In the chapter I’m banging through right now, I’m just past the part where I’ve introduced a female character, the first of any consequence for the story. She is by far my favorite character. Not so much because of the role she plays, although it’s important, but because she was the first character I’d ever written who simply jumped off the page and told ME who she was. In fact, the plot of my whole story totally sucked until she walked into my main character’s dreams and tries to kill him. (I generally think this sort of description of how characters are created as total flowery bullshit, I usually think about it as a long intense process. However, this really happened. My wife wrote a couple of pages about this woman before she was introduced into the story, and this is what happened when I let the character loose in the events of my story.)
I am fighting hard against the cliche of the type of woman one might think of with bad fantasy. Her favored garb consists of drab cloaks and armor that conceal her nature. (yes she’s still beautiful, but it’s not the first impression of the main character, it will take time for him to see it) She is the body-guard, and not the other way around. She is not the totally indestructible warrior princess either. Yes, she’s very good, and very mouthy about it, but she’s as susceptible to a misstep as any man. I’d describe her relationship with the main character as similar that of Brienne of Tarth and Jamie Lannister from Game of Thrones, though in my story I would say my female is both Jamie and Brienne in one person (I look forward to the day where a reader might read far enough in to argue the point). Also, my female character is much more like to equal my male lead than the Brienne/Jamie situation. In a male-dominated society of my story (Yes, so typical of high fantasy, why not get rid of that – I did consider it. My wife, however, suggested it would be a difficult thing for an amateur such as myself to pull off without sounding patronizing.), having equal females shouldn’t really happen, but I can’t help myself in this case. The character is so strong, she knocks past all of those barriers and demands they stay down. What I hope is that the strategy of allowing her to take charge as she has done so far makes for a believable, engaging and cohesive world, and not a disjointed, confused mess.