How to Write a Kick-Ass Girl Character
a blog by author Kiersten White
We can accomplish this in three easy steps!
Step one: Write girl
Step two: Write ass
Step three: Write girl kicking ass
But okay, maybe we can get into it a little more. I’ll break it down into three parts: Motivations, Methods, and Consequences.
Why does your girl need to kick ass? What is driving her to become a powerful force in her world? All the things that inform who your girl becomes will be critical. It doesn’t matter what type of ass she’s kicking—verbally bringing down the school’s biggest jerk, becoming a rogue assassin in a post-apocalyptic nightmare country, or figuratively slaying it as the surprisingly political-savvy princess. (Or, in Lada from And I Darken’s case, just plain beating the living daylights out of people.) She needs a reason to be focused, determined, and trained on her goals. Is she trying to save her reputation? To avenge her family? To become queen bee at her school? She has to have a reason, and that reason will depend on who she is as a person.
Now that you know your character’s motivations, you’ll be better able to determine her methods. For example, Lada tries to compete as a man would. She’s very physical and has no patience for subtlety or playing by society’s rules—even when it hurts her. But another character, Huma, uses what people want from her as a woman against them. And yet another character, Mara, finds what power she can in crafting clever political alliances before someone else can beat her to it. There’s more than one way to kick ass, and the best way for your character will be determined by who she is and what she wants.
Every action and choice has a consequence, and kicking ass is no exception. Particularly when it comes to physical violence, we need to see the toll it takes on your character both in body and spirit. If your girl is focused on political maneuvering in everything she does, how does that affect her personal relationships? And what happens when someone she loves stands between her and the figurative or literal ass that needs kicking? It’s these decisions—and the pain that comes with them—that make a character’s journey truly interesting.
So, with those three things in mind—motivations, methods, and consequences—you are now armed to go forth and kick some ass in writing!
Don't forget to enter the competition for Kiersten's new novel, And I Darken
Thank you to Kiersten White for writing this support blog & sharing her insights into kick-ass character building }:)