Good Luck, Bad Luck: The Protagonist

Not all girls are strong and fierce. Some are quiet and determined. I believe in varying my protagonists to be inclusive of many personality types. 

Girls should be strong and fierce all the time! A weak female protagonist is not welcome in this society.

This discussion came up recently among a group of author friends after this video below was shared. For my post to make sense you probably should watch it before continuing - it's almost twenty minutes long, but hang in there!



For me, I felt intrigued by the video for a couple of reasons. When I was a teen my tastes in everything from books to music were different from what I enjoy now. It probably isn't so much of an age issue as an expectation issue - I admit, I've gotten fussier with my novels the older I've gotten especially as I still read predominately YA fiction.

When I was a teen I was big on the book series Love Stories. I didn't love all the books, but a few authors really captured a lot of the romance I envisaged or maybe just fantasized would one day come to me. For those interested, I still have the following of that series on my bookshelf:

  • It Had to Be You by Stephanie Doyon
  • Some Girls Do by Dahlia Kosinski
  • Hot Summer Nights by Elizabeth Chandler
  • Our Secret Love by Miranda Harry
  • Falling for Ryan by Julie Taylor
  • I Do by Elizabeth Chandler

So why am I admitting all this now? 

Because as a teen there came a time when reading love stories made you a target. A target to be teased mainly and let's face it - life as a teen is difficult enough without giving others ammunition. These books therefore never left the confines of my room. If anyone asked what I was reading I tried to go with either assigned books or what was "in". 

This video really raises the question of why "weaker" female protagonists are so hated on. Now, I'll be honest, I'm not a fan of the Twilight series - it just isn't my cup of tea - which is fine because an author can't please everyone, even me! Bella was seen by many as being a weak character and it's been a trend for a while that YA books should have strong female leads.

Good Luck, Bad Luck

That made me pause. My first novel will release soon. I started writing it a long time ago - over 10 years. I was in a different phase of my life and saw the world very differently from how I do now. My protagonist in Good Luck, Bad Luck is Mary and she is not a strong female lead. This is probably a big reflection on how I saw myself when I first started the novel but also I wanted to give my character room to grow and mature - because no one is the perfect kick-butt, highly-skilled, whatever all the time.

I could have rewritten Good Luck, Bad Luck and had Mary being a strong character but that would have defeated the purpose of the story which is to watch as she grows and learns about herself. She's never going to be an action hero - that's not the purpose of the story.

For some teens, these types of characters are necessary because it's easier for them to relate to a Mary or a Bella than say a more forceful protagonist - they might wish they were that character but it's difficult to understand that character well. 

No one should feel the need to hide what they enjoy reading for fear of being belittled. Everyone needs to find what they love and it's okay if in ten years they read it again and cringe, because this just means that they've grown as a person and that books no longer fills the ideals and needs of the person.

Now I've confessed to my secret stash of love stories, come on and post in the comments the books that you've never admitted to actually liking or loving for fear of the judgment!

_____________________________________________________________________

Graphic Credits
Pennant Banner by CrunchyMom
Watercolour Swatch by Bell Ink Designs
Girl toon by Away With the Pixels

No comments