Eric said he wasn’t sure how to write female characters. Off the cuff, I gave him these tips:
One trick, just swap genders after you write the role. The role of Ripley in the original Alien was written for a man, they changed it for a woman at the last minute.
The key – for me – is to not think so much about gender at all. People are varying degrees of nurturing, tough, strong, weak, smart, silly, etc. We are all just people. What makes each individual character tick may have nothing at all to do with gender. To think about it in RPG terms, there are a whole lot of skills, strengths and attributes on a character sheet, and only one place for gender.
I see this conversation on Twitter, often. Writers wonder how to write the opposite gender, and mostly how to make it believable. I stand by what I told Eric.
Don’t overthink gender, delve into character.
Unless it is a major plot-point, just try to steer clear of stereotypes and give each character some depth and humanity. That’s really all most of us are asking for when we talk about the “strong female” trope.