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I_Write_Ivre
neowired
I would start by making the paladin a girl and the "damsel" a guy.
I like inverting tropes, I think it makes stories more interesting and lets you explore various issues.

But that's just me.

Inverting a trope doesn't necessarily make it better. It's always the writing and execution, not the trope, that makes it good or bad.


But isn't strong female/weak guy a trope too? Most tropes I can think of that you could flip around like that are tropes in themselves. So yeah, it all comes down to writing and the execution.

That was just an excuse to post this: this topic gave me a nice idea to twist a story I wrote a while back. Really added another dimension to it. Thanks.
Zivenna
well, I'm a bit of a feminist so I've never been appreciative of the whole "damsel in distress" deal.
Even when i was little I wondered why the princesses waited to be saved instead
of cutting throats and kneeing groins. I like shrek because Fiona was a badass
who kicked guys in the face. I don't like being taken care of (even though I'm little and thin) because girls need to look out for themselves. If somebody attacks me, I'm not gonna
wait to be helped; I'm gonna pop the b*****d's eye out with my knife. Though backup and protection from a big guy is always comforting to have.
...with that being said, I'm sure its a great story in the works, it could make her seem sweet to need a bit of protecting, but (this is only a mild suggestion) maybe you could add a few scenes where she helps save his a** rather than him saving hers? But in the long run he could still have
his ego trip from being a hero.

anyway, cheers to your story! mrgreen

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Agreed, Fiona was awesome. I personally don't believe that women shouldn't be able to defend themselves, but I can't change the circumstances without changing the whole plot. I've got another female character who is perfectly capable of defending herself in the story, too.

But I have gotten to a point where I have the opportunity to make it seem as if my female MC who needed saving actually planned the whole circumstances out in a master scheme to not only free herself from her situation but put the city on track to recovering from the corruption that's running it, so I feel a little better. It puts the paladin in a situation where he's kinda being taken advantage of, but if she hadn't planned it he would have done the same things anyway.
Sir Icehawk
I_Write_Ivre
neowired
I would start by making the paladin a girl and the "damsel" a guy.
I like inverting tropes, I think it makes stories more interesting and lets you explore various issues.

But that's just me.

Inverting a trope doesn't necessarily make it better. It's always the writing and execution, not the trope, that makes it good or bad.


But isn't strong female/weak guy a trope too? Most tropes I can think of that you could flip around like that are tropes in themselves. So yeah, it all comes down to writing and the execution.

That was just an excuse to post this: this topic gave me a nice idea to twist a story I wrote a while back. Really added another dimension to it. Thanks.


I'm happy to hear that. mrgreen
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I_Write_Ivre

Inverting a trope doesn't necessarily make it better. It's always the writing and execution, not the trope, that makes it good or bad.


I sort of agree and sort of don't. While it's true that in the end what matters is a skillful execution, there are some ideas which are largely overdone and some which are done rarely.
With things already overdone, you've seen them many times, and your expectations would be higher, it would also be harder to add anything unexpected to them.
A rare idea should make a much easier object to work with.


Sir Icehawk

But isn't strong female/weak guy a trope too? Most tropes I can think of that you could flip around like that are tropes in themselves. So yeah, it all comes down to writing and the execution.


Maybe, and yet I somehow don't remember every seeing a story about a girl who was an actual paladin (in shining armor and all, athletic, proficient at melee weapons, etc.

And a prince in distress, kidnapped by let's say, and evil witch, who wants him to marry her so that she can rule over the kingdom.
Or an alternative, where the prince was kidnapped by a dragon, and the girl-paladin is going on a quest to find the magical sword with which she is going to kill the dragon.

But that can be taken much further, and has a lot more potential.
Make it a serious story about a girl paladin in a world of men where she constantly has to prove her superior skills in battles, because others keep challenging her
And a young prince falls in love in the girl, but he is betrothed to marry the princes of the other kingdom. The princes has been known to be a cruel woman, she is old and greedy, while the prince is only a child.


Make a gender role deconstruction story, about a boy whose parents want him to be a paladin, but he wants to be a princess, because he saw her in a dress and thought that he wants to look so pretty. But the princess was actually only dressed on a special occasion. Usually the princess dresses in a full-plate armor and goes around waging war or slaying beasts.
The boy goes to a ball inside the castle... dressed as a girl, and it so happens that he looks exactly like some glorified descriptions of the princes (which are actually far from what SHE looks like)
And so he gets mistaken for the princess, and kidnapped by a prince of another kingdom (or his servants).
Having a guest kidnapped from the party pisses the princes off tremendously, so she declares war and gathers her army... and starts a full scale attack.
Meanwhile the prince of the other country falls in love with the boy.
Now they both need to somehow stop the princess from destroying the country, but, the princess is a war juggernaut, so they need to persuade her in a completely non-violent manner (just getting the boy back won't persuade her, she is motivated by her anger, angered by such a rude, impertinent gesture. Something like that happening in HER castle? Btw, she rules with an iron fist, even though she's sort of pretty.)

Now, any of the above could probably be transformed into a male paladin/female damsel version, but it would all loose a lot of the gender role deconstructing potential and would not work as well, it would also most likely be a lot less rare and a lot less interesting, given a similar amount of work. Because some similar themes probably have been done in the male-paladin/female-princess version.

If i would have to think of a similar, interesting story with a male paladin and a female damsel I'd be like - uh, ehm, this was done, that done, this is sort of boring, i don't want to follow silly gender roles, what can i write about? A hard object to work with.

But I agree that in the end it comes down to the skill of the writer. And a sufficiently strong writer should manage to turn any, no matter how overdone theme/cliche into something engaging and enjoyable.
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neowired

I sort of agree and sort of don't. While it's true that in the end what matters is a skillful execution, there are some ideas which are largely overdone and some which are done rarely.
With things already overdone, you've seen them many times, and your expectations would be higher, it would also be harder to add anything unexpected to them.
A rare idea should make a much easier object to work with.

This kind of thinking is an infamous noob trap.

You're going to get stuck focusing on 'I gotta make this different' or 'I gotta keep up with things to avoid' instead of your actual writing. You can't rely on 'Haha, I'm unique because I'm rare! Take THAT people who did work!' to be good.
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I_Write_Ivre

You're going to get stuck focusing on 'I gotta make this different' or 'I gotta keep up with things to avoid' instead of your actual writing. You can't rely on 'Haha, I'm unique because I'm rare! Take THAT people who did work!' to be good.


I think you completely missed my point where I said that less used ideas are better because they are easier to work with.
That doesn't mean making something completely unique which never existed.
It means, the more something was already done, the harder it will be to work with.
And still if you want to explore gender roles, using inverted gender roles as a core of your story will make a lot more sense than using normal gender roles. - And that's something pretty interesting to write about.

At the core of a story should be functionality, like at the core of a game there is gameplay.
I don't deny that. Your subject should be chosen to best express what you wish to express.
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neowired

I think you completely missed my point where I said that less used ideas are better because they are easier to work with.

Why would they be?
neowired
That doesn't mean making something completely unique which never existed.
It means, the more something was already done, the harder it will be to work with.

That makes no sense. Shouldn't, then, the alphabet be harder to use? Or words? Or sentences? Or a basic plot structure?
neowired
And still if you want to explore gender roles, using inverted gender roles as a core of your story will make a lot more sense than using normal gender roles.

No, it won't. If you switch them, you need to give an entire culture that has switched culture roles and how it woks and is sustained.
neowired
And that's something pretty interesting to write about.

It won't be if you don't do research. Otherwise, it looks exactly like the nob trap 'look at me, I did something different without effort!' Which culture are you working with? Which gender roles did you switch? Gender roles from WHEN? WHERE? how does the society treat 'third genders'? Not to mention the ULTIMATE question: Is it written well?

Women raising children and being nurturing and caring is STILL written well today. Why would it be any harder to write, given the growing amount of people writing that?
neowired's avatar

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I_Write_Ivre

Why would they be?


I already explained it in great detail, this shows that you are not trying to listen or understand anything which I'm saying, hence further discussion, debate, or dialog is a waste of time.

I don't have time nor interest to dabble in one of those 100 page long pointless forum debates between people who don't wish to listen to each other, feel free to continue without me.

You can, however, be sure that I don't agree with you, nor do I see any reason to agree with you based on what you said. I find your critical thinking and depth of your logical deduction to be rather unsatisfactory, and your arguments to be full of logical fallacies.
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neowired

I already explained it in great detail, this shows that you are not trying to listen or understand anything which I'm saying, hence further discussion, debate, or dialog is a waste of time.

No, you went on a tangent about an idea. It wasn't a deconstruction,. because it didn't understand where the concept of gender comes from.

Gender is culturally imposed. What you made a deconstruction of was western family expectations. There are cultures that have had female warriors. There are cultures that have imposed learning (and physical weakness) on men and physical activity on women. Hell, in the 1920's, the 'deconstruction' would just be a normal story with a gay woman. In some African cultures, this wouldn't be a deconstruction, but a woman retaining the gender of 'woman' while taking on a man's role, which is acceptable and more or less normal. These days, no one would really laud it as unusual unless they're very isolated.

Not to mention, you said it had more potential without proving it. You just explained how it would be a story. How can you prove one premise is better than another?

For someone who claimed I didn't listen, you didn't listen yourself when I said there were great stories with females as nurturers and I asked how, given the growing number of such stories, writing another would be harder. Please answer it.

Hell, the Pathfinder books are FULL of female warriors (one a Paladin who saves many men). There's an entire page for her and the other main characters (many strong females who also rescue men). There are many Pathfinder books that they're in. By your logic of 'not used as much is easier', it makes a female Paladin rescuing weaker men harder to write.

There's an entire essay on the change of gender roles in fantasy and sci-fi called 'the death of the chainmail bikini' about the change in women's roles in games and literature. Should the essay address how this makes it harder for other to write women in various roles?
neowired


Makes me think of this anime I saw an episode of where the FMC was helped by a prince in her youth and grew up wanting to be a prince too. She was getting yelled at in school for wearing the boys' uniform and everything. She was really athletic and ended up in a sword dueling tournament or something. I really enjoyed the idea, but I never got to see the rest of it.

You've got great ideas and I would love to read a story like that, I just don't think its always more interesting to switch gender roles, either. I personally am a huge sucker for a man in armor with a giant sword. But I'm also a huge fan of stronger female characters as well. The only reason I went to see the new Snow White movie with Kristen Stewart was because the trailer features her in full plate armor with a sword. whee Snow White as a knight would have been so epic! I was disappointed that she didn't really do much in the armor.
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PKMN Breeder Aello

Makes me think of this anime I saw an episode of where the FMC was helped by a prince in her youth and grew up wanting to be a prince too. She was getting yelled at in school for wearing the boys' uniform and everything. She was really athletic and ended up in a sword dueling tournament or something. I really enjoyed the idea, but I never got to see the rest of it. .


Shoujo Kakumei Utena. The show''s been bouncing around licenses for years, making it nigh impossible to see. They play with tropes so well, it's (literally) beautiful. Most awesome crystal Dragon Jesus ever.

It inspired two fanfics of mine, where gender roles are played with (though it was more the character and religious themes than the gender stuff that I was inspired by).
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PKMN Breeder Aello
My female MC is physically and emotionally incapable of defending herself in the beginning of my story. She is rescued by a powerful and boastful paladin from whose point of view the story is told. Due to the nature of what's happened to the priestess, her recovery takes quite a long time and this paladin (who gets all of his self worth from his strength and ability to physically protect people) spends a huge chunk of the story looking out for her.

I can't change the whole damsel in distress thing without writing an entirely different story. I was just wondering if there were some things that I should try to avoid or be sure to do in order to keep the story interesting and avoid annoying cliches within the... genre... I guess? There is plenty of character development planned with the priestess learning to be more assertive and the paladin learning to be more humble, and both of them gaining a better sense of self worth and so on. And this is NOT a romance story by any means, its more of a drama/ adventure.

So what do you love/ hate most about those "knights slaying dragons to save the princess" kind of stories?


In the current little thing I'm writing, my female MC was exactly the same in the beginning. In fact, she was even bordering into Bella Swan territory, relying on the two male leads to protect her and not giving a crap about the fact that she was breaking both their hearts. She was so cliche'd and was just so whiny to begin with, and I began to hate her so much. She would do self-destructive things and just wait for one or the other to come along and "rescue" here. It was like she had histrionic disorder or something.

So, to switch things up and to see what she'd do in the situation, I took the men away from her and left her to fend for herself... and you know what? She changed for the better! Sure, she was still that attention-seeking character from before, but it brought a whole lot more personality into her. Jealousy and regret were the main things that popped up and it really made her a lot more, I don't know, "relatable" I guess. She managed to at least try to pick up the pieces herself, instead of relying on others, which it was nice to see her attempt to be strong and independent. I ended up editing her bio completely and the little experiment, after being tweaked a bit, became a part of my story. She's still the "damsel in distress", but I actually like her now. She's no longer a Mary Sue, but her own person.

As for those kinds of stories, I only like them if they're done well. If it's typical and done before, well, I can't get interested in them at all. However, that does not mean that I think they're a "bad story" or whatever. I just can't get into them as much as those with a strong, female MC.
LovexoSteph
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My female MC is physically and emotionally incapable of defending herself in the beginning of my story. She is rescued by a powerful and boastful paladin from whose point of view the story is told. Due to the nature of what's happened to the priestess, her recovery takes quite a long time and this paladin (who gets all of his self worth from his strength and ability to physically protect people) spends a huge chunk of the story looking out for her.

I can't change the whole damsel in distress thing without writing an entirely different story. I was just wondering if there were some things that I should try to avoid or be sure to do in order to keep the story interesting and avoid annoying cliches within the... genre... I guess? There is plenty of character development planned with the priestess learning to be more assertive and the paladin learning to be more humble, and both of them gaining a better sense of self worth and so on. And this is NOT a romance story by any means, its more of a drama/ adventure.

So what do you love/ hate most about those "knights slaying dragons to save the princess" kind of stories?


In the current little thing I'm writing, my female MC was exactly the same in the beginning. In fact, she was even bordering into Bella Swan territory, relying on the two male leads to protect her and not giving a crap about the fact that she was breaking both their hearts. She was so cliche'd and was just so whiny to begin with, and I began to hate her so much. She would do self-destructive things and just wait for one or the other to come along and "rescue" here. It was like she had histrionic disorder or something.

So, to switch things up and to see what she'd do in the situation, I took the men away from her and left her to fend for herself... and you know what? She changed for the better! Sure, she was still that attention-seeking character from before, but it brought a whole lot more personality into her. Jealousy and regret were the main things that popped up and it really made her a lot more, I don't know, "relatable" I guess. She managed to at least try to pick up the pieces herself, instead of relying on others, which it was nice to see her attempt to be strong and independent. I ended up editing her bio completely and the little experiment, after being tweaked a bit, became a part of my story. She's still the "damsel in distress", but I actually like her now. She's no longer a Mary Sue, but her own person.

As for those kinds of stories, I only like them if they're done well. If it's typical and done before, well, I can't get interested in them at all. However, that does not mean that I think they're a "bad story" or whatever. I just can't get into them as much as those with a strong, female MC.


What are you looking for when you say you're interested in a "strong" female MC? Just for curiosity's sake. 3nodding Do you mean a female who can actually physically defend herself? Or is a female who might need someone to come beat up all the monsters but is strong intellectually or in spirit enough? If the female was the one pulling the strings the whole time, as in she had deliberately put herself in the paladin's path knowing that he would choose to help her so that she could further her own plans to bring down the main antagonist, would that make it any different?

I don't know that I'll be changing anything in my story, I'm just really interested in what people actually look for in a strong FMC. Anyone else can feel free to throw their two cents in as well. 3nodding
I_Write_Ivre
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Makes me think of this anime I saw an episode of where the FMC was helped by a prince in her youth and grew up wanting to be a prince too. She was getting yelled at in school for wearing the boys' uniform and everything. She was really athletic and ended up in a sword dueling tournament or something. I really enjoyed the idea, but I never got to see the rest of it. .


Shoujo Kakumei Utena. The show''s been bouncing around licenses for years, making it nigh impossible to see. They play with tropes so well, it's (literally) beautiful. Most awesome crystal Dragon Jesus ever.

It inspired two fanfics of mine, where gender roles are played with (though it was more the character and religious themes than the gender stuff that I was inspired by).


Ahh, reading that really makes me want to finish it! I'll have to hunt for it online some time. 3nodding
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PKMN Breeder Aello
I_Write_Ivre
PKMN Breeder Aello

Makes me think of this anime I saw an episode of where the FMC was helped by a prince in her youth and grew up wanting to be a prince too. She was getting yelled at in school for wearing the boys' uniform and everything. She was really athletic and ended up in a sword dueling tournament or something. I really enjoyed the idea, but I never got to see the rest of it. .


Shoujo Kakumei Utena. The show''s been bouncing around licenses for years, making it nigh impossible to see. They play with tropes so well, it's (literally) beautiful. Most awesome crystal Dragon Jesus ever.

It inspired two fanfics of mine, where gender roles are played with (though it was more the character and religious themes than the gender stuff that I was inspired by).


Ahh, reading that really makes me want to finish it! I'll have to hunt for it online some time. 3nodding


I think Amazon instant might have it, but that's no guarantee.

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