Kim Vandervort, author of THE SONG AND THE SORCERESS and THE NORTHERN QUEEN, has posted a wonderful essay on defining the heroine in epic fantasy on our new blog Heroines of Fantasy.
Here's a sneak preview:
"The problem with 'traditional' female characters in epic fantasy, as I see it, is that they fall into one of only a few roles: the goodly matron, the healer, the love interest, the witch, the prostitute, and the victim. Sometimes they fulfill more than one of these roles at a time. She’s a witch AND a goodly matron! She’s the prostitute AND the victim AND the love interest! 5x bonus for a character who manages to meet all of the stereotypes at the same time! Unfortunately, she doesn’t play much of a role beyond that prescribed for her by the genre. Our “heroine,” even when she wields a sword like a badass, still swoons over our hero and falls apart like bad toilet paper whenever the going gets tough.
Heads-up, people: these are not real women. In order to write a proper heroine, the author has to respect the characteristics that make women strong and use those to advantage instead of trying to force the heroine to occupy a stale stereotype or squish into the role traditionally occupied by the hero..."
To read more and share your own comments and insights, stop by Heroines of Fantasy.
Looking forward to seeing you there!