Not all of the lyrics from that Beatles’ classic apply here, but it works.
In the midst of finishing this first novel sized fiction, a story I started on paper over a decade ago, I had never “seen” my protagonist. That was until yesterday afternoon when I was looking over art to add to my Pinterest boards. Yes, Pinterest, but I can explain that later. The fun part was stumbling upon a physical representation of my warrior female protagonist. I can share her ‘real’ name later, when I am a bit closer to release. I would hate to see the character name used a few dozen more times before the book gets out the door.
That aside, I wasn’t looking specifically for her, but it is about time to find an artist and commission a cover for this novel. The concept of trying to describe a character that has been adventuring around in my brain for ten years plus is a complicated thing. While her first substantive tale is being transcribed onto the computer, in my imagination, she has vanquished many a foe since then. I realized that while I can write down a description, the visual perception can be vastly different when I hand off my notes to an artist.
So, it was pretty cool to be going through a number of renditions of women in battle armor — some armor was barely there, some was a bit fanciful, but the very practical looking battle gear was what I was looking for, when she appeared among the screens I was flipping through. While her hair as a shade darker than I imagined, the shadow could account for that, and she was five years older than she is in this story, it was her, The Last Duchess of Soahren.
It is an amazing thing to see my hero become real.
Now I have something I can send off to a cover artist as a full on starting point, minus the years and hair, plus the unique stylings of each artist will still evolve the original reference point, but it sure is a fun start.
I had to admit, until I found that tangible evidence, I still had some doubts about going with this as my first story to share with the planet. Of the four other projects I have going or had already written, all of them included male protagonists. And, I think some of them are more unique than my Duchess’ heroes journey, but the world has a pretty good pile of dude warrior stories on the shelf.
Again, this was something I started a long time ago, before cool animated features like Brave. Xena on television did a great job as well, but we still can’t seem to get Wonder Woman back on the small screen or the big screen. Apparently, she will show up with all the other guys in the next Superman/Batman/Justice League film, just not on her own terms.
And I don’t have daughters who need to be inspired by any of my fictional machinations, although I do have a bunch of nieces, all who have the potential to be badass lead characters of their own lives. Maybe they will see something they enjoy in this adventure.
Ultimately, I just don’t see enough cool women kicking down doors.
The world is getting closer, and I’m willing to help. This story isn’t political in that way, I’m merely writing the type of medieval fantasy style story I didn’t see growing up. Inspired in part by all the strong women who were and are positive influences in my life. Chief among them, my mom, my grandmother, my aunt, and of course, my wife, who all kick in doors as required.
One more strong, fictional woman may not change the world, but it is a lot of fun to watch her change her world. Now that I saw her standing there, I can barely wait for other people meet her too.