Sally Green: Strong Women with Soul

Sally_Green

Wednesday 11th February, 2015

10.25 p.m. I sit down to write a 500 word blog post about strong female role models in YA fiction.

10.30 p.m. Struggling a little so google ‘strong YA females’ for inspiration. There’s a list. Glance down it.

10.32 p.m. It’s a long list! I try to feel inspired by all these strong women.

10.35 p.m. Still feel I’m missing something. Consider making cup of tea. Stare at screen.

10.40 p.m. Pep talk to self: Come on Sally, this is an important subject. You’re a woman and a writer of YA fiction, you should be ripping this subject up. Write something! Be that strong woman!

11.00 p.m. Maybe I should start with my own writing. Yep, good idea.

11.02 p.m. Begin:-

I’m often asked why I chose to write a book about witches and I answer along these lines… I wanted to create a world of witches where women had stronger magical powers and higher social status. I purposely avoided the word wizard to emphasise the importance of females. I love the Hunters (the White Witch police force) who are a sort of Amazonian SAS (with a few token men who have to be extremely good to be allowed to join).  

11.09 p.m. Read the words I have written and count them.

11.10 p.m. Delete the 80 words I have written.

11.12 p.m. Begin to hate strong women in YA fiction or anywhere else.

11.13 p.m. Find I’m aimlessly browsing on twitter – close it down (the sure sign of a strong woman).

11.16 p.m. Begin to wonder why I’m not able to write about this – then I start to get excited…

11.17 p.m. As it turns out I like strong female characters not because they’re strong, or rather not because of their strengths. I like them because of their flaws and their vulnerability. I want my heroine to have to fight against her own weaknesses, self-doubt and fear as much as the enemy troops who surround her. And I can assure you I don’t mind whether strong female characters work for good or for evil, but they have to work.

And let me be clear on this I’m no more interested in strong men than strong women. I always found Superman unattractive as he was just too perfect: give me a flawed hero every time.

I’m told strong female characters are good for YA fiction, teens, and society at large, and I agree, but they shouldn’t be perfect, they need to be human otherwise they aren’t role models.

So whatever their gender I want to read about characters in fiction who are strong but flawed, who may well fight with the rebels but are filled with questions about killing, and yes, I want my heroine to actually kill someone. Then I’ll back her all the way.

So what I’ve realised tonight is that I want to see how the story plays out not just on the battlefield but in the heroine’s soul.

11.21 p.m. Feeling strong. Going to bed. 500 words done.

Half Wild PBHalf Bad bis Sally Green’s first novel and is on this year’s YA Prize shortlist. Her next novel, Half Wild publishes on 26 March.

@Sa11eGreen

halfbadworld.com

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