|Guest author Timothy C. Ward|
I had a conversation the other day with a studious reader who championed the evolution of promoting strong women in fiction. While I didn’t completely disagree with him, I didn’t exactly enjoy what he had to say.
His general point was that he was sick of reading stories where there is only one woman and her purpose is to sacrifice all else for falling in love. He hates romance, in fact. If a story has women in it, and it should have multiple women to be a good story, they better not give up on their goals to fall in love.
To take a step back, my thoughts on women in fiction is a lot like men in fiction, and children, and old people, and insert race, denomination, whatever: if they only serve one purpose then that’s plain bad writing. To say that a story is sexist against women because you had your main female lead fall in love is a direct contradiction against what the large majority of humans pursue in their lives: someone to love them for who they are and for whom they can give themselves up as sacrificial lovers.
I celebrated my seventh wedding anniversary this year and am preparing for our second child in January. If there is one area in which I’ve struggled and found my greatest success as a husband, it is in the area of sacrificing myself for my wife and son. That is love. Do I want to read a story about a male or female who purports to be strong because they are unwilling to sacrifice themselves for someone else and to experience the best emotional we’ve been created to enjoy? No.
I want stories where women fall in love, where they bear their weaknesses and are lifted up by the person who falls in love with them so that both of them can become stronger people.
I’ll tell you what, the man I was before I met my wife was selfish and hard, broken from a difficult past and completely ignorant about how much more he could love and let love change him.
So, if you’re writing a story and you think, this female character can’t fall in love because they need to show strength, consider how much stronger they could be as a duo.
I wrote a book with three strong women in Godsknife: Revolt. One is a priestess who has figured out how to create a cross species virus that allows her to telepathically control an army of human insect hybrids, and whose goal is to display her powers of Order by overpowering the Chaos she unleashes. Another is an early twenties orphan who didn’t realize the father figure she had been working for is a Chaos doctor and the guy she meets while visiting Iowa State is a recruiter for Order. She goes from the fear of leaving the familiar for the adventure of college to running for her life and into the myths of the supernatural. She will battle the loss of her parents and how easy it will be to turn to vengeance instead of the strength within. Lastly, a middle-aged woman who left the Chaos doctor because of his drinking will also run into her father and face the anger she’s held within about his over protectiveness and subsequent divide that has hurt their relationship for years.
Godsknife: Revolt is available in ebook and paperback from Evolved Publishing. For signed copies and links to online retailers, check out www.spikepub.com.
Timothy C. Ward is a Hugo nominated producer for Adventures in SciFi Publishing, who has been lost, broke and surfed with sharks on the other side of the world. He now dreams of greater adventures from his keyboard in Des Moines, Iowa. This summer he released two novels: his second Sand Divers book, Scavenger: A.I., where two parents use an ancient technology to fight a reproducing A.I. while trying to resurrect their deceased infant, and Godsknife: Revolt, an apocalyptic battle for godhood in the rift between Iowa and the Abyss.
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