Writer’s Corner: Writing strong female protagonists

We are well into the swing of the Kickstarter for Delilah and the Women in the West adventure series. One thing that stands out with the books in this series are its strong female protagonists and female historical characters which make appearances in each one. But it takes finesse to create a tough female character that is believeable.

So how do you write a strong character? According to the Six Figure Author Podcast’s (episode 108 “Are Your Craft Choices Hurting Your Booksales?”) Jo Lollo strong characters are well defined, but not necessarily one who can win a fight, but they must be an imposing and vital character to the story. Andrea Pearson adds that strong characters should have inner strangths, which can become weaknesses in certain situations. Lindsay Buroker says that they need to be believeable, especially with female characters.

I’m as big a supporter of women and women’s rights, etc… as the next guy or gal, but let’s be realistic. Readers are not going to believe that an average woman isn’t going to beat a man in hand to hand combat, because females are naturally smaller and have less physical strength than men do. That’s not realistic. Don’t make your female character go to walk into a biker bar and kick everybody’s butt unless you’ve given her superpowers, or magic, or some reason, like being a Karate expert or an Amazon warrior, that she can do such incredible things. And of course, your characters need to be flawed so they have room to change and grow by the end of the story.

I gave Delilah a background which explains why she is so tough and gritty, after growing up with abuse and surviving two years in the territorial prison, readers know she doesn’t take things lying down, so it comes as no surprise when she sets out after the two men who raped her and left her for dead, and abducted her 14 yeaar old ward, Sarah. In the first chapter, she is practicing with a handgun, because she knows this is a weakness which needs to be turned into a strenghth for her to survive. So when, later in the book, she makes an amazing shot, we know she earned that ability through hard work and practice.

The other women in the series, Sarah and Marta, are introduced in the first book, but they too are flawed in ways which allow them room to grow stronger. Sarah is fourteen when she is abducted, but by the time her story is through she will become a strong woman who readers will root for. Marta is a mild mannered Mormon woman, travelling across the Colorado frontier when her family is killed and she is taken in an Indian raid – all experiences which will change her life and make her stronger for when she is the protagonist of her own book.

The protagonist in the book I’m working on now, The Rockstar and the Outlaw is also a female with strong inner strength and many flaws. She is a singer, a rock star, with an addictive personality, which includes adrenaline as well as drugs, who finds herself in a situation which she knows she can’t win. Amaryllis escapes with the help of a time-traveling outlaw from the old west, but finds that trouble awaits her, no matter where or when she goes, and when the tables are turned the outalw can depend on the rock star to have his back. She also has a backstory, living a life od drugs, sex, and rock ‘n roll, which makes her strengths and weaknesses both realstic and believable. Her inner strengths allow her to save herself and do what is needed when called upon, in a fashion that readers can buy into.

So, you see, a character’s flaws can be used as building blocks to make the character’s actions believable, or you can give them a backstory which validates their strengths, in order to make their daring feats more believable. It is the inner strengths we are referring to when we talk about strong characters, although characters may need to be physically strong to back up their inner strengths. But you do have to take care that the strengths that you give them are realistic and believable. Of course, if you’re writing fantasy, giving her superpowers or magic might be believable. But if your protgonist is an ordinary woman, you shouldn’t give her extrordinary abilities. Readers are smart. They won’t buy it.

You can still join in to support the Kickstarter campaign for Delilah and the Women in the West adventure series here, if you haven’t already: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kayelynnebooth-wcp/delilah-women-in-the-west-adventure-series

Your support is greatly appreciated.

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For Kaye Lynne Booth, writing is a passion. Kaye Lynne is an author with published short fiction and poetry, both online and in print, including her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction; and her paranormal mystery novella, Hidden Secrets. Kaye holds a dual M.F.A. degree in Creative Writing with emphasis in genre fiction and screenwriting, and an M.A. in publishing. Kaye Lynne is the founder of WordCrafter Quality Writing & Author Services and WordCrafter Press. She also maintains an authors’ blog and website, Writing to be Read, where she publishes content of interest in the literary world.

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Join Kaye Lynne Booth & WordCrafter Press Readers’ Group for WordCrafter Press book & event news, including the awesome releases of author Kaye Lynne Booth. Get a free digital copy of her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction, as a sampling of her works just for joining.


Delilah and I need your support

The Kickstarter for Delilah and the Women in the West adventure series starts today and we need your support. You can show your support for as little as five dollars, and recieve a digital copy of the book in return. And there are signed print copies and other great rewards for the higher levels of support as well, including plus some pretty cool add-ons that I’m excited to share with you. I’m asking each one of you to click on the link below and check it out.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kayelynnebooth-wcp/delilah-women-in-the-west-adventure-series

Some of you may know why this book is so special to me, but I’ll briefly tell you, in case you don’t. Delilah was the first book I ever wrote. It started as an assignment meant to get me to write outside my comfort zone, and turned out to be a genre I truly enjoy writing. After I got it written, I received some feedback that caused me to make changes that affected the second half of the book.I had it in a publisher’s hands for five years, but they didn’t do a whole lotto promote it and they only sold a few copies. I tried two different covers for it, including one that I designed myself, and if I’m honest, they were both pretty awful.

When the contract was up, I got my rights back, revised the book to reflect the original story, and began developing the idea for this series. In the Women in the West adventure series, each book features a strong female protagonist and cameo appearances by bold historical female characters for a Western Women’s Historical Fiction series which may be the first of its kind. At this time, there are three books planned: Delilah the tale of a woman who overcomes all odds in the Colorado frontier as she sets out to avenge the wrongs done to her and rescue Sarah, her ward who was abducted. Sarah’s story after being traded to the Utes makes up the second book. The heroine of the third book, Marta, is a Mormon woman who we also met in Delilah, and her story tells us her fate after being abducted by the Utes and then returned to civilization.

Women in the West is going to be a great series. Delilah is scheduled for release on March 21, 2023, but Kickstarter supporters will recieve their digital copies early and for less than the 5.99 retail price. So please drop by and see what all the fuss is about. If a Kickstarter campaign doesn’t fund, or meet it’s goal, the creator doesn’t get anything, so your support will be greatly appreciated. I think Delilah is a wonderful story, which readers of westerns, historical fiction, or womens fiction will enjoy. Please come on over and join the campaign today.


Kickstarter for Delilah coming in January

Delilah

Exciting News!

The re-release of Delilah is scheduled for March 21, 2023, from WordCrafter Press. After almost a year of revisions, this isn’t just a ‘slap a new cover on and call it good’ type of release. This is the story of Delilah as it was originally intended, and it’s being launched as the first book in my new Women in the West adventure series!

It all starts with Delilah

Books 2 & 3 in the series will feature the stories of Sarah and Marta, who are introduced in Delilah, but both have stories of their own worthy of telling. They will be released in 2024 & 2025 respectively. I am truly excited about this new series, which features strong female protagonists and strong historical women in supporting roles.

Delilah is available for pre-order now: https://books2read.com/DelilahWIW

The Book

Delilah is a woman haunted by her past.

Her homecoming from prison quickly turns into a quest for vengeance when she is brutally raped and left for dead, and her fourteen-year-old ward is abducted. Sheer will and determination take this tough and gritty heroine up against wild beasts of the forest, Indians and outlaws to Leadville, Colorado, where she .

Can the colorful inhabitants of the Colorado mining town work their way into Delilah’s heart, offering a chance for a future she thought she’d lost along with her innocence?

If you like strong and capable female protagonists, you’ll love Delilah.

Upcoming Kickstarter Campaign

To bring in 2023 right, I will be running a Kickstarter campaign for Delilah January 2 – 31. It’s my very first Kickstarter, so I’m starting out small, with a goal of $500. The money raised will be used to improve covers and to fulfill the wonderful rewards which will be offered.There will be lots of great stuff offered, and I need all the support I can get, so I hope you all will drop by and show your support.

When you support my Kickstarter at any level you get an early digital copy of Delilah, which will be delivered before the March 21st release date, and there will also be opportunity to recieve a signed print copy, or even to name a character in book 2, Sarah. You might also get access to an interview by Sara W. McBride with Delilah herself, or to an audio story narrated by me, of my flash fiction western, “I Had to Do It”, or a PDF of my western paranormal short, “Don’t Eat the Pickled Eggs”.

You can check it out now, on my Kickstarter pre-launch page, which will take you directly to the Kickstarter once it goes live. While you’re there, sign up to be notified upon launch, so you can be there on Day 1. Your support will be greatly appreciated.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kayelynnebooth-wcp/delilah-women-in-the-west-adventure-series

Kaye Lynne Booth lives, works, and plays in the mountains of Colorado. With a dual emphasis M.F.A. in Creative Writing and an M.A. in Publishing, writing is more than a passion. It’s a way of life. She’s a multi-genre author, who finds inspiration from the nature around her, and her love of the old west, and other odd and quirky things which might surprise you.

Kaye Lynne Booth lives, works, and plays in the mountains of Colorado. With a dual emphasis M.F.A. in Creative Writing and an M.A. in Publishing, writing is more than a passion. It’s a way of life. She’s a multi-genre author, who finds inspiration from the nature around her, and her love of the old west, and other odd and quirky things which might surprise you.

She has short stories featured in the following anthologies: The Collapsar Directive (“If You’re Happy and You Know It”); Relationship Add Vice (“The Devil Made Her Do It”); Nightmareland (“The Haunting in Carol’s Woods”); Whispers of the Past (“The Woman in the Water”); Spirits of the West (“Don’t Eat the Pickled Eggs”); and Where Spirits Linger (“The People Upstairs”). Her paranormal mystery novella, Hidden Secrets, and her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction, are both available in both digital and print editions at most of your favorite book distributors.

In addition, she keeps up her authors’ blog, Writing to be Read, where she posts reflections on her own writing, author interviews and book reviews, along with writing tips and inspirational posts from fellow writers. Kaye Lynne has also created her own very small publishing house in WordCrafter Press, and WordCrafter Quality Writing & Author Services, where she offers quality author services, such as publishing, editing, and book blog tours. She has served as a judge for the Western Writers of America and sitting on the editorial team for Western State Colorado University and WordFire Press for the Gilded Glass anthology and editing Weird Tales: The Best of the Early Years 1926-27, under Kevin J. Anderson & Jonathan Maberry.

In her spare time, she is bird watching, or gardening, or just soaking up some of that Colorado sunshine.

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Join Kaye Lynne Booth & WordCrafter Press Readers’ Group for WordCrafter Press book & event news, including the awesome releases of author Kaye Lynne Booth. Get a free digital copy of her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction, as a sampling of her works just for joining.