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Do you like mermaids? I like mermaids. In fact, The Little Mermaid was my #1 favorite Disney movie! So now the question is: do you like your mermaids your YA books? If so, then you'll definitely want to continue reading this post.
Oh. My. Gods. and Goddess Boot Camp, the mermaid tales Forgive My Fins and Fins Are Forever (coming June 28, 2011) and a new trilogy about monster-hunting descendants of Medusa (Fall 2011). Tera lives nowhere in particular and has spent time fleeing hurricanes, making character profiles on MySpace, blogging on her own and with the Buzz Girls, and writing wherever she can find a comfy chair and a steady stream of caffeinated beverages."
Bio courtesy of Tera's website.
Or if you really want to get technical, the back of her book(s).
What qualities are heroines required to possess in order to be deemed a strong female lead?
When I sit down to write a female lead, I try not to overthink the process too much on the front end. I have an image in my head of this girl and who she is and how she reacts to certain situations. Then I just charge ahead in the writing. Occasionally, in that organic process, my character ends up doing something weak or out of character, and that’s when my editor steps in and says, “Fix this!” Over the course of several books, this back-and-forth has taught me three keys to writing a strong female character.
1. Solves Her Own Problems
A strong female lead doesn’t let other people (whether it be parents or friends or boyfriends) solve her troubles for her. She steps up and does the dirty work herself. And, if someone else tries to solve the problem for her, she asks them to back off so she can take over. In writing young adult I think is especially important, since teen characters (and teen readers) are just learning how to fight their own battles, an important step in the growing up process.
2. Has an Individual Identity
A strong female lead doesn’t lose herself in her love life. She maintains her individuality, despite being involved with the guy of her dreams (because, really, if she has to change to be with him then he’s no dream guy). She still has wants and interests and friends and a whole world of other things outside of their relationship, things that keep her life rounded and whole. She still has goals which have nothing to do with love. Her romantic interest should compliment her life, not consume it.
3. Overcomes Her Fears
Few things in life come easy, even for strong female leads. Sometimes she has to make hard choices, do things she’s scared to do in the name of what’s right or what needs to be done. The thing that separates her from weaker characters is that she shows courage in the face of her fears. She doesn’t let the fear overshadow her goals. She charges ahead and if, sometimes, doing the right thing means sacrificing the thing she wants most or confronting her greatest fear then she does it anyway.
So the next time you’re reading or writing a strong female lead, keep in mind these key traits. But always remember that, like us real life humans, no character is perfect. If she slips up for a moment, don’t judge her too harshly. Just give her a few pages to get her act together and make everything right.
Tera is offering one lucky winner a personalized copy of Forgive my Fins!
Lily Sanderson has a secret, and it’s not that she has a huge crush on gorgeous swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. Unrequited love is hard enough when you’re a normal teenage girl, but when you’re half human, half mermaid like Lily, there’s no such thing as a simple crush.
Lily’s mermaid identity is a secret that can’t get out, since she’s not just any mermaid – she’s a Thalassinian princess. When Lily found out three years ago that her mother was actually a human, she finally realized why she didn’t feel quite at home in Thalassinia, and she’s been living on land and going to Seaview high school ever since, hoping to find where she truly belongs. Sure, land has its problems – like her obnoxious, biker boy neighbor Quince Fletcher – but it has that one major perk – Brody. The problem is, mermaids aren’t really the casual dating type – when they “bond,” it’s for life.
When Lily’s attempt to win Brody’s love leads to a tsunami-sized case of mistaken identity, she is in for a tidal wave of relationship drama, and she finds out, quick as a tailfin flick, that happily-ever-after never sails quite as smoothly as you planned.
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- Giveaway ends 9/4. Be sure to check back after that and see if you've won! I will not be emailing winners after they are announced on the blog. Winners will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is picked.
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