Character Sketch: Roxie, Building a Strong Female Lead

Nine years ago, when I first starting working on this trilogy, I purposely set out to have a female be the hero of the story. All the way up to the present I’ve felt trepidation over this choice. A female hero (hate the word “heroine”)? A girl with some muscles? A girl that’s athletic? A girl being the main character of the story? What kind of nonsense is this?

As luck would have it, having a female lead is what agents want these days. After “Harry Potter” and all its imitators, the last thing they want is another young boy hero. They’re actually hoping writers will present them with books containing female leads. There’s hope for me yet.

How Roxie Came to Be

The Name:

Naming her was difficult. I needed an uncommon name, despite my desire to make up one for her. I couldn’t make one up since she’s from the U.S. Yes, people make up names for their kids in reality, but doing this for Roxie wouldn’t fit in the universe I’ve built. It would take away from her belonging to Earth and probably create confusion in my world-building logic. Hopefully I’m not confusing anyone with this explanation. Naming characters is just as involved as naming anything. It has to fit, has to have a ring to it that settles nicely in your gut when you say it aloud. I don’t know how I settled on “Roxie,” other than that I didn’t know anyone or have anyone in my family with that name. I do know that I needed something that sounded strong, yet girly. So there you have it.

Appearance & Age:

This part is a little embarrassing.

When I was eighteen and first started this trilogy, Roxie was eighteen. When I turned nineteen, I made her nineteen. When I turned twenty, so did she. When I turned twenty one, I decided it was time to leave her age alone. Twenty was a nice, solid number. Not old, but not too young either. Still, I ignorantly claimed my book was for YA audiences all the way up to grad school, where it was pointed out to me that, if it’s going to be YA, the main character cannot be any older than seventeen. Since Anticipation has a YA feel to it, I changed her age a fourth time. It worried me a little at first because of the love story aspect, but I’ve been able to employ my creativity to combat that. You’ll see.

Anyone who’s met me and read Anticipation already knows Roxie looks strikingly similar to me, athleticism, height, and all. It’s actually advised against making characters look like you, the writer. It makes it harder to give them a life and personality of their own. Well, this trilogy is my daydream. Mine. I can’t give you more specifics without giving spoilers. All I will say is that I’ll never make a character look like me again. Once suffices. I’ll be content after this. I’m determined to break away from the stigma that women must be these prissy things, and that only men can save the day.

Personality:

I took the liberty to make Roxie be a lot of things I would’ve rather been at her age. She’s a social bug, outgoing, and emotionally resilient. Yes, she’s had to deal with eyes that glow in response to certain emotions, but she’s never let this trait get her down. She’s always been determined to fit in and make friends. Her eyes have made her life extra interesting, but she’s come out stronger for it.

Her personality has grown up over years. She started out far too childish to the point where readers were having a hard time telling how old she was, which was quite embarrassing. There were a few more pockets of childishness that got weeded out during grad school, so all should be well. Now she has a maturity that is sometimes well ahead of her years, and the rest of the time that of which would be expected of her. She’s amicable, likable, and someone readers want to root for. There’s so much more to her, but then I’d be delving into her character arc.

I encourage you to leave me comments, along with pose questions. I enjoy responding to comments. This is a good spot to ask questions about Roxie, questions that don’t have room to be answered in the story.

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About Angela Macala-Guajardo

Author, teacher, soon-to-be full time writer for two companies. Also a lover life in the Arizona desert, puppy butt wiggles, and kitties purring away on my shoulder.
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2 Responses to Character Sketch: Roxie, Building a Strong Female Lead

  1. Gustav Blackhill says:

    well…the age part is always a problem, we sometimes have to…make some arrangements according to the kind of ideas we have for a determined chapter…and you need to have into account the way a person commonly thinks at that age, even if she looks mature, everybody has some sort of a limit…and you have to think about her background to do so…did you have into account this? her education, family, relatives, where she grew….those kinds are important for the develop of the character, remember writers create worlds, universes, people in our stories are not flat or superficial, they are universes.

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