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  • Writer's pictureJenna Moreci


HelloOoOo everybody!

In honor of Leila, the main character of my novel The Savior’s Sister, I am breaking down my 10 absolute favorite tropes regarding female characters in fiction. Some of these tropes are in The Savior's Sister. Others are in some of my favorite movies and books. Regardless, I love them and I want more of them.

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Number 1: Looks Like a Princess but Will Gut You Like a Fish

This is listed as number one for a reason! A lot of writers are afraid to write a feminine leading lady, and I get it . . . Actually no, I don't. I'm obsessed with female characters who are pretty, and like pretty things, and enjoy shoes, and like to do their makeup, but cross them wrong and you're gonna find their foot so far up your ass it tickles your colon. She's shopping during the day, she’s cutting bitches at night. She's powdering her nose, she's breaking your nose. Now she doesn't have to be physically violent–though that is quite delightful. A strawberry shortcake who can slay a man with her words has my heart forever and always. These women give me everything and I am forever indebted to their service to society.

Number 2: The ACTUAL Badass Woman

When a writer claims a woman is a badass, and then she actually is a badass. She's an assassin who actually assassinates people. She's a warrior who battles in war. I'm kind of sad that I gotta put this on the list because it should be a given, but more often than not in fiction when a woman is described as badass, she very rarely gets opportunities to show it. So when a writer actually shows their Xena Warrior Princess slaughtering the masses, I get giddy. Look at her go! She's crazy! Again, she doesn't have to be badass in a lethal way, but in whatever way she's badass, if she's putting her money where her mouth is, I'm buying it.

Number 3: Queens

Princesses abound in fiction–and you know what? Princesses kind of suck. Give me a queen and you have my full attention. Queens have power. They have experience. They've seen some shit. I want to read about that bitch. Have you ever seen a queen staring out a window, singing “Someday my prince will come?” Fuck, no. A queen's got shit to do. She's got moves to make. And besides, a prince? Pfft! Bitch, please. Queens got standards. Queens are some of my favorite female characters. They are highly underrepresented in fiction, and we writers need to fix that ASAP.

Number 4: Goddesses

I see a lot of gods in fiction these days. Where are my goddesses at? Hello! I love retellings about existing goddesses in mythology and fiction. I love the creation of brand-new goddesses. I love all the goddesses. I want them all. There is something inspiring about a celestial, powerful, heavenly woman. Likewise, a dark, insidious, demonic queen of the underworld is just as enticing. That could be me one day! I just want to read about these ladies because they give me something to aspire toward. Immortality. Endless power. Blood sacrifices. Sign me up!

Number 5: Passing the Bechdel Test

If you’re unfamiliar with the Bechdel Test, it's a measure of female representation in fiction. If a piece of media passes the Bechdel Test, it features two or more female characters who have a conversation at least once about something other than a man. This exists because an alarming majority of media fail this test miserably. Horrendously. Pathetically. When a book passes the test, it's overwhelmingly noticeable because one, it's rare and two, it's realistic. Women speak to one another about things that don't always involve a penis. It’s shocking, but it's true.

Number 6: “Here’s What We’re Gonna Do.”

Ladies with agency are my jam. I read an article once about how insanely common it is for women in fiction to at some point in the story turn to a man and say, “What are we going to do now?” I'm not saying she's got to have all the answers, but can she at least have some of them? She can absolutely ask for help from time to time, but can she make some decisions for herself just as often? Why? Because that's how human beings with developed brain capacity function. I'm not asking for much here.

Number 7: The Sex-Positive Gal

She doesn't have to have loads of sex. She can be asexual, or a virgin. I don't give a fuck! I just love a female character who isn’t walking around like, “Oh my God, whore! Oh my God, slut!” Let the lady be horny. Let the lady masturbate. If she's not the horny type, let her acknowledge that some people are, and that's fine! I just get really excited about female characters who don't have outdated hang-ups about sex or sexuality. It's refreshing because, for a long time, women in fiction were constantly hating on other female characters for having sex, or not having enough sex, or for being too sexy, or not being sexy enough, and blah, blah, blah. I'm having an aneurysm. Now there are so many books where female characters acknowledge that sex is a thing that exists and that's kind of about it. Some people like it. Some people don't. Who cares! Do you.

Number 8: FUCK Your Love Triangle

I’m gonna be honest–I might have made this trope up. I'm genuinely not sure. If it doesn’t exist, it really should. I want to read a book that sets up a super cliche love triangle, and then when it comes time for the woman to choose her man, she says, “Fuck this shit, I'm out!” The single life is the life for me. That would be a revelation because, in most books with love triangles, both of the dudes suck. Edward was a stalker. Jacob assaulted her. Why don't you just go to college, Bella? Learn to love yourself, ’cause you make bad choices.

Number 9: The Self-Starter

I know everyone loves a good mentor character, but hear me out–fuck mentors. I enjoy a female character who doesn't have a singular person teaching her all the ways of the land. She's gotta scour the land and learn its ways for herself. I'm not sure why I love this trope so much. Could it be because I personally relate? No, of course not! Yes, it is. It's just refreshing to read about women who are treated as capable adults. Sure they make mistakes, they fall on their ass. But the fact is they try, without prompting! They're out there pursuing a goal. They don't got anyone carrying them, and I want to read the shit out of it!

Number 10: She's Tall

People are obsessed with writing teeny, tiny women. I'm talking five feet and under. Ain’t nothing wrong with a short woman. Leila in The Savior’s Sister is a hair over five-foot-three. But with the sheer volume of short female leads in fiction, you'd think that the average female height is four-foot-eight. (It’s five-foot-four if you weren't aware.) Everyone's obsessed with microscopic female leads and insanely tall male leads, and I'm over it. I'm a tall woman, and we never get female leads! Sure do get a lot of villains, though. Look, even an average-height woman is fine–just anything besides a four-foot-nothing diminutive damsel. We get it, you want your female lead to be dainty, but you're actually just making yourself look like a creep writing about a grown woman the size of a child. And to the very few writers out there who give me tall leading ladies, I feel so seen!

So that's all I've got for you today!

Author Jenna Moreci.

If any of your favorites were on this list, comment them below! If I missed some of your favorites, comment them below as well!


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