When I first decided I wanted to write female main characters, it was hard not to write ABOUT women, about what pressures I felt as a woman or what impacts I thought society had on women or yeah, yeah, yeah. (I know you were starting to tune out right there.)
To counteract this and write a story that starred a woman instead of being about her, I moved my story to outer space.
Well, that’s not completely true. I wanted to write stories set in outer space anyway, or at least on other planets. Since one of my first college loves was anthropology, I created an anthropologist studying alien species in order to help her human colony survive.
She felt tremendous pressure to do her duty, to do what was expected no matter what she might want for herself. Those pesky societal constraints sneaked in there again, like ticks, or gnats. Stupid societal constraints…
On the same planet, years later, I wrote about a space marine. She followed her own path, walked to the beat of her own drummer. She knew about sacrifice, but she chose to do it; no one ever forced her. She was huge and muscular, and too tough to cry.
I still like her, but she was a bit of an overreaction.
For my next female MC, I swung far the other way. I wrote about a dancer who could take care of herself but wasn’t afraid to cry or love or wear pretty dresses, you know, all that girl shit. She embraced what some might call the feminine things in life. (In real life, I think this is when I fell back in love with glitter.)
I discovered that female characters could cover all these ranges, could cover every range. They could be insecure, easily swayed anthropologists, tough-as-nails space marines and dress-wearing dancers. I realized there was no one role model everyone could look up to. Not everyone can be a superwoman, but all my characters had one thing in common, when the chips were down, they were all brave in their own ways. I think I mixed them all together to make to create the heroines of The Pyramid Waltz.
Two women, each brave in a different way, each very different people. Starbride (on the left) is a thinker. Katya is a fighter. In different situations, each is cautious or impulsive. They both love jewelry and nice clothes, though they have very different styles. Katya takes sacrifice to extremes and needs Starbride’s level head. Starbride tries to do everything herself and needs Katya’s helping hand.
And it doesn’t hurt that I can easily make them into Barbies. (I do wish, though, that the Barbies of color were a little darker. I think the one I bought is supposed to be Hispanic, but her skin tone is even lighter than her blond counterpart.)
And now I have enough dolls to stage this:
Aaaahhh, so good. Yeah, I didn’t put the panda and the pear together. That would’ve been…weird.
But I can’t stop doing this.
Or if I’m honest, this.
Who’s up for writing a ninja/pear romance with me?
And a super duper p.s.: My friend John Clark has started a Kickstarter for his novel, Red Chords! Let’s all go help him out. If you’re a fan of Laurel K. Hamilton or Patricia Briggs, I think you’ll really go for this.
p.s.s It’s not even my birthday yet, and I’ve already received some wonderful presents from my writer friends:
What’s goin on with you guys? Writing news? Birthday news? Barbie news? What can I say, it’s all I think about.