Recently I read a book series with two important female characters; one of which was unnecessary, the other was a waste of great potential, and they both were just pieces in a stupid love triangle. No one likes jealous girls, people.
After reading making that realization about those characters, I sat down and typed up a nice long rant on my phone. Once I’d finished that, I thought about my own characters. I realized I had a lot to fix.
Female characters shouldn’t just be strong. (Or, heaven forbid, just there to please the male protag.) They should be interesting. Let her cower in a corner. Let her cry for absolutely no reason. Make her willing to flirt and lie to get her way. Let her kick butt. Let her not take no for an answer. Let her be complicated, confused, and afraid of her mission, because real people are.
I feel that the single-most thing that absolutely ruins female characters is being created especially for the guy. I.e. you could remove her from the story and the main plot wouldn’t change. This makes her boring, two-dimensional, and most importantly, she makes the reader close the book and let it collect dust. Also on those lines, a character created solely for a love triangle with an already-existing character. (Brenda from James Dashner’s The Maze Runner series, for example.) Please, for goodness sake, don’t create a character like this.
Remember that this isn’t just for protagonists – the same rules apply to all secondaries, too. “Treat all your secondary characters like they think the book’s about them.” – Jocelyn Hughes.
Comment below if you have any questions or trouble. Good luck!