Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A Crying Girl

I’ve been working on a new project that is set to be released later this year. It’s a YA mid-apocalyptic Sci-Fi with chemically-induced vampires and a very human, female protagonist.

I’m really proud of the project. My leading lady – Nola – is one of the few chosen to live out the apocalypse in comfort and safety. But she can’t do it. She can’t watch the pain of the people around her and just keep pretending that everything is fine. Her empathy distinguishes her. She is a loving human in a world where terrible things happen. And she cries.

Not all the time. She never cries because she’s hurt or just can’t rally to keep moving forward. But she cries. When she loses people. When she knows there is nothing else to be done. She also stumbles and falls. She gets hurt and bleeds. All normal things to happen when fighting for your life.
But then I worry. Can I have her get hurt and cry? Will that completely derail her as a strong female? Nola’s training as a botanist, and I’ve already been told more than once that Botany isn’t “a real STEM field.”

So then what do I do for sweet Nola? I want her to be a strong woman; I want her to care and to feel. I need her to want to save the world even if she can’t do it all on her own.

And is fighting without super powers or arrows or a perfect back kick still fighting? Can’t we have a girl who is strong but not a warrior?

I know it seems that, in an age where women fighting is becoming normal, it should be okay to have a book where a girl doesn’t. But by making girls have powers, have we moved to the point that without a sword or dragon you are assumed to be diminishing the power of females?

I don’t have an answer. I don’t know if people will see how strong Nola is and allow her heart to be her largest asset even when it’s breaking. Maybe they’ll call her just another weak girl waiting on a vampire. Only time will tell. But I’m proud of Nola, and until her story goes out into the world that will have to be enough.


  1. Yes! Exactly! Girls are strong even w/o super powers. This holds true of boys, too, and I'd like to read a story about a really cool boy who also cries when life gets too sad. I also agree that not every heroine has to be great at STEM. Just because we lack that in story lines (and life) doesn't mean we over-correct and turn each character into the same cookie-cutter shape.

  2. I agree! Boys can cry, girls can be strong, and tears and strength aren't mutually exclusive!