Friday, May 27, 2011

Independent and Strong Female

I've been seeing a lot of discussions lately bemoaning the strong female character who really isn't all that strong or independent.  So I thought I'd take a day to explore what I think makes a woman truly strong or independent.  Maybe someone will take something from what I have to say.

My Mom is the strongest, most independent person I know.

My Dad passed away almost 11 years ago.  He was sick for half of my life, diagnosed with cancer when I was seven, getting Hodgkin's and Shingles, multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, a bone marrow transplant, two ruptured discs in his back, a heart attack, and ultimately succumbing, not to the cancer cured by the BMT, but to congestive heart failure of a heart damaged by too much chemotherapy and radiation and too little activity after rupturing the discs in his back.

Through those 8 years (he passed when I was 15), my Mom had to make a lot of decisions on her own, especially in the later years.  After he passed, everything fell on her shoulders.  They'd always made financial decisions together, big issues, all of that.  Now he's not around.  She had two choices: shirk the decisions because they were too hard or step up to the plate and live life.

There have been times where I know she's struggled.  Where she's railed against what happened, wishing that my Dad were around.  *coughteachingmetodrivecough*  But then she's picked up and made the decisions that needed making.

But she's also always had help in quiet ways.  Talking to her parents, her Bishop, learning from those around her.

In many ways I've picked up this same independence and strength.  I can rely on myself to handle what life throws at me.  Sure sometimes I want to cry.  And I do.  But then I blow my nose and make a decision.

Often times, though, I have to ask for help.  I have to accept the fact that no one can get through this life completely on their own.  Part of strength and independence, to me, is knowing when to ask for help.  It's hard, but it's true.  It's a lesson I'm taught nearly monthly sometimes it seems.

True independence and strength is knowing that you have the power to operate on your own but recognizing that you can't always do so and need the support, help, and strength of others to get what you want or need in this life.

Maybe if we start thinking of it this way, our female characters won't come off as total pains and alienate our readers.


Today marks the 400th post here at Chronicles of a Novice Writer.  And to top it off, next Wednesday will be the unofficial 2-year anniversary of my blog.  I say unofficial because this blog was technically opened in October of 2008, but between then and June 1, 2009, there were maybe 3 posts.  June 1 was when I began to blog consistently and with a vague purpose in mind.  Over the years that purpose has shifted, as has the content, but I'm still here.  I'm still talking.  And maybe I'm talking to no one, but that's okay I guess.

So, in honor of both of these milestones, I'm holding a contest.  The rules are simple: To be entered, simply tweet me your best mashup title between a classic and your favorite or least favorite book in the genre you read/write in the most.  My twitter handle is @StephanieLMcGee and please use the hashtag #400posts2yrsmashup

Only the first tweet will be entered in the contest but tweet as many as come to mind.  One title per tweet, please.

Don't have a Twitter account?  (Get thee to Twitter!)  That's okay.  Leave your best title mashup here in the comments and I'll be sure you're entered.

The contest will be open from the time of this post going live until 11:59 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time on Tuesday, May 31.  I'll announce the two winners (you read that right, two winners!) in my post on June 1.

What's the prize?  Oh, I suppose I should tell you that if you really want to know.  I'll be giving away two full manuscript critiques.  Two.  I'll allow adult, YA, MG, or anything in-between.  Keep it clean and mild on the heat level.  Acceptable genres are steampunk, science fiction, fantasy, and romance.  If you really want the crit and you're in a different genre, leave a comment and I'll call it from there.


  1. Wow, what a nice post about your mom.

    Congrats on your blogoversary! Sounds like a fun contest. ;)

  2. I love what you have to say about women in general and your mom in particular. Strong women are the ones who know when to ask for help. I have lots of thoughts on this subject, but don't want to write a novel. Maybe I'll do my own post about it sometime.

    Now to think of my mashup. See you on Twitter.

  3. It was so cool to hear about your mom. I can only imagine what an amazing lady she must be!

    Congrats on 400 posts! Woo hoo!

  4. You and your mom must both be very strong women. I am amazed by both of you. Congrats on 400 posts and two years. I'm trying to think of a mashup right now. =)

  5. I'm glad your mum is still moving forward after such a tough time (and you, too). I agree about what makes a strong female character. I think often the ones that don't ask for help are those that end up doing something stupid and having to be rescued.

    Congrats on the 400 posts!

  6. Steph, I'm so sorry to learn about your dad. ((hugs)). My mom also had cancer, but she wasn't diagnosed until I was 13. She was my only parent and she and I lived alone together while she went through treatment (or not) until she passed away when I was 19. Your mom sounds amazing--what a great example for you.

    And what a fab idea for a contest! (I'm totally going to have to copy you!) Congrats on the 400 post ~ and you put up quality posts too, something I really admire.

  7. Great post. I so agree. Sometimes I have a hard time asking for help. Good luck with the contest. I don't tweet, so can't enter.

  8. Sound s like tour mom is one heck of a strong woman (I tip my hat off for her). I hold my mom up to the highest regards of being strong as well! Congrats on the 400 posts!

  9. Congratulations on your blogging! Consistency is such a big accomplishment!


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