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What makes a good female non-cliched protagonist?

(6 Posts)
JumpingJackSprat Sat 07-Dec-13 15:06:32

I have been writing a book on and off for a few years in the fantasy/teenage/adult genre. My main protagonist is a young woman who is a bit selfish and self absorbed but gradually works out who she is. I don't want her to become a cardboard cut out but I think there are too few well written female characters in the fantasy genre and most women terms to be there to support the men- my character is the star of the show and her supporting cast are men.

I like Robin hobb for the way her characters are written but even then all her main characters seem to be men. So I just thought I'd start a discussion of anyone is up for it on what makes a good female protagonist? Has anyone read any particularly well written female characters that are the main hero?

TheWanderingUterus Sat 07-Dec-13 22:19:55

I like the heroines in Tamora Pierce and Patricia Wrede stories.
Love Alanna the Lioness. The bone dolls twin series was good too.
I like Dakin from the farthest away mountain, although not so keen on the ending. trudi Canavan is ok, I like her characters but not the story lines so much

But then I will read pretty much any fantasy if it has a female protagonist as it is so rare. I even reread Crown Duel where the main character seems to spend a lot of time falling unconscious.

The Tomorrow when the war began series depict good teenage characters under stress and pulled from their normal lives. Simon from the tad Williams series (one of the books is Siege of green angel tower, but can't remember the others) is a very good teenage depiction too. I loved Ash by Mary gentle, paksennarion by Elizabeth moon and the war prize series by Elizabeth Vaughan blush.

Sorry about the lack of capitals, ipad is balking at all the unfamiliar words and I am really tired and can't face going back to capitalise them.

Dunlurking Sun 08-Dec-13 18:58:06

Marking my place, JumpingJackSpratt. A useful thread as I've started on a YA book as well. Doing 2 courses to help next term - the Faber Academy 3 day one in January, and the Oxford Uni online one....

Sarah Maas has written 2 YA books which seem to be an attempt to copy Robin Hobb's Assassin series. The writing is a bit clunky in the first, Throne of Glass. I haven't read the second yet but the female protagonist is at least pretty feisty in the first.

I don't know whether Maggie Stiefvater's books count as fantasy, but all her female protagonists are strong characters.

In the dystopian YA books range there is obviously Katniss from the Hunger Games, but also Saba, the protagonist in Moira Young's Blood Red Road.

TheWanderingUterus Sun 08-Dec-13 19:23:48

Come back to add more authors who wrote female protagonists i enjoyed reading about.

I can't believe I forgot Mercedes lackey. Her plots are somewhat formulaic but I love most of her early characters (less so in the later books). Judith marillier and Patricia mcKillip have very different takes on the female protagonist, but are equally good.

Also Barbara Hambly, Robin McKinley, Anne Bishop and Susan Dexter have written some great female characters in the fantasy genre. Lois McMaster Bujold has written an interesting series (the sharing knife series) but I couldn't get over the age difference between the two main characters who fall in love (17 and 45).

I have no excuse for the lack of capitalisation this time. grin

JumpingJackSprat Mon 09-Dec-13 21:30:59

Some good suggestions here including some authors I'd never heard of - I'll look some up smile keep em coming everyone. Dun have you started writing yours yet?

Dunlurking Tue 10-Dec-13 14:03:15

I'm writing my characters into little scenes in order to get to know them. The scenes are completely random at the moment may link up to give me a plot.

How is yours going then?

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