James Edgar Skye is a fiction writer in his current dystopian fantasy novel Rise of the Nephilim, which explores themes of good versus evil, the future, pre-apocalyptic worlds, and the hero’s journey. He was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 and PTSD. His self-published memoir The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir was released in 2020.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are my own, and the ideas I explore are passionate to me as a writer. Any political opinions that come up are also my own. I do not exclude your point of view on anything I share. If you want to support my writing, consider my Buy Me a Coffee page.
I am a major proponent of more assertive female protagonists and secondary characters, not just in speculative fiction but also in areas I write of dystopian dark fiction in my latest novels. Campanelli makes a great point about speculative fiction tropes and the idea that the strong female protagonists, once weaker characters in our genre, are changing.
I made a choice early on when writing fiction—short stories and novels—that my protagonists would be female. It was a personal choice because I felt, much like my cultural background, the group was underrepresented. I think the same way about the LGTBQ+, so all this comes into consideration in my work. In my work progress, I am Aurora, Legend of the Myths of Old, and my novel focuses on third-person limited just from my protagonist Aurora (more on this in a future blog post about third-person POV). All other characters are secondary to her.
Regarding Rise of the Nephilim, my main protagonist is Aria (I chose the character back in 2014 when I was playing poker at the Aria Hotel and thought, this is my character). While he is a protagonist but secondary, I chose this novel to make Gideon, my immortal Nephilim, an important character. In both cases, Aurora and Aria (I have an obsession with characters with the letter “A” to begin their name) are the pinnacles of strong female protagonists that make their way into the world the way that is their own. It will always be an important part of my writing,
I do have some work that features a male protagonist. My novella Angel on the Ward has a male protagonist named James (his name came before my pen name). Outside of that novella, that trend stays in my writing. For Nanorimo 2022, I wrote a contemporary novel (now in editing) about Anaïs and her coming-of-age story where she meets a writer who is Bipolar (I swear the book has tiny parts of my life intertwined, but that is for a later blog post).
For my writing, the female protagonist is imperative in all aspects. I grew up in fantasy novels and games where the protagonist was always male. It was what I thought was the genre, but as writers, we notice so much, and for me reading authors like Margaret Atwood, who writes strong female protagonists (just one of the examples), inspired me to do the same.
As always, I want to end the post with a question you are willing to answer: is there enough representation of speculative fiction for female protagonists?
I always like a good debate, so please comment below and let us share our thoughts on the matter.
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