today we will discuss heroines--a very special and important part to many stories.

In case you didn't know, heroines are the female heroes of a story. Whether the main character or supporting I am honestly moved by these characters. Sometimes in positive ways, sometimes in negative ways.

If you haven't noticed, most fantasy stories are written with male heroes, male supporting characters, and if there is a girl she's the lover of the hero. Most of the time.

But, there are many (increasingly so) stories that use the girl as the hero and have important female heroes throughout the story. These are the heroines. These characters excite me.

Dragons in Our Midst, The Door Within, Inkheart, The Sword of the Dragon, The Lord of the Rings...all of these had wonderful heroines.

All of these women/girls have the following in common:
  1. They are strong in mind
  2. They are strong in body
  3. They are strong in soul
  4. They, often times, stir the heroes to action
  5. Many times strong willed
  6. Tender and sweet at the heart
I think that for girls one of the biggest turn offs a story can have is for the writer to create a wimpy heroine. Where the girls are always the ones in need, they can never do anything for themselves, and where without the masculine heroes they would be dead or meaningless.

This is not only plain ridiculous, but it is also contrary to what I believe to true purpose of fantasy to be.

So if a good heroine isn't wimpy then what is she?

Naturally, she would be strong.

Strength in the mind is where I would first begin. This aspect is more commonly found than some of the others. Society likes to admit that women are smarter than guys (Admit it guys....they are). But as a newer writer, and a male, we might forget this.

The hero can get easily excited. I'd actually go as far to say...if your hero stays calm all the time...he might not be the best hero. If your hero is getting excited, impatient, angry, or something similar it is often the best salve to have the heroine step in and save the day.

The masculine nature of the hero would tell him to run straight into the faces of the enemy army. But, of course, this would not be the best idea if he was outnumbered 10 to 1. Often times the heroine steps in with reason.

To step out of fantasy, this is especially true of romance stories. Think Romeo and Juliet. Romeo is head over heels for her, but, at first lol, Juliet is thinking more rationally of things and forces Romeo to sleep on his thoughts of marriage.

And if your main protagonist is a girl this is also important. I like reading intelligent, not stupid, heroines. Don't you?

Next would be the physical aspect.

We guys like to brag at being bigger and stronger, *flexes*, but though this may be "technically" true, this has no bearing at all on whether or not girls can defend themselves. Honestly, I know girls that are offended when chivalry etc goes so far as to underestimate their physical prowess.

And you see this in good heroines as well.

A good heroine can and will defend herself. Actually, showing the controversy between the genders is fun to read/write as well. You have a hero trying to be honorable and a heroine that just wants to do what is right. Most of the time, the girl ends up winning ;)

Again, weak wimpy heroines are boring. My favorite characters are often times the fiery girls, sword in hand, charging the gates of hell itself. The tough gals. Plus, let's just think marketing here. If you write a story with wimpy girls....what kind of message does that send to your readers?

Like I said, fantasy is meant to be inspiring. Are you inspiring girls to be wimps?

The spiritual side of this is also very interesting.

In Dragons in Our Midst, by Bryan Davis, I was so emotionally connected to the heroine, Bonnie Silver, because of the strength of her soul. She was so pure, innocent, and yet had all the powerful aspects listed above.

I think what I am trying to get at with these last few points is confidence. Heroines need to be confident. Spiritually, physically, and mentally. Sure, they can doubt just like a guy. And that's when you would shape the male characters. But, especially as supporting characters, they need to be capable of strength.

This next point is perhaps my favorite. When you have a masculine hero and your heroines are supporting characters, it seems that the girls are the ones that give the heroes a reason to fight. They are the reason the knights go to battle--to guard the fair ladies. Whether they are capable of defending themselves or not, that is the reason a man fights.

And so, when you are writing heroines, this is very important.

I actually have a lot to say on the topic, but I'm not sure how to word it all.

What are your thoughts? We can discuss this in more depth in the comments section if you'd like.

Oh yes, and now for an epic quote:

I am not a man!

Let the battle of the sexes begin :D lol

To the end,


Aidan Romero said...

First things first, I think I found a mis-spelled word.

Secondly, I disagree when you said it's the heroines that give the heroes the motivation to fight. It probably gives many heroes the reason, but there are heroes who have a higher purpose and cause. Take Frodo Bag-gins, he fought his burden for the love of the Shire and his fellow Hobbits. Some, like Joraiem in "The Binding of the Blade" fought because it needed to be done. Also, Boromir was also motivated by the love for his homeland. But maybe LotR isn't a good example because the heroines aren't in much of it.

Brayden Hirsch said...

Awesome posts. I'm glad you didn't mention Zelda or whoever that warrior princess thing is in your examples. As always, Write Big.


Nathan R. Petrie said...

@Aidan, I'm sure there was a misspelled word :P Spell check didn't pick it up though. I'll read through again lol

Yes of course. All of this is subjective. It's not ALWAYS the reason. But it is a very good one.

Ivorydancer said...

True... very true. But girls shouldn't be so turned off by chivalry. it may appear to underestimate them.... but in truth it's just the order of things. No one ever said they couldn't handle it. Honestly, it's the men's way of showing respect.

But yeah I understand. The heroine in my story (obviously the main character) fills in your... thingy. She's strong and is able to defend herself, but she is still feminine and has no problem with men/boys being ultra chivalrous towards her.

I completely despise the wimpy girls. I hold the book and literally shout "GET A GRIP!"

The kind you faint and are afraid of mice and spiders are.... horrid in my personal opinion :P (though I don't generally like spiders or mice and prefer them out of doors.)

Feminism is hard to maneuver around sometimes when talking about this particular subject so it seems.


Squeaks said...

The word is supposed to be sweet, not sweat...that's the misspell.

As for the post, I enjoyed it, but I can get quite finicky when it comes to male vs. female. In my opinion, guys are the go-getters and girls are the go-getters. They're both the same, except God has place man over woman...but not in an I'm-better-than-you kind of position :P

Heroines are very important attributes of stories. The main problem is that people tend to make girls seem wimpy (as you stated) or overly heroic (they become cold and calloused...kind of like Mindarin in BOTB).

Bonny Silver, in my opinion, was a somewhat wimpy heroine. Personally, I preferred Ashely if I were to vote for a heroic character (I think her last name was Stalwert...or Stalwart...or something like that). Yes, Bonny portrayed a wonderful spirit, but she was always relying on Billy to get her out of situations (of course she did help him). To me, she came across as kind of watery.
On the other hand, Ashley was strong-willed and slightly stubborn. She wasn't afraid to get dirty to do a job...her focus wasn't on romance but on sorting out the problems. I particularly love the scene with Ashley stuck on the never-ending stairway with the Nephilim stumping up the stairs behind her. That scene gave me a wonderful glimpse of her true character!

Of course, these are all personal opinions. I'm interested to see what other people's views on this topic are...


Nathan R. Petrie said...

@IvoryDancer, No, they shouldn't be. Actually, this aversion to it is part of the reason chivalry is dying. I talk to girls at my school all the time...and I almost have to beg them to believe a chivalrous guy exists. It's an evil cycle. Girl thinks no good guys exist. Stops demanding them. Guys quit being good. And so on and so forth. And in any order.

Yeah...the whole topic is sticky :P

@Squeaks,Exactly. They are both capable of the same things. Except man has a specific role as defender, leader, and lover.
Right, any extreme creates a negative heroine. Now, they would still be strong characters in their own right. But they wouldn't fit the image of what is, in my mind, the perfect heroine.
Bonnie gets pretty tough. How many of the books did you read? :D Ashley is a good one too. But in a different way.

Seth said...

Is the quote at the bottom, "I am not a man" speaking of Eowyn in Return of the King? If so it's actually, "I am no man"... "I am no man" is a little more epic lol Of course if you're not talking about that quote then I'm embarrassed and sorry lol

Squeaks said...


I read all the books :P Loved them a ton! They're awesome!

Yeah, Bonnie does get tough, but I guess that Ashley is more my kind of character (although I have to say the time when Bonnie was in the lab in "The Candlestone" and she was flying someone to the rafters to escape being noticed...that was pretty cool).

I agree with your comments about men. They should be the defenders and protectors...etc. I guess I was a bit too riled up to give an appropriate account of things :P


Evergreena said...

I agree with most of your post. The only part that makes me a little uncomfortable is this:

"When you have a masculine hero and your heroines are supporting characters, it seems that the girls are the ones that give the heroes a reason to fight."

Heh. I guess I'm sort of weird in that respect. Maybe it's because all of my main characters have been girls so far. I've had supporting characters and sidekicks be guys, but so far, all my MC's have been girls.

Right now I'm planning 3 different books that have guys as main characters, so perhaps this element will be more prevalent as I keep writing. :)


Squeaks said...

@ Evergreena,

I agree with you...that statement seemed a little bit off to me :P Otherwise it was an awesome, in-depth post.


Ivorydancer said...

lol.... this is kinda funny...

Aidan Romero said...

Yes, that was the mis-spell I saw to. I don't really have anything else I can think to add.

Rien Takhid said...

Ah, women in stories. A very interesting topic. I would agree that they must be strong of spirit and of character to be interesting heroines. I do not think they must be strong of body. Not that they can't just that they don't have to be.

I find that if the female characters are as good as or better than the guys in all physical activities, I don't like them. It isn't realistic (assuming your guy doesn't have a reason to be weak or isn't a wimp). Girls may be strong but, to borrow from Beowulf "Her strength--the battle-strength of a woman--was less than a male whose sword can shear through a helmet."

This is not to say that I think the heroines should be weak and soft, unable to defend themselves without the hero. Far be it from me to say such! My heroine can wield a sword with considerable skill and has made several attempts to brain uninvited visitors to her tent but it is only when she must fight that she does. And she doesn't act like a boy. And I think that if a spider does come crawling over her things, she just might freak out a little--much to her brother's amusement.

I think that the heroines can and often do inspire the heroes to fight harder. As I understand it, guys want to protect their women regardless of said women's ability to protect themselves. (I have five brothers so I think my source on this is fairly reliable :-D) I'm no weakling--my brother's know it--but still they will defend me if they think I am in any way threatened, be it physically or just by disrespect. The guy I admire most outside my family--though he might as well be another brother--has done the same thing. Even if they are not physically present, a simple token can remind the guys what they are fighting for (think Aragorn when he receives the banner Arwen has been weaving for him for years). So while other motivations do spur the heroes on, knowing there is a girl looking on/waiting to hear about it/joining him in the fight can inspire them to even greater deeds.

And what’s to say that physical fighting is the only way a woman can fight? Or a guy for that matter. What if your heroine isn’t a swordfighter but can wield words with such skill that the enemy is confused, or the hero gets the much needed aid. Perhaps the hero is on the battlefield while she remains at home guarding the keep, inspiring the men who remained behind for age or weakness, refusing to give up hope that her hero will be successful.

Modern literature seems to have forgotten that there is more than one way to fight and has placed the heroines in the battlefield alongside the hero at every turn. The stories in which I admire the heroine most are not the ones in which she is fighting with the hero at every turn, proving herself as good as a man. Rather, I enjoy those wherein, even outnumbered and with no hope of escape, the heroine holds firm to her convictions and fights back with every means available and does not give up hope that her hero, be it Christ or a man, will deliver her. There is no weakness in admitting you cannot wield a sword. There is in yielding to the slightest pressure and losing hope in the darkness.

So, it is my opinion that the heroines should be strong of spirit and character, as stated above, and when they are fighting physically, they should not be besting the guys at every turn. I also argue that there are other ways to be a strong character than simply physically.

Squeaks said...

Wow...that was an absolutely great comment Rien Takhid! Let me think for a moment. I agree with much of what you said, but I do disagree with some of your comments about the physical strength of women. I myself know a lot of girls who are more physically courageous at doing things than guys are. And that's here on earth. I think the whole girl vs. guy thing started back during the suffragist wars.

There are key times when women should be stronger than men and men should be stronger than women. I'm not saying that one should dominate the field the whole time (unless you're talking about a female character that you want to be wimpy or overly strong).

In essence, I think that there is a comparison going on in the Bible between man and woman. If you think about it, God is over Jesus, but they both respected each other and are literally equals...I believe it's the same with man and woman (It would take a bit too long to get into it).

*sigh* I guess I'll just leave it at "men will always be men and women will always be women" a recent quote I made up ...

Oops! I can't believe I'm getting into that quoting business :S That "Kill the Thread" post by WTB must be rubbing off on me :S


Galadriel said...

Rien Takhid, I plan to roll myself over to your blog sometime. And Keeneye, this post, again, scores high marks. You have really good examples of heroines who aren't just 'she-roes--' girls trying to be heroes by being guys.
In my current story, I have a girl who starts out kind of wimpy--in her defense, she does have anemia...but in the middle, she actually sneaks into the enemy fortress to rescue a guy who betrayed her family. She has to show him strength because he's gotten so confused about what right is.

Rien Takhid said...


I agree that there are many girls who are more physically courageous than guys. That, however, I would classify as strength of spirit, not strength of body. I simply wish to point out that it is usually unrealistic to have the girl be stronger than the guy at every turn. In general, a average strong girl will be weaker than an average strong guy. I am fairly strong for a girl but my brothers could all best me at feats of strength by the time they were in their teens. Hence my statement that guys are generally stronger than girls.

Now, on the subject of simple courage, far be it from me to say that guys are always braver than girls. That is a far different matter entirely. In fact, I think it may deserve a post of its own on my blog. :-) Courage is hard fought for some and easy for others. Some have it in greater measure. Some can face certain things but not others. (For instance, I would fight tooth and nail if someone tried to harm me or any member of my family but I cannot stand spiders. I have trouble getting within a few feet of those tiny creatures.) So a girl may be more physically courageous, but it does not mean she is more physically strong.

Does that make sense?

And Galadriel: Feel free to pop over any time you like! There isn't much there yet but I am working on being a better blogger.

Rien Takhid said...

One more thing that I forgot to add, Squeaks.

I would also add that I don’t think the girl vs. guy thing started with the suffragist wars. Rather, I put it much, much further back—the Garden of Eden in fact. Genesis 3:16b states “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” So I think that is where it started. Sin has exacerbated the problem and the feminist movement hasn’t helped. But it began there in the garden long ago.

Anonymous said...

I don't have the time to read all the comments, so I'm sorry if I'm saying what's already been said.

Firstly, Keeneye, you have a great talent for writing extremely interesting posts. :) I'm going to have to start quoting you. "They are the reason the knights go to battle--to guard the fair ladies."

Actually, the thing that bothers me most, at least in literature, is not the wimpy girl but essentially the one you described.

Take Anorra of CH's White Lion Chronicles, for instances. To say this as kindly as I can, I loathe her. In my mind, she is the cardboard, walking embodiment of cliched females. It really irks me how she can pretty much, to paraphrase from the book, best any boy in climbing, running, and often in fighting, is stunningly gorgeous, and has that "I'm coming with you on this adventure and that's the end of it" attitude that bugs me but for some reason sparks admiration in all the other characters.

I, a maiden myself, enjoy the tales where the manly men courageously defend the ladies. I don't want most of the females to be wimps or damsels in distress, waiting to be rescued. But I dislike worse the cliched, basically perfect, impossibly epic fighter girls.

Forgive the length of this post and its potential bluntness, I hope I have offended no one.


Storyteller said...

I completely agree with whisper. Obviously, the Snow White type of naive character is not what God intended women to be; He gave females brains.

On the flip side, maidens who act smarter and better than men are not what God intended women to be either. It is stated in Genesis that God created woman to be man's helper. Man is the leader, woman the help-meet.

This is not to say that women cannot use a blade. Obviously, women can be attacked just as well as men.

I think it comes down to this: Man is intended to be the protector and the provider. Woman is intended to help him, not lead him.

Squeaks said...

Drats! For some reason my comment didn't get posted...all that hard work :( Ah well, God must have had a purpose in mind :P

What I was saying, but in a very very simplified format:

@ Riel, Awesome post, I agree with you and will consider the points you've given.

XD Back to work


Anonymous said...

Rein- you hit the nail right on the top. Thanks for posting that!!!

Nathan- I think that modern chivalry is totally dissapearing from our society.

The whole guy vs. girl thing did start at the garden, and it's totally warped in the wrong direction since then. Girls now-a-days think that they're so much better then guys are. Nathan, I must say that I disagree with you on the 'girls are stronger than guys' thing. I forget who said it, but somebody did- the average girl will NOT beat the average guy in strength. God didn't intend for that to happen. Heroines play a big part in stories- they help out the hero, but they shouldn't be fighting in a battle alongside him unless they absolutely have to.

I highly recommend you all read Brian Davis' Charge to Young Women on his blog. It highlights everything we're talking about.

Thank you so much, Nathan, for posting that. It was much bigger and better than I had in mind when I asked you to post it!!!


Anonymous said...

Rein- you hit the nail right on the top. Thanks for posting that!!!

Nathan- I think that modern chivalry is totally dissapearing from our society.

The whole guy vs. girl thing did start at the garden, and it's totally warped in the wrong direction since then. Girls now-a-days think that they're so much better then guys are. Nathan, I must say that I disagree with you on the 'girls are stronger than guys' thing. I forget who said it, but somebody did- the average girl will NOT beat the average guy in strength. God didn't intend for that to happen. Heroines play a big part in stories- they help out the hero, but they shouldn't be fighting in a battle alongside him unless they absolutely have to.

I highly recommend you all read Brian Davis' Charge to Young Women on his blog. It highlights everything we're talking about.

Thank you so much, Nathan, for posting that. It was much bigger and better than I had in mind when I asked you to post it!!!


Pyrosian Heir said...

okay i agree with everything except for where girls don't fight unless they absolutely have to. the heroines in my story (all three of them) will be in almost every battle fighting alongside my two heroes, because the 5 of them are the only ones who can do what must be done. yes that is kind of a necessity thing, but at the same time it isn't because the girls could do defense while the guys go out and lay epic waste to the enemy armies.
soooo yeah... thats my take on it.

Madeline said...

Great post, Keeneye, and I see it has sparked a tad bit of

But, to offer my 2c -

Of course the average strong woman is not as strong as the average strong man - that's the way it is. But that doesn't mean she is not as intelligent or that she can't fend for herself, or that she shouldn't be out fighting with the guys. I definitely wouldn't recommend fantasy combat to just any girl, however, you'd have to really know what you're doing (as should any guy, btw).

But to be very frank, I loathe Bonnie Silver to the utmost, and I heartily agree with whisper. It's not that she isn't strong, but she is just so perfect and angelic that it makes me sick. I like Ashley much better because she actually has useful skills, she can take care of herself, and she has problems just like any real person. She has issues and attitude problems, yes, but that's realistic. Bonnie is NOT what a heroine looks like - basically all she can do to aid the cause is hide from the bad guys, cause if she's caught it'll mean endless trouble and heartache. Frankly, she disgusts me. lol

~ Madeline

Jessica said...

Ok I have tried to comment a few times but they haven't posted waaaa. Finally cleared the problem with my wretched cache. Grr.

EPIC POST! I am so sad to hear that this great series is coming to an end I have loved every post.

A heroine should be everything that you have mentioned. Strong heroines are inspirational and encouraging to me, I find them refreshing and solid roll models for my own life.

There is a huge battle going on whether the man or woman is stronger and what their rolls should be in life. I have laughed and cried over the situations. A man is a man and woman is a woman...but it isn't all that plain. I have recently heard several "messages" calling the women to be the pillars of virtue and quiet keepers of the home and let the men be the leaders. I have no issues with that but men fail to lead what are the women to do? Sit home in knit? I don't think least not all of them. I once read this quote it gave no author but I found it challenging and made me wonder.

The mother writes the character of the future man; the sister bends the fibers that here after are the forest tree; The wife sways the heart, whose energies may but for good or evil the destinies of a nation. Let the woman of a county be a virtuous and intelligent, and the men will be the same.

A heroine should be able to do anything that is required of her. I recently read a book that though I enjoyed it for the most part found the heroine weak. She objected to staying in a cave with two children they were in charge of instead she insisted on going on the dangerous journey, her presence brought more trouble than help and most of the book was used up trying to get or keep her out of sticky situations. At this point it would have been more heroic and character building of her to stay behind in the dark cave to watch the two children...there are plenty of scenarios that would make the story interesting if she had been left in the cave. Mean while she was selfish and demanding and put lives at risk for her personal desires. Now had there been no children that needed guarding I would have seemed to make sense to bring her into the city and make more risky moves.

Heroines should cling to that which is good, right and pure. Be willing and prepared to fight the fight on any field that is presented to them whether it seems noble or utterly silent. The best hero/ine's are often woven in secret building a strong a foundation before outwardly proving themselves.

Should a girl wield a sword and shoot arrows? Yes. Does she always need to in order to be the best heroine? No.

Being a strong girl myself I struggle with finding that perfect balance between being strong yet feminine and helpful. I am stronger then my older brother and am rarely ever the damsel in distress, which is nice but can lead to interesting situations which at times are not all pleasant.

I love this post it is really really good...sorry I rambled on so long.As my word verification says this post is killa.

Have a great day Nathan!


Evergreena said...

@ Rien about spiders: LOL! I'm the same way, actually. For some weird reason, I'm not so afraid of wolves and cougars (yes, there are some of those where I live), but if I see a spider... YIPE! I don't know why. :)


Melissa Rose said...

I think that like any protagonist, a heroine needs to have both strengths and weaknesses to be interesting. The wimpy ones are annoying because they don't have enough strengths, but an ultra-strong, amazing at everything type of heroine is usually just as annoying because she doesn't have enough weaknesses. Who can relate to either of these people? They just aren't realistic. I agree that they should be inspiring. I think that in order to be inspiring they need to be relatable in addition to being strong.

Nathan R. Petrie said...

Lots of comments :D Awesome lol

@Seth, yeah that was the quote. I forgot to look it up. Thanks for setting me straight ;)

@Evergreena, this wasn't a post on what I thought a good idea for a heroine was, though I do think many of these points make good heroines, this was a post on what most good heroines have in common. And it seemed to me that many times the girls are the reason for the men's fighting. Like in the times of knights and such the women for farewell the knights in the streets, it was a way to remind the knights of what they were fighting for--the people, specifically the girls.

@Rien, certainly not. This post was not designed to list things that HAVE to be. Just things that typically ARE. Personally, I have no issue with a girl being able to out-run me, outfight me, etc. When I did karate I experienced firsthand girls kicking seemingly athletic guys' tails. It's very realistic.
And if it came across that I was trying to masculine-ize girls...I wasn't. Again, just pointing out what is common among some of the most successful heroines. Actually, I do believe I said both grace and toughness.
And thank you, that motivation thing is exactly what I meant :D I'm a brother, one of three, with one little sister. She's a tough cookie, but I'm gonna knock a guy's head off for her even if she can do it herself.
As for your final point on modern literature, I think it's like that because the modern writers were trying to do away with the older stories that ALWAYS had the girls relying on the guys. Now we have gone to the opposite extreme, some of the time, where the guys are being rescued by the girls. As you said, we need a mixture.
And yup, more than one way to fight.

Awesomeness Galadriel! and thank you!

@Rien again, Made sense to me :D

@Whisper, keep in mind that TWLC was written by a male. And that kind of girl, obviously, attracted him. And so when he was writing a story about love, he had to write about something he could identify with. And in that story as well, Luik defends Annora like a crazy person. Even rescues her quite a few times. Balance is key.

@Storyteller, That's right. But when the men fail then the women must lead. Or if the men are unavailable, etc.

@DaughterofLight, glad you liked the post :D thanks for the idea!
And while it may be disappearing it is not wholly gone. Girls need to remember this. Demand chivalry and it will return.
I think I said that many times girls are stronger than guys. And this is true. I've experienced it first hand. While the majority of the time this may not be true it IS true a lot of the time. Especially in fiction.
That essay was very good :D

@Heir, everyone has a different taste. And that's why we have different stories. Honestly, I don't think any good hero OR heroine fights unless they have to. And also for them to be good heroes, guy or girl, they would be strong leaders. So it is a combination of leading and humility. Fighting and resisting.

@Madeline, I loved Bonnie for all the reasons you said you hated her. Bryan Davis intentionally made her perfect, on basis of his beliefs. And I don't want to read a story about a sinful hero/heroine. She could hold her own in a battle, was just like normal girls, etc. And she did more than hide. She had to hide in the end because of the story, not her character. In earlier books she kicked the baddies tail. And if it hadn't been for Bonnie....Ashely wouldn't have been in the story lol
I liked

I agree with you Jessica :D

@Evergreena, I'm afraid of spiders too. :D ROFL

@Melissa Rose, I guess it depends on your definition of weakness. There are other weaknesses besides sin.

Madeline said...


Welll, I can see your perspective, and it may be different because you're a guy (I don't really know how other girls feel about Bonnie), but let's just turn the tables for a minute. Would you like to read a story about a heroine who has to overcome her troubles and a hero who is basically a saint? Wouldn't it upset you a little if the main guy character was perfectly perfect in every way? The picture of chivalry and manliness? (As Bonnie is pictured as the epitome of feminity and Godly womanhood?) All I'm saying is, it's not realistic, and it kind of gets me, as a girl, a little aggravated.

Also, what happens is some guys could perhaps develop a picture of a girl like Bonnie as being the picture of what a Godly wife should look like. Unfortunately, such a perfect person doesn't exist. On that flip side, that happens easily and often when perfect and macho guys are pictured in romance novels geared towards girls. A guy like that doesn't exist. ::twilight:: *ahem*

Nathan R. Petrie said...

@Madeline, Yes. I would like to read a story where the main hero is the picture of chivalry, godliness, and manliness. The perfect guy. Maybe it is a gender thing. You think it's unrealistic. For me, it's something to strive for.

And what makes you think someone like her doesn't exist? And who's to say there isn't a guy that is completely chivalrous, honorable, romantic, caring, and everything a girl could want? Twlight, to be honest, creates a border-line evil guy. He traded her soul to satisfy her desires and his own. So he is nothing near this perfect guy. But yeah, I understand.

I see your perspective but I can't imagine living with it. Like I said in a previous post, I spend a lot of my time trying to convince girls that this guy exists. I don't see why they can't believe it.

Anonymous said...

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 3:23

I rest my case. :P

Not really, because I assume you, Nathan, are not arguing that there is a completely, wholly perfect guy/lady in existence. I'm going to assume you mean someone who, while not flawless, is still in nearly all ways admirable. I don't think many of even those people exist; the good majority of us have a lot of issues God's working on in us. There aren't many near-perfect people around; why send readers wishing after that rare species?

La, I've written hastily and I could very well have taken the point and chucked it off a cliff. I pray not and apologize if so. :)

I loathe Twilight. >:)


Madeline said...

I second whisper's comment. That's exactly right - all I'm saying is, kids could wind up being frustrated and disappointed because they can't find this perfect person. And yeah, I'm saying someone without problems doesn't exist. You say they do (am I right?). Fact is, people grow and mature (if they're Christians) to be more Christlike, but they will always have problems. Yes, the Godly character IS something to strive for, but to put a character in a novel like that simply isn't realistic - because none of us will be completely like Christ in this lifetime. We're human, okay, let's face it.

At any rate, I just like flawed characters better because you can relate to them more, and because they are more realistic. But about whether perfect people exist in real life...they don't. But if you're a Christian, you're (hopefully) doing your best, and that's all anyone can ask.

Nathan R. Petrie said...

@Whisper, there may not be MANY. But why set your sights on someone less that that? I guarantee that if girls started demanding guys to become knights they would. And if guys stopped acting like idiots girls would start looking for these guys.
There aren't MANY Christians. But are you striving, seeking, dying for a lost person? The vast majority of the world is going to hell. But does that mean that finding a Christian spouse is improbable? Same goes with finding an honorable one. Why would I sent people seeking after this "rare" species? To protect them, for their own sakes, for love! If people don't expect this "rarity" they will never find it.
If I were a girl...I'd refuse to believe a guy like that doesn't exist. But I digress, that is a different post lol

@Madeline, we can debate whether or not perfection is a possibility another time. For now, let's say it's not possible. Why tell people it's not possible? If you want people to strive to be Christ-like why tell them that "oh btw, you can't ever get what you seek?" This is the same contradiction that you're saying about spouses. Why look for something good, why tell people to save themselves, etc, if finding an equally good spouse is impossible?

I don't like flawed characters because it gives readers an excuse. Of course, I do like weak characters. There's a difference. Like...Frodo, until ROTK, is weak niave etc. But he is far from sinful.

Gwendolyn said...

HTML cannot be accepted? Good grief! What have I done to be so inopportunely banned from posting my lengthy comment? ^_^

Gwendolyn said...

Wow...a lot of interesting response to your post, Nathan! And I'm commenting late. I know. But I didn't get a chance to sit down and type anything out until now, so there. :P

@Ivorydancer - /Are/ a lot of girls turned off by chivalry? I don't know, seeing as I'm not in an environment to observe other young people interacting. Personally, I know I tend to respond a little awkwardly to gentlemanly behaviour,
simply because it catches me completely off guard. I'm not used to it. I'm used to opening the doors for the guys and carrying the heavy boxes myself. ^_^ But I
truly do like it when a guy does go out of his way to be chivalrous.

And wimpy girls. Phew. I totally agree with you there!

@Rien Takhid - A great comment. I find your thoughts helpful, especially as I'm writing a story with the girl as the main character. I was having some trouble with finding a balance between toughness and femininity. This helps. Really.

@Madeline - Loathing Bonnie Silver? Those ares some strong words. As a girl who had major attitude problems and an issue with anger before becoming a Christian, I found Bonnie a refreshing role model. She encouraged me and pointed me towards a better way. She made me /want/ to be something more than an impure sinner who went
to bed each day to brood over my disobedient heart. I know Nathan doesn't want this to turn into a debate on whether or no holiness is possible, but I just wanted to let you know that there are girls with other opinions about her out
there. And, whether you could or not, I could relate to her very well. She has some of the same trials in her life that I do, and her actions in those similar trials helped me much. So anyway...on to your next comment. ^_^

Bonnie is exactly what Godly men should look for in a wife. Holy. Feminine. Pure and gentle. I strive to be like her; the fact that I have not yet attained her
grace and sweetness is not a deterent or a discouragement, but an encouragement to keep on climbing. And I don't see how you could imply she had no problems to
overcome. She had to learn to be content with what she called a deformity. She dealt with lonliness and distrust because of her father's mistreatment. (Trust me. That is truly a mountain to climb; I know.) She struggled through losing her mother and being seperated from her friends. But through all these trials, she
lived "never alone". She kept the faith and walked in Light. Does that make her disgusting? To you, perhaps; but not to me.

Gwendolyn said...

@Jessica - I love the quote that you gave. It makes me wonder why many women seem to feel that they need to maintain a 'equal' role in life with men. Aren't we as girls given a charge so much greater than simply competing over whether we can do anything and everything a guy can?

@Evergreena - Aren't most girls? :P I'm no coward. But if I see a two inch black and fuzzy spider walking up the wall beside my bed....I am most definitely
sleeping someplace else in the house that night.

@Melissa Rose - Ditto to that. If a heroine (or even a hero) is portrayed as invincible and without care, it becomes torturous to read about them.

@Nathan - If you're afraid of spiders, who's gonna smush 'em for the girls who don't?! And....ditto on Twilight. That hero makes me sick. More of emotional ornagraphy than the perfect guy... Eep. If I see any more girls I know who have
fallen in love with the series, I believe I shall cry out, "Help, murder, police!" with right good will. :P

And I am confident in saying that I am a girl who refuses to believe that noble and gentlemanly guys don't exist. True, I haven't grown up around gentlemen. But I know they're out there. And I'm not going to second guess that. A rare species may be rare, but it's still out there, ladies! And guys, y'all who have made the choice to be knights instead of knaves, I applaud you. You're awesome!

*ahem* Now to actually get around to commenting on what Nathan originally posted. As always, I found this post both interesting and instructional. Now I have a much clearer picture of what my heroine ought to be. Strong in mind, strong in body, and strong in soul. And sweet. Wimpy heroines do get on my nerves, as was stated
before. They...have no purpose in the story (or so it seems) other than to annoy the reader dreadfully and give us a good excuse to write a bad review. Although this is seen more (at least for me) in the cheesy romance books, I hate it when
the guy is everything to a sniveling little whiner. Protecter. Defender. Guide.
Giver of emotional strength. I mean...girls, get a grip! What are authors doing to their ladies? It's disgusting. ^_^

And now, I shall shut up and move on to the next post down to comment.

Nathan R. Petrie said...

@Gwen, better late than never right? LOL does seem a lot of girls are, like you said, simply caught off guard. Maybe they aren't adverse to it, rather just not used to it. If we guys could get them used to it... LOL

Your thoughts on Bonnie: I've been praying for you :) Hope things are going well. And that's how I feel about most all characters. The heroes should be role models. They will have things to overcome but they WILL overcome them. And that makes them identifiable AND something to look up to.

Oh and I will squish the spiders for the girls. I will overcome my disgusting feeling for them LOL
Yeah...Edward makes me sick....

Thanks Gwen. The guys trying to be knights don't often get encouragement. Most of the time they're told it's not possible and that they themselves do not exist. Disheartening really. Especially when fewer still are the maidens waiting for them.

"Protecter. Defender. Guide.
Giver of emotional strength"

Guys can still be this and it be fine, they should be actually LOL. But you don't need a wimpy girl to do this. lol

Thanks for commenting! Always love your thoughts :)

Gwendolyn said...

Ack! Unformatting my comments?! What else is my crazy computer going to do to me? >.<

Sometimes late can be too late. :P But yeah. Better comment now than to comment next year while looking through the archives...

According to human perspective, things are going worse than ever. But the Lord of Hosts shall prevail! I have confidence in my heavenly Father, and all will be well in the end. Thank you for your prayers. I don't think I could express how much I appreciate them. :-)

I suppose a guy could be, to some extent. But I'm talking about the girls who have nothing to bring - no strength of character, no emotional stability, no purity...and they find this guy who sweeps them off their feet and turns their life into heaven. It never does work that way. And I can't stand reading stories where the guy is EVERYTHING. Where a girl is incapable of being something outside of a certain dashing and romantic guy. Bleh. ^_^

Anonymous said...

You guys are totally right. Twilight makes me gag- literally. Why even GO there?! It's such a dumb story- that I know from what I've heard, seen and read. Sorry if I'm stepping on anyone's toes! : D

Does anyone know where BD's Charge to Young MEN is? I want to print it out as a guideline for some of my guy characters. (Besides me, is there anyone who finds it hard to 'get into the mind' of a guy if you're a girl author?! I have NO idea of what to make Aaron do. And he's my main character! Any help from people who DO know how to 'get into their minds'- without going TOO far lol?)


Nathan R. Petrie said...

@Gwen, Certainly. Always praying :)
Right, a girl should still have a sense of meaning/purpose without a guy. did this turn into discussing roles of men and women? LOL

@DOL, I think he posted it on his blog. If you look through the archives you can find it well enough.

And personally, I LOVE writing girl characters. I feel like I do a better job with them than I do with guys lol Weird right?

Gwendolyn said...

This is our version of the battle of the sexes, Nathan. :P Or so it seems.

It is in his blog archives...somewhere... Let me look.

Yes! Here's the link, DoL.

I actually don't have too much trouble with writing guy characters. There are some caveats with rounding them out, but sometimes they can be easier to work with than girl characters.

Anonymous said...

Weird. I have some trouble with guy characters, but I do WAY better with girl characters.

Thank you SOOO much, Gwendolyn!! I'll use it.

Did you all see the post on WTB's blog about character in the NFL? It was great! He started talking about dating and the differences in men and women. Check it out.


"Stand tall now and proclaim what you have seen, speak in whispered roars..."