Character has been driving me crazy this month!
It's no secret we all love YA fantasy heroines who stand up for themselves with snappy comebacks or well-placed punches. We love smarty-pants Hermione and man-killing Katsa. Conversely, readers criticize Bella Swan for being so passive and wimpy.
Though I love reading about chicks who fight, my own characters rarely get physical. This is because I like to relate to them, and I'm a short girl with prematurely creaky joints who's extremely nearsighted and prone to headaches. So I like to give voice to characters who also can't run a mile in under 15 minutes.
But will a fantasy audience want to read about a girl who doesn't swashbuckle?
And what about the shy girls? Girls with a semi-useless magical ability, who aren't hyper-intellectual, who are polite and obedient? Who won't be able to swordfight or send a storm to knock you over?
While I've found it easier to write smart girls who use their brains and speak their minds, I don't want all my characters to have a sharp tongue in place of physical prowess either.
Use What You've Got
The one kickass character I can think of who's obedient and possesses no particular fighting skills is Dashti from Shannon Hale's Book of a Thousand Days.
Her magical ability is a healing one, not a fighting one. And with her spirit, devotion and pragmatism, who isn't in love with her?
It's the way she uses the skills she does have and how she faces her obstacles that draw us in.
Now I have to think of some personality traits for my non-fighting, non-smack-talking heroine that make her as memorable as Dashti.
Are there other female characters in fantasy who aren't all-mighty magicians or fighters? Please share!