Creative Pencil

While writers peruse agents’ BIOs or blogs, they may notice a few mention manuscripts need to pass the Mako Mori Test or the Bechdel Test. Have no fear, they aren’t going to had out exams to give you an anxiety attack! These are tests to make sure the story isn’t gender biased, which is important to be well marketed. So how do writers pass the tests? Here are the guidelines:


  1. The movie has to have at least two women in it,
  2. who talk to each other,
  3. about something besides a man


  1. At least one female character;
  2. who gets her own narrative arc;
  3. that is not about supporting a man’s story.

Sounds simple, but it’s easy to forget to make your female characters organic when your lead may be a man. Follow these guidelines and you’ll have a story that feels real instead of cut-out paper dolls.

P.D. Pabst
Blogger and writer of MG/YA fiction


2 thoughts on “MAKO MORI & BECHDEL TEST

    1. Right? And there are so many other tests used for writing, film, or women in science. There is also the Russo Test:

      The American lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) media organization GLAAD introduced the “Vito Russo Test”, intended to analyze the representation of LGBT characters in films. It encompasses three criteria:
      1.The film contains a character that is identifiably lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender.
      2.The character must not be solely or predominantly defined by their sexual orientation or gender identity.
      3.The character must be tied into the plot in such a way that their removal would have a significant effect.

      Some of the criteria seem so simple we wonder how anyone would forget, yet it’s rather easy to do when one is caught up in writing. A simple check against the appropriate test, depending on what is being written, individuals can spot their errors.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s