As you probably know if you’ve been around for a while at my various other dens of iniquity, I like to write fiction. A lot. I don’t always finish it or am all that timely about it, but I do like to write. Part of the problem I have with finishing anything is that I will get an idea for something new before I have finished what I was working on and it will just roll around in my brain until I write it- thus leaving previous things unfinished. Gah, it is my curse.
In any event, since day one, the first time I picked up a pencil and started writing fiction, which was in about the third grade or so, I have always liked strong women characters. However, that love is not reserved for heroic women characters. I love me a great villain. In fact, I don’t even do heroic that well…anti hero, sure, but hero-hero? Not so much. Two of my longest works, one an actually finished book length deal, and the second being an ongoing series of stories (er, is over 150 pages a shot a story ? meh), shoot, I do not know if there are characters in them, aside from very small, small parts, who could actually ever really be considered “good guys”. Are there some characters who are less horrible than others? Sure. But outright heroic? Ummm, not so much. In any event, in anything I write, there are always strong female characters, “good” ones and bad, bad, bad.
There are people who have wondered about my propensity for female villains. Women who are quite horrible in many ways, like a certain white-haired assassin from my on going series…but you know? I find her hard not to like. She has no loyalties to anyone or anything, no strings, no attachments, and her word is worth exactly what people pay for it. She also has a sense of humor (though it is a bit off). And I tend to find that the women I like to write, even the villains, are not stuck in the same stupid roles that are out there for women villains. The scheming sex maven. The passive-aggressive plotter. The woman who plays all weak and defenseless while manipulating the crap out of other people. They don’t rely solely on their social skills, or looks, or things that women are “supposed” to use or “have to” rely on. They might use those things, sure, but in many cases they are smart, crafty, physically adept, have excellent plans…and in a few cases in my fiction, when everyone has been played against everyone in almost any way you can imagine…some woman character that you thought was merely a hench(wo)man or a tool or just another person getting played? Well hell, they are the ones who wrote the rules to the game and put all the pieces on the board. And yeah, I do get asked about this some times…you know, putting women characters out there who are, for lack of a better term, world class scumbags. You know, that such things might be a negative image of women and whatnot? I suppose my answer to that is…
I always loved strong women characters, hero or villain, but especially the villains because you just don’t ever really see that. Its like people seem afraid to put seriously bad, seriously evil female characters in anything unless those characters are somehow in debt/service/supportive roles to more villainous males. Or, if they are a main villain, they are…well…yeah. Which as much as I like the outfit and all? It gets old. Been done to death. Sure, female villains can be sexy or have sex and all that other stuff, but when that is all there is to them, or that is so amazingly overpowering to everything else they do? Meh. So Bond Bad Girl it is not even funny, and so done to death.
I want female characters that are more than that. I want my female villains to be evil, creepy, brutal. I want them heinous and loathsome and vile. Smart, savage, ruthless, with either ice in their veins or rage in their hearts or poison in their souls. I want, in all their badness and atrocity and villainy to be equal. I want people to hate/be disturbed by/ or hell, like them as much as they would male villains. For all the same reasons…and not just because “she looks hot”.
Some of the most memorable characters in any work of fiction are the villains…so yeah, I try to create female villains people will remember- and not just because they have cool wardrobes.
I leave on that note with The General, probably one of the most horrible female villains I have ever come up with…if not the most. And damn if I do not like writing her.