My Own Personal Fantasy
I was a bit of an anomaly growing up in the early 90s in rural America. I know, growing up in the early 90s we all felt like a bit of an anomaly. And we were. But I was a small-town girl (there were less than 10,000 people in the town I grow up in) who had the audacity to read and love fantasy. Every time I’d go to the bookstore I’d have to by one or two or five and then race home to devour them. There were whole weekends I wouldn’t sleep. I’d be up until three or four o’clock in the morning reading. So, when I decided I was going to write—seriously write, four or five years ago, it only made sense that I write what was in my heart—a fantasy. But not just any fantasy. Since it was going to be mine, I could tweak the things that I found a bit annoying in my youth.
The first thing I wanted to fiddle with was the point of view. I love men. I really, truly do. But it seemed to me that most fantasies were written from a guy’s viewpoint. There were exceptions. And, even the books that were primarily written from a male perspective, there were several books that had chapters written from a female character’s point of view. But I wanted a book told exclusively from a woman’s or, as it turned out, a couple women’s point of view. So that was where I started.
And, since I was writing exclusively in feminine voices, I wanted to give the women real depth. The thing that annoyed me the most while growing up and reading fantasies was that so many female characters in fantasies were damsels in distress. They were too stupid to live. They were Princess Buttercup in the Fire Swamp standing there screaming in terror while their Wesley was fighting the monsters for them. Don’t get me wrong, I love that movie. I could quote it for days on end. But there isn’t a time that I’ve watched it that I haven’t yelled at the TV during that scene. Why can’t she just pick up a sword and hand it to him?
The other option for females, if she wasn’t cast as the damsel, was the evil manipulator. Written to be the hero’s downfall, she was there to drive a wedge in the group of adventurers. She was always vivacious and curvy and sexy as hell. Usually witty and cunning, she was the other half of the damsel but, being just half a woman, she still fell flat when I read her. That being said, she was the character I always rooted for.
Enter Saraphina Raven, my damsel who can fight her own monsters thank you very much, and Anneleissa Dawnsfall, my manipulative femme fatale with a heart of gold. They are the voices of my own personal fantasy. They are the heart and soul of Ravenborne. And they became two of my friends as I wrote their stories.
Fantasy, as a genre, has come a long way in the last twenty years. It’s more approachable, more readable, and—most importantly—it’s become more diverse. Authors have worked hard to open the genre so that it others can fall in love with it the way we did in our childhood. But there is always room for improvement. So, my question to you, if you were to write a fantasy, what would you tweak? What would you change to make it your own? I’ll be giving away a digital copy of Ravenborne to one of the brave souls who leave a answer in the comments (make sure you also give us an e-mail address so I can get in touch with you).