anonymous asked: What is your opinion on manic pixie dream girls and do you think they're a trope best avoided? I'm afraid my female protagonist will be criticized for being one even though she doesn't exist TO brighten a man's life, she just does bc she's fun?? it wasn't intentional. He likes her, but she doesn't act for his attention but rather acts to get closer to her own goals. I just don't want her to seem like an unimportant or bad protagonist for being 'quirky' and impulsive.
Manic pixie dream girls. I have some opinions on those.
For one thing, manic pixie dream girls, without the context of the stories they’ve been dumped in, are often wonderful. There’s nothing wrong with being quirky, energetic girl with an optimistic outlook, pastel-colored hair, and a weird fashion sense. In fact, I’d love to date one myself.
The real problem isn’t usually the aforementioned manic pixie, but the personality-impaired sadsack she’s usually dumped with. I love the ray of sunshine + total grump combo, but most of the men who are paired with manic pixies aren’t simply grumps. They’re misogynistic, boring, and unpleasant, with the personality of an empty shoe box.
So what can you do to prevent your poor manic pixie from being confined to a shoe box forever? Well, two things:
A) Make her love interest a good, interesting, lovable person.
This should go without saying, but a lot of romance authors didn’t get the memo. If your female protagonist is a quirky bundle of joy, the dude she ends up with should be at least as endearing.
That doesn’t mean he must be a manic pixie dreamboy, but he should be a rich, complex, and loving person. Just look at characters like Ben Wyatt from Parks and Rec, Chidi Anagonye from The Good Place, and Jake Peralta from Brooklyn 99 for inspiration.
B) Make sure your manic pixie has goals and flaws.
The first of which you’re already doing, so hats off to you! Be sure to make her a well-rounded person with bad habits, personal weaknesses, and past traumas that aren’t cute or quirky. This way, you can ensure that she’s her own person and not a fantasy for someone else.
I hope this helps, and happy writing! <3
About the Author
Brooksie C. Fontaine is an author and illustrator, currently pursuing an MFA in creative writing.