Two Gendered Character Types That Run Satisfyingly Deep

Every human character you write in your novel will fulfill some manner of gender stereotype. Some gender types pay off in the long run, while others do not. Here are two character gender types that are guaranteed to bring a satisfying arc to your characters, and an enjoyable reading experience to your readers.

The emotionally damaged but physically healthy animal. The male type tends to be rough on the surface, but tender and steady once his trust is gained. The female type is generally angry and obtuse, until she is shamed into showing her true and sensitive nature. Both of these types seem to care little about love, until they create an authentic bond with an emotionally healthy human. Both the male and female type in this category blossom into adorable lovers, and satisfactory parents. The end trajectory of this type is marriage, in an affordable house, with children and steady employment. Neither the male or female of this type is prone to cheating or lying. You have to have circumstances bring stress upon this gender type, because the character will not go looking for trouble by themselves. (Princess Leia from Star Wars is this type, as is Harry from the Harry Potter books.)

The destructive but fascinating charmer. The male type in this category is restless, and struggles to put down roots anywhere. You don’t need to compel this character into chaos; they will go looking for a hot mess on their own, and insert themselves into the center of it. The character’s internal world is in such disarray that they seek out maximum outer chaos to match their inner lack of control. Most male action heroes fit this gender type. (James Bond is this type, as is Han Solo of Star Wars) The female type thrives on gossip, and interrelational drama, rather than in physical conflict, and will surround herself with high-conflict family members. (Matriarchs from any kind of court drama are this type; think of the epicenter of conflict in Mean Girls.)

You can use these two broad gender types to create endless conflict and plot tension in your novel. A destructive and charming female type will often gain temporary control over an emotionally damaged but otherwise healthy male or female type; as each type draws nearer to the full manifestation of their nature, the conflict rises exponentially, and inevitably ends in permanent separation. Emotionally damaged but healthy men and women eventually separate themselves from destructive and charming types, and destructive and charming types nearly always create an eventual symbiotic relationship to another destructive type, almost always of the opposite gender.

Explore the natural consequences of these true-to-life types, and your readers will find your characters satisfying, relatable, and dynamic.