This is a bit of personal ramble, so bear with me.
The past few days have gotten me thinking about the various female characters that I've written into my stories. Results have been mixed, bordering on poorly thought out and otherwise bland. This came out of a conversation with a fellow writer in regards to a recent submission. The story is about a very bad man doing very bad things for petty reasons [revenge]. Everyone's a victim in some manner during the story even the main character, but the one strong woman in the story still didn't shine. After the talk, I began to look at her, the situation, and resolution, coming to conclusion that she's just another victim as written. Not a satisfying conclusion as I want to reuse her in later stories. There's some serious potential based on the events in the story. I spent a good 2-3 hours rewriting her part in the story and making her more active and less a victim. She's still a victim, but not one that just rolls over, and she stands up the main character to call him on his shit.
This leads me to my novella and the main female character therein. One of my beta readers summed it up nicely – she's just a generic love interest. Generic. Boring. Bland. Nothing special. That's a big stumbling block and been the source of more than a few thoughts on how to change it. The solution is simple. She needs a more active role in the story. There's a few scenes early on that I could use in and show why the main character is attracted to her, other than the sex and pretty face. She needs to kick ass just like the boys. She needs to be a full person, not just a name & face or prize to be fought over. It requires a change in my thought process, both in what I write and how I act.
There's still room for improvement. Lucky for me, I've got seriously good beta readers to keep on the path to being a better writer and a better person.