One of the less-appreciated aspects of literary romance (versus realism) is the viability of dynamic characters: that is, people who undergo fundamental transformations in their personalities. Rather than simply making changes (as in going to the gym and dieting) or having epiphanies (as in “Wow, I never realized how desperate I was for attention before!”,) these folks can truthfully lay claim to the cliche’: “I was a different person, then.”
My assumption, in writing the character of Nexus Wyrd, was that strong women are not born strong–that the culture, rather, conditions them to remain in the submissive, dependent positions of girls, and indeed encourages a certain amount of helplessness (opposite to what it does with boys.) This, along with princess/dollhouse/marriage fantasies, and prohibitions against witch/whore/Harpy or “fallen woman” transgressions, means that women have to look harder to see beyond what Plato called the “shadows on the wall,” to a strength that is neither male-bestowed and controlled, nor male-imitative. To seize what feminists define as yonic power, then, requires a chrysalis-level transformation.
Comparing Sarah Connor from The Terminator to Terminator 2 (both above) gives one a pretty solid idea of what I had in mind. The hair alone–coiffed, sprayed, and styled, then altered to loose, free, and wild–says it all, never mind the clothes, the muscular definition, and the expression in the eyes.
I chose a sledgehammer for Nexus, not as a weapon or implement of destruction, so much as a tool for tearing down the old ego construction, to rebuild literally and figuratively from the foundation on up.