A Handy-dandy Guide to Writing Real Person Fiction
This is going to be a short chapter, but an important one. The issue has previously been alluded to, but it deserves special attention.
Women are NOT weak.
1- If you are considering writing a story in which your female protagonist is rife with mental health issues (self-harm, parasuicidal gesturing, depression, eating disorders, anxiety, etc.), and intend to have your male character save her from those issues: STOP. Rethink your entire plot, and try again.
2- Women are not helpless, they do not require saving. The only way to effectively combat personal problems is by dealing with them personally. It is ok to have a supportive partner, but not one that becomes a problem-solver for your character. That is not a healthy relationship. Love is based on respect, a connection, and all that bullshit, not on necessity/desperation/pity.
3- If your female character is weak all the time, it will become her defining personality trait, and you will fail to establish what she is like when she is well. She will just be a big gob of nothing.
4- No one likes a weak, spineless protagonist. It is utter shit to read.
5- Writing about mental health issues in such a manner romanticizes them, and there is nothing cute, romantic, or sexy about depression, having anxiety, drug addiction, having an eating disorder, or being so miserable and foolish that you engage in self-harm. However, if your protagonist engages in unhealthy coping mechanisms and does not learn, you are absolutely responsible for romanticizing those types of actions, which is unethical.
6- Keep in mind that many readers are underage. Your characters are promoting lifestyle choices and modeling future behavior for them, whether you like it or not.
(a)- Does your character smoke? Great, you are making it sound, at the least, like an appealing trait, if your character is likeable. Just because Andy Biersack does it doesn't mean it's cool. It means he's cool, and also that he has an addiction to smoking cigarettes, a character flaw. He's only human, and can't be controlled (no one should try), but you can control what your OCs do. Don't model negative behavior.
ana: Sorry wrote this one without you, but I figured you would be on board. -SP