Writing females characters

I wanted to preface something before starting this post–well a couple of things really. First off, I did take a week break from posting an entree and I updated that on my social media pages. (A reminder that my social media is at the top of my page. Just have to click on one of the icons) The reason I did that is that I landed a bigger workload, so I couldn’t pump out a half baked entree. I had a handful of ideas and I wanted to give it my all. The second thing I wanted to talk about is the subject of this post. I’m going to talk about how I personally write female characters as a male writer. What I think a majority of male writers do wrong and how it should be improved. I’m aware this can be a bit of a touchy subject, so I figured I should warn you before I got too far into it. Without further ado, I’ll begin.

Now as also a bit of a warning, I’m going to use some examples of writing that portray bad examples and bad examples. As well as saying how I do it in my own writing. I believe in starting positive, so I’m going to dive into an example of how a good female character should be written.

Hiromu Arakawa’s Full Metal Alchemist

If you’ve read a handful of my posts, then you might have figured out I’m a fan of anime. I’m a fan of a lot of different mediums, but when picking out a brilliant example of well written female characters, I had to use Fullmetal Alchemist as my number one choice. Specifically, I’ll be talking about the character Riza Hawkeye.

Hawkeye is one of the best written female characters I’ve ever seen. The first thing to notice is she isn’t showing a lot of skin. The character is a Lieutenant for the military and if you anything about the military, they have a clean-cut look. A respectful appearance, so it makes no sense to make her anything except that–respectful. “Fan service” is a big problem when it comes to writing characters. It’s no secret that sex sells; so why not just go with what sells? In my head, I’ve always been the same way. A character should be true to the role they play in the story. There’s nothing wrong with making a character who is a sex symbol, but remember not everything is meant to be a male fantasy. Male writers tend to be disrespectful when writing their female characters because of their own personal influences. Remember that anybody can read what you write, including people that might take offense to what you put on paper.

Now I won’t keep lecturing about appearance, because that’s not the only issue. There’s a common notion of how a character should act based on the gender you assign them. A male character should be strong and a natural-born leader whereas a female character should support them and often fall under the damsel in distress trope. What people seem to miss is that it’s possible to write a supporting character without making them seem less important. Yet again, Riza is a good example of how to do it correctly. She is the Lieutenant for Roy Mustang, so in every sense she supports him. In doing this, Arakawa wrote her a way that didn’t make her seem smaller because of this fact. Just like Roy, Hawkeye has her own ambitions. She doesn’t waver from them just because she’s in a lesser position than he is. She is her own character and her own person. I always feel like a poorly written female character who supports a stronger male character typically falls flat if he’s not around. It almost makes it seem like they aren’t their own person and only finds value through another. These characters are always written for the development of the stronger one and are typically killed off for the sake of said development. Up until the end, Hawkeye stood true to her beliefs and not even Roy Mustang could stop her; especially during a pivotal moment in the series where things got difficult for her. I’ll provide an example of this in a clip from the anime down below. There is a spoiler warning in effect, so please only watch it if you’ve seen the series.

I think this scene is a perfect example of what I’m trying to say. It shows off many things, one of the main ones being equality. Mustang is a man of power; he holds power over Hawkeye when it comes to rank. Still, she pulls her gun on her own superior when he falls out of line. She knows what the right thing is, and she does it. Hawkeye finds herself as a burden to the world as she holds the secrets to flame alchemy and thinks it should die with her. In a sense, it does fall under the same principle of him being the main reason she keeps going. The difference is, the characters are of equal importance to each other. Hawkeye would rather kill the one person keeping her going rather than seeing him act solely on hatred and revenge. Mustang couldn’t bear Hawkeye losing her life for something he’s responsible for and he backs off. I love the symbolism right at the end when Roy falls to the ground, leaving Hawkeye to be the one standing above him only for her to fall with him. In my eyes, this is a perfect example of how to show off the importance of a female character supporting a stronger male character. In my eyes, neither one was more important than the other. I think the dynamic was written with the utmost respect which made me respect it. Now that I’ve talked about the good… let’s talk about the bad.

Natsu and Lucy from Fairy Tail

I’m gonna talk bad on a probably loved ship from a very popular Shonen Jump anime. First off, I want to say that I don’t hold anything against Fairy Tail itself. I personally have seen and enjoyed the series. Behind the heavy amounts of fan service, the anime has good messages and many hard-hitting emotional moments. Along with some very good character backstories that make you feel for them. Out of all things Hiro Mashima does right, writing female characters respectfully falls a little flat–at least in my opinion. There are some characters that have solid foundations, but it is hidden behind a desire to knock their clothes off anytime a fight begins. However, that’s not what I’m here to talk about. I’m here to talk about the characters Lucy and Natsu.

Natsu is, by all purposes, the protagonist. From her first scene, it’s clear that Lucy is meant to be a supporting character to Natsu. Throughout the series, she’s shown as needing him to save her time and time again. What has always frustrated me is that Lucy has proven that she’s strong. She’s a celestial wizard and with certain keys, she can control celestial spirits. She once even summoned the Celestial King because she willed it and yet most of the time she falls as too weak to protect herself, often hoping that Natsu will save her. She has strong independent moments, but that’s often overshadowed by Natsu. She has some good development during certain story arcs, but most of the time she’s seen as depending fully on Natsu or other stronger characters. Now, I’m not saying that Mashima doesn’t know how to write a strong female character, but a lot of them do fall under that male fantasy idealogy. Now this isn’t a shot at the writer, because that’s pretty common even to more modern animes. The biggest one I could think of is My Hero Academia. It’s one of my favorite series, but even then there’s a large gap between the male and female characters.

So what’s my take after all of this? How do I write my female characters? Well, I write them as intended. I stay true to the character I mean them to be despite the gender I’ve given them. I don’t change it up give in to whatever is popular, I write them true to the story in my head. I think this is true for all aspects of character creation. This can include sexuality, gender, tropes, and even race. I think about what I want them to be in my head and that’s what I go with. Sex may sell, but I’ll always write the story that I want to write.

This has always been a glaring issue that I’ve always wanted to talk about. We live in a world where women have made a lot of advances from how many disadvantages they had in our history. Still, a problem persists. I fully believe that how we portray our characters–fictitious or not–has a direct impact on society. Write a male character who isn’t the focal point or the strongest character in that story. Write a female character who is her own person and doesn’t rely on others for her own identity. Don’t be afraid to go outside the box and write something society would deem wrong. Write the story you want to write, not the story you think the people want to read.

I want to end this by saying that this is entirely my personal opinion. If you disagree or agree, I’d like to know, so don’t be afraid to tell me.

That about wraps up all my thoughts. As always, I’ll see you again next week and thanks for reading. πŸ™‚

Let’s Talk About COVID-19

Ah yes, I think it was inevitable to talk about this subject. I want to start this post by prefacing that I am not an expert or have any medical experience. I speak about this pandemic as a normal person living his day-to-day life in its wake. However, I couldn’t let this week pass without talking about it. I understand that this topic is already starting to get a bit old, but it needs to be talked about.

I’ll start by saying that, personally, I’m fine. I live in North Dakota which only has one confirmed cased. I’m very fortunate to live where I do with such a small risk of getting infected. I wanted to talk about this disease because of the panic that’s ensued since it was labeled as a pandemic. These opinions are directed at the United States and no one else. After all, China has already taken fantastic measures in order to contain the virus and other countries are worse off–far worse off. In fact, I read this morning that Italy has surpassed 2,500 deaths.

So what should we do? I’m sure you’ve heard in the news to limit contact and to–I don’t know–wash your hands. (I must say, the fact that people aren’t washing their hands is utterly ridiculous) The point isn’t just to limit contact and keep your hygiene in check, it’s to not panic. Since this outbreak has started, Americans have gone into a state of panic. I have a friend who works in retail who snapped this picture.

Shelves completely wiped out to stock our shelves with hand sanitizer and toilet paper. Hand sanitizer I kind of get, but toilet paper? There also have been reports of people wiping the shelves from milk. That’s right, I said milk. Dairy expires unless you’re planning on freezing it. In my opinion, there should be a different message that the media needs to tell us. One telling us what we should be stocking in the matter of a worst-case scenario. Buying perishable foods and not milk and toilet paper. This essentially boils down to get what you need to be prepared, but make sure you’re leaving plenty for others. Stop panicking. It’ll all be okay as long as you keep a level head. I promise.

There’s probably a lot more to cover, but I think you’ll get plenty of that from the media. Remember to wash your hands, stay calm, and make sure there’s plenty of toilet paper and milk. Be kind to the other people trying their best to prepare for the worst. Above all else, be kind to the retail workers who are forced to serve you despite the inherent risk of exposure to the disease.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next week. πŸ™‚


I don’t know where the ideas for these posts come from anymore. This week I can say one thing for sure: there are no references some might not get. It’s just a thought that I’ve been having so I figured I should write about it. I write about them a lot and it’s an interesting term to me. The term hero. There’s the hero that references a protagonist to a story and also there are personal heroes. Not everyone has them, but maybe you have a person you consider a hero. Is that person worthy of that title? I was wrapping my brain all week to think of an idea to write about, so this will have to do. (Expect this to be shorter, I don’t feel much coming from this one.) As per usual, if you didn’t catch the last blog entree, you can find it here as long as checking the blog section out to see other ones.

Now that I took 15 minutes trying to find an image that wasn’t from My Hero Academia, I can begin. I feel like this is a popular genre in writing as long as a powerful word. (Senseless plug of my book Heroes and Vigilantes. Link to the projects section where you can read about that) It’s such a small word, only 4 letters, yet holds a lot of weight. A hero, by definition, is a person who is admired or idealized. Usually this is because of heroic feats or good deeds. A hero doesn’t have to be good though, right? Where mainstream media has turned it into people with capes and a giant S in their chest, that doesn’t necessarily mean every hero is a good person. You can look up to somebody who does bad things and still call them your hero. Should you? That’s not my question to answer. A lot of times fathers are often seen as heroes to their kids, but constantly they walk out on them.

Lost in a haze of unorganized thoughts, I think my point isn’t who you see as your hero. The point is how you should act if you are a role model. If you have someone that looks up to you, you should act a certain way. We don’t always have a choice to become looked up to, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take that responsibility seriously. If we drop the hat in that situation, so does the person looking up to us. Think about it like this: have you ever been a senior? Unless you’re quite young, you probably have been one. It’s almost inevitable that at least one freshman will look up to someone in your class. To them you’re a cool senior who has it figured out, no matter how many hours you log into Minecraft in your free time. (Okay, that one might have just been me) I bet at some point a teacher told you to be good role models. Did you ask to be one? Not at all. You still have to be one though and that’ll probably happen again in your life. Whether it’s a kid or a niece, as humans we need to latch onto someone to get through life. Not everyone, but a lot of us need that. When you’re someone’s hero, will you be who they need you to be? That’s a question that even I don’t think I can answer.

It may have been a flow of thoughts that barely connected, but that’s all I got for you.

Thank you for reading and I’ll see you next week. πŸ™‚

Dealing with Loneliness

As you can tell from the title, I didn’t choose a cheery subject for this particular post. I’d be lying if I told you all that each post would be all positive. I mean last week (which you can find here if haven’t caught up with it) I talked about wanting to create words that impacted those around me. This week I would say that I found a few drawbacks. Before I get into the seldom topic, let’s highlight what happened this week and why Deku and Bakugo are my featured image. (Also quick shout out to any all of the My Hero Academia fans reading this!)

I’ll start by talking about the two movies I saw this week with my brother. Both were an experience and would have been worth the 26 dollars if it weren’t for the horrible viewing experience. One was late and the other had crappy audio that wouldn’t have been fixed if it wasn’t for my brother both times. These movies were Sonic the Hedgehog and My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising.

This isn’t a blog reviewing these movies (also I apologize for two more references that might not be everybody’s cup of tea) but I was about to pull thoughts that were prevalent in both films. The seed was planted in my head while watching Sonic. If you care about not being spoiled about the movie of the lovable blue hedgehog, then you can click away. It’s not a major spoiler, but the warning still stays in effect. This theme is loneliness. In the movie, Sonic lives a pretty lonely life. Being told by his parental figure that he needs to stay out of sight. If he doesn’t, then the powers he possesses could be desired by others. Not a complicated theme, but when you see Sonic being so close to people he considers friends–friends who have never met him–a sad truth fits in: he’s alone.

Now how does this transition into the My Hero Academia movie? Well quite the opposite actually. I wouldn’t consider this a spoiler, but I’ll but a minor warning in there. The movie heavily revolves around a duo, ones shown as the mascots for the movie: Bakugo and Deku. Two people who have been friends since childhood and have found it hard to remain friends with their competitive spirits. They both strive to be the best, but there can only be one person who sits on top. Even if I don’t agree with that mindset, that’s the mindset of the series.

One movie with a person (even if he’s a blue hedgehog) willing to risk everything to not be alone and another about a complex relationship needing one another to overcome the obstacles in front of them. Now where does that leave me? After all, this is all fiction, right? Just the words of anxious writing (like myself) sitting at their computer thinking of the best ways to tug at the heartstrings of the fans. Well, no, not at all. As I mentioned last week, words are powerful. Maybe not to everybody, but they are to me. People always make movie references that I never get under the excuse of, “I don’t want movies”. The real reason behind that is that I physically can’t watch something without pulling the meaning out of it and comparing myself to said message.

I grew up lonely. Sure I had some amazing friends who I’ll cherish forever, but it’s no secret that I’m a quiet guy in person. Even being 25 now, there are times where I hide from everyone finding comfort in that loneliness. Now from here on out, I’m going to talk about something very personal to me. It may be too heavy for some to read, so you have my full permission to close out of this entree right now. I don’t blame you. If that’s the case, then thanks for reading and I’ll see you next week. πŸ™‚


Alright, so you decided to read this despite the warning. I really wasn’t sure if I should post this or not. If it wasn’t for me wanting to write a new short story labeled “Five Days After” then I would never have dreamed of writing this post. I put it off so much that I’m writing the day of posting it. It all ties together with the above posts, I promise, so keep reading.

Savannah was my best friend. I knew her in long before college. We played Minecraft together until 7 am. I was never good at making friends in person, but when it came to what I wrote, people loved me. I think at some point, I let that go a little too far. Regardless, Savannah was there for me through the most horrible things. Despite being the perfect person in my life, she had a horrible flaw people call mental illness. The kind of sickness that makes you pop pills like they were candy. One that makes you lose control as if the reality you witness is the one you’re supposed to live in or the one doctors tell you is the “right” one. Below I want to put a video from the user Jetpack Jay. (I added a link to their Youtube channel. Please take a minute to check them out if their videos interest you. Those videos have helped me a lot!) The video is titled “Dear Best Friend…”

Dear Best Friend… by Jetpack Jay

This video has helped me a lot. Some may know this, but at the start of the second semester of college Savannah took her life. Her mental illness got the better of her, and she was taken from me. I was left utterly destroyed with my best friend being extracted from my life. The one person that made me feel like I was no longer alone.

Saying this means a lot to me. Since I usually keep this to myself and to close friends. If I never told you, it’s not because I don’t trust you, but because talking about it is hard for me. To bring this back to the main point of this entree, I’ve been battling that loneliness since I lost her. I’ve made mistakes that I feel like I wouldn’t have made if she was still around. The last few days I’ve battled that lonely feeling more than I have in the past.

The main reason I’m saying all this is to put it out there before I write the story “Five Days After” so you all know that what I write in there isn’t entirely fictitious; that mental illness isn’t a problem to be taken lightly; that if you’re lonely, it won’t always be that way; and above all, be thankful for the friends you do have. If you don’t have a solid friend, then contact me and I’ll fix that problem for you.

Thank you for reading and I’ll see you next week. πŸ™‚

Words are Powerful

Alright, I’m back with my second blog post. I plan to do these once a week releasing them on Tuesday! That is my goal and I’m want to dedicate myself to it. A lot of these posts will pertain to thoughts that happen to me throughout the week and are written in the moment. From there, I’ll have a pool of blog posts I can sift through and choose one to post on Tuesday. For the first Tuesday (that would be today since this is being written on 2/18) there should be a shorter introductory blog post you can find here. So there will be no new post until the following week. Hopefully that’s when this one goes up as long as the perfectionist in me doesn’t delete it. Anyways, that’s enough wasting time, I’ll move onto the main topic of what I’m writing today.

I just watched the most recent episode of Doctor Who. If you don’t know this about me, the series has been an incredible hobby of mine since I was a kid. My mom grew up watching it, and she would sneak around against her parent’s wishes just to watch the show. It reminds me of the time I decided to play Neopets at around 2 in the morning. Of course, in my mind, I decided that dimming the computer screen was enough to get away with it. If it isn’t obvious, I got caught. The point I’m trying to make is that Doctor Who has been a big part of my life that I’ve enjoyed since I was young. Despite the controversy following the series, this season has been fantastic. Most so, the episode titled, “The Haunting of Villa Diodati” blew me away. Not because of the episode itself, but it spoke to me as a person who loves to write. It was a historical episode based around the creation of Frankenstein (The book not the monster itself). So in short, an entire episode about writing mixed in with typical antics for the show. In the episode there was a moment when The Doctor said that, “words are powerful”. Those weren’t her exact words, but it was the point she was going for. That people’s words last throughout the test of time. Going from that to here, I decided to elaborate more on that from my own personal experiences and desires.

My entire life I’ve always absorbed writing. From video games and anime to television and movies, I loved it all. I’ve always thought about how certain works of fiction had changed how I thought about life. Growing up watching Doctor Who I learned to treat people with kindness and to give second chances. Even to the people that everyone else hates, I learned to extend my hand and offer them help. As a hopeless romantic I laughed and cried while watching How I Met Your Mother which is another show I adored. That show taught me many lessons that I still take to heart. Through the course of the series, Ted talks to the audience like you’re one of his kids and he’s providing you with advice. Advice that’s often overlooked because of the comedic nature of the series. One of my favorite take backs from that was one on anger. I’ll include the scene in a video below. Just be warned it is a bit of a spoiler for the show and there is a mild language warning as well.

“Kids, you may think your only choices are to swallow your anger or throw it in someone’s face, but there’s a third option: You can just let it go, and only when you do that is it really gone and you can move forward.” -Ted Mosby

Whether you watched the clip I put in or read the quote I added afterward, I think you get the point. Now, this isn’t me telling you to “get over yourself” because you’re pointlessly angry. That’s not the point of what I’m trying to say. Not everyone can forgive and move on and that’s okay, you don’t have to do that if you’re not ready to or at all for that matter, but my point is about how his words impacted me. They were powerful from the moment I heard them. How many of you have had a bad day? I bet the majority of people reading this have. It’s almost impossible to go through life without a few bumps and scrapes. Everyone is different so I can’t speak for all of you, but I bet there are some of you that experienced the power of words. Maybe work beat you down all day long and you decided to keep it to yourself sending yourself spiraling into an even worse mood. One of those moods where every small thing after was infected because of how your day started. If you had spoke to someone about your problems, would their words have helped? Maybe the lack of words was the problem or maybe too many words were also the problem. Regardless, these little things that we string together to make sentences are more powerful than we realize.

So, why did I take you through all of this? Well… it’s always been a dream of mine to impact someone with my words. I want to write something that not only challenges someone’s way of thinking but challenges the readers themselves. I want someone to read something I’ve written and come out a different person. I want my words to mean something like so many words has changed me. The outlook on life–to me, is such a fragile thing. As I go through life, I want to continue to mold my perspective. I’m not satisfied settling on a single mindset. I want to continually challenge how I see everything and make changes along the way. Hopefully changes for the better.

Anyways, this post went on a lot longer than I meant it to. I apologize for the, as I like to call it, word vomit. Not every entree will be this long with so many references, but I hope you took something from what I wrote today. Who knows? Maybe I already started to change your perspective even if it’s just a fraction.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next week. πŸ™‚

Joe Allen Writes

I know, I know, the first post here is the title of the website itself. Quite clichΓ©, right? However, I think that it perfectly sums up what my website is about! This is a blog mostly to outline me, Joe Allen, as I go through my career as a freelance writer. If you’re interested in learning more about me, then I implore you to check out my about me section as well as my projects section. If you interested in visiting my social media pages you can click on the social media icons at the upper right of the website. (For far all I have is Twitter and Facebook pages, but I’m definitely gonna work on adding more!) Finally, you can check out my blog here. Outside of that, thank you for visiting my blog and I hope you enjoy what I have to say.

Starting Over

Hey everyone, this is going to be my first official blog post for my new site. Over the past several years that have been a ton of people who have helped me along the way. This can include friends that I’ve made along the way–who have pushed me when I wanted to give up–to my loving family supporting me all the same. Where my writing has taken me down many paths, all your support has remained the same, and for that, I sincerely thank you. With that out of the way, let’s get started.

My First Book

Maybe not all of you know about this (even though a lot of you do) this is my first book! It’s 100% written out and even somewhat edited. I wrote it with a close friend I had who was also an author and writing this is what sparked my interest in becoming an author. The thought of becoming an author is spectacular, however, it’s not as easy as that. So even though it’s written, that doesn’t mean it’s a book.

In February 2020 I’ve officially became a freelance writer. After working on another series titled Heroes and Vigilantes which has also been an enlightening experience. It’s one of my most ambitious writing projects I’ve ever done existing in a similar yet very different genre than We Stood Alone. (By the way, all these projects will soon be adding to a separate page you can visit here. It may not be added immediately, but I promise it’ll be there this week!) This new book absorbed my life entirely. If writing projects were kids, it would be the newborn child brought home to meet the rest of the family. However, if there is a second child, then what happened to the first one? That’s right, it was left on the shelf to gather dust.

It still exists even if the condition could be better. I have it in front of me as I write this first entree. After peeling back that dirty dingy cover, I dived back into the world that I created–that we created–and I was taken back. To a better time in my life when I was younger with less burdens and responsibilities. A life where I just wrote and took solace in my work. It’s not good, not by a mile, but it exists. My original kid is living and breathing and I have been neglectful to them.

I guess this is me announcing that We Stood Alone will resume editing and possibly be self published, assuming I’m willing to put in the work. I’m genuinely thrilled to share my experience with all of you as I tussle the beast that is the world of writing once more. Thank you to everyone who read this first initial post and I hope to see you soon! πŸ™‚

(P.S: Check below for a little look into the book I’ll be picking back up)

“The Facility had a secret hidden behind those four massive walls. Subjects were sorted from A to Z by their last names. What would happen once they reached the end; once they reached Z?”