Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Strength of Character by D. Wallace Peach

Author Diana Wallace Peach shares some posts from her archives on Myths of the Mirror. This week a post about what defines the characters that we write about, and the stereotyping that is applied to emotional character,  according to the gender of your protagonist.

Strength of Character by D. Wallace Peach

image from Bread and Roses

I spent a recent evening chatting with a group of writers about the public’s desire for strong female characters. The simpering, helpless, man-dependent archetype of the past is no longer the paragon it used to be. If any of our female protagonists swoon into the arms of their brawny rescuers, they better be seriously ill or recently wounded in battle. Encountering a spider no longer qualifies as trauma.

Then our conversation took an interesting turn. Someone shared an opinion that the presence of kindness and compassion in a female protagonist might make her appear “weak.” The unspoken implication was that a female character is “strong” when she is more like the stereotypical caricature of a man – as emotionally sensitive as a block of wood.

Yes, I’m talking stereotypes here and the wind blows both ways. Some believe that gentleness “weakens” a man as much as the lack of it “strengthens” a woman. It’s an antiquated mindset that persists on many levels and is slow to evolve.

Pixabay image

Of course, the souls who populate our books must be true to their natures. Both male and female characters (like the rest of humanity) fit into a broad spectrum when it comes to emotional intelligence. Expression can be passionate, volatile, ambivalent, or completely shut down. On top of that, consider that feelings are fluid and slide all over the place along the love-fear continuum.

Emotional texture is one element that puzzles together a character, no different than physical appearance, skills, aptitudes, and social competencies. An emotional undercurrent is one way to enhance complexity, but it’s not necessarily indicative of a character’s strength.

Mother Theresa,

I’d argue that what makes characters “strong,” regardless of gender, is their determination to act upon the world rather than react to it. Kind and compassionate people fall as easily into this definition as ruthless overlords and heroic champions. Strength is demonstrated by conviction, how actively they pursue their goals, overcome their flaws, and engage both the internal and external obstacles that block their paths.

Happy Writing

©D.Wallace Peach 2015

About D. Wallace Peach

I didn’t care for reading as a child – I preferred Bonanza and Beverly Hillbillies reruns, Saturday morning cartoons and the Ed Sullivan show. Then one day, I opened a book titled The Hobbit. Tolkien … literally changed my life.

I love writing, and have the privilege to pursue my passion full time. I’m still exploring the fantasy genre, trying out new points of view, creating optimistic works with light-hearted endings, and delving into the grim and gritty what-ifs of a post-apocalyptic world. Forgive me if I seem untethered in my offering of reads. Perhaps one day, I’ll settle into something more reliable. For now, it’s simply an uncharted journey, and I hope you enjoy the adventure as much as I.

D.Wallace Peach has just released her first children’s book, Grumpy Ana and the Grouchy Monsters. Not only written by Diana but illustrated by her too. An amazing amount of work but as you will see from the cover it is fantastic. Available in print only in US, UK and Canada.

About the book

Grumpy Ana Goblyn is sour, dour, and cranky. Her lips droop in a frown. She’s bored with every place and person in her friendly town. With the help of her father, she builds a spaceship and travels to a soggy planet where she meets her perfect monster playmates. But there’s a problem! The monsters see her grouchy frown and think she’s a monster. In this children’s space adventure, Ana discovers that her attitude affects her happiness, and she can change it if she chooses.

An early review for the book

Lovely, colorful illustrations accompany this book of a spoiled girl with a frown. She’s bored, so bored with the friendly people of her town that she builds a space ship and travels. But her plans turn out different from what she expected. Ana discovers that attitude is everything. Sour will beget sour, a smile will beget smiles. The story is written in four line verses. The viewpoint that the monsters have of the dreaded, spoiled human girl made me laugh.

Buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

A selection of other books by D. Wallace Peach

To discover all the books and read the reviews and buy:

And Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Diana on Goodreads:

Connect to D. Wallace Peach 


If you would like to share some of your festive archive posts for December from when you began blogging, then please send one or two links to

52 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Strength of Character by D. Wallace Peach

  1. Pingback: Smorgasbord Archives – Strength of Character by D. Wallace Peach – The Militant Negro™

  2. I wholeheartedly agree with your last paragraph Diana, true strength is the ability to stand up for what you believe in and to not be afraid of showing your self to be vulnerable.

    Liked by 2 people

      • it is then our duty as writer to pay it forward and make others view things in a new way with our words. And a very Happy Saturday to you Too Diana. I always so enjoy reading your opinions. P

        Liked by 2 people

  3. An excellent post, Diana and your last sentence sums up all the points perfectly! That must have been a fascinating conversation with your writing group and one I’ve had with others in the past…particularly as regards my emotional female characters in writing – I never see them as weak and took umbrage that they were thus described!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, Annika. I wonder when emotional expression (even having emotions) became a sign of weakness. Probably during the human history of war – emotional sensitivity isn’t really helpful when in battle. It’s too bad. I would hope our trajectory is toward greater emotional authenticity versus lesser. And it sure makes for better books! Happy Writing!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I couldn’t agree more, Diana. I like that you describe emotions as being slippery and fluid. We’ve all watched someone (or ourselves) transition form crying to laughing or raging in a split second. Your summation is perfect, and you couldn’t have chosen a better example than Mother Teresa. Thanks so much for sharing this with us ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  5. A wonderful end to a fantastic series and to speak with other authors is always a pleasure and insightful…. Like Debby, I always love the comments nearly as much as the posts …A great series Sally xx A fitting finale Diane x

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I love reading your thoughts on writing, Diana. It is the next best thing to meeting you in person, which is something I would love to do. Some profound stuff here, but I can’t get past this statement: “Seeing a spider no longer qualifies as trauma.” When did that happen? Because especially if it is large or on my body, I exhibit the bravery of a dragon slayer when dealing with this 8 legged monster. 🕷

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Pingback: Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – ABBA, Constantine The Great and Brown Rice! | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

I would be delighted to receive your feedback (by commenting, you agree to Wordpress collecting your name, email address and URL) Thanks Sally

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.