How Many Women Characters Are in Your Book?
March is Women’s History Month, though I actually don’t like these types of events. They exist because history and even present doesn’t always recognize people outside of a select group. I remember one time, when I was in the military I was talking to one of of the NCOs. He was African-American, and he lamented that it would be a long time before he saw an African-American President of the United States. I told him that it would happen before a woman became President.
You know how that came out.
To look at the high levels of politics and management, and even to look at books, it doesn’t look like there’s many women out there. I find far too many books where there’s only one woman character. Even a book with 100 characters, and 99 are men. How exactly is this reality? It’s like history months. We’ll recognize one to sell the books, and everything else will be status quo. And by the way, we’ll put in skintight leather, too, because the men are the important readers, not the women.
Okay, that may not be accurate, but that’s the impression I keep getting. And it’s made worse when the lone woman character tends toward masculine and immature.
I want my women characters to be smart.
I want my women characters to be mature within range of their age.
I want my women characters not to be sex objects.
And especially, I want there to be more than one woman character in the book.
Is that too much to ask?
My short story “A Soldier’s Magic” appears in the anthology The Darkness Within, available from Indigo Mosaic Publishing. It features two women soldiers who have to make a tough decision to save a lot of people. There are three women in the story.