Weekly HotS update + strong female characters

Happy Friday everyone!

I wanted to swing by to provide the weekly Heart of the Sand update and make some general comments about strong female characters in western story-telling.

I have completed readable, first draft copies for the first four chapters of Heart of the Sand (The Cleaver Prince, The Last Retreat, At the Mercy of Mother God, and Royal Demands). I will continue to work through the weekend and next week. If all goes well, another four chapters will be completed by the week of Christmas. January 5th, 2016 is a little ways away, but not that far! If work continues to proceed as planned, I should have half of the book done when I start publishing, with the narrative completed sometime in February. I very much look forward to all the feedback when we reach January.

In more general, narrative terms I wanted to touch on the topic of strong female characters. As most of you know, I do not write any weak characters, regardless of gender (strong or weak is relative in my works). I often wonder why authors, filmmakers, and story tellers are so dismissive of those kinds of characters. As a consumer — not a necessarily as a writer — I am unequivocally bored when a female character surfaces who is summed up in any of the following ways: trophy, eye candy, inconsequential, push-over, or damsel in distress. I’m sure you can come up with a lot of other descriptors. To me those characters are lifeless, without depth, and to put it more bluntly, insulting to consumer intelligence.

So why not go with strong female characters?

At the risk of sounding narcissistic, I adore all three of my primary female characters. Aerona, Ashleigh, and Lutessa have strength of will, fortitude, courage, bravery, and unrelenting determination in one form or another. They all have pain that they deal with in different ways, chauvinistic males who try to keep them down (to which they fight back and overcome), and incredible physical and emotional obstacles that when they conquer it, they grow and evolve — just like their male counterparts.

Would I trade them for lifeless, damsels in distress? Puppets that male characters pull the strings of? Faceless entities that do lip service to feminists? No, I would not. Ever.

Let’s not be afraid of strong female characters. Embrace them. Stories are much better off with them, than without.


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