A Female MC a MUST in Fantasy?

A Rant, you have been warned.

I recently joined a critique group and there was a question put on the boards. A writer wondered if he/she had to have a FMC (female main character) for their story since someone made the comment that they should.

Now, here’s my rant. People were saying yes.

WTF! Okay, so I understand that most of the readership for fantasy (we’re talking strictly fantasy here, not romance) is women. But I have yet to choose a book based on whether the MC was Male or Female, let alone been disappointed if there happen to be no FMC in the book. I’m thinking Hobbit and several others that have their female characters more as background.

When has this stupid rule sprouted up that says the character’s story is less important than the gender of the MCs involved? I mean, if it was the traditional f/m romance, I would understand, but we aren’t talking romance here, people, we’re talking fantasy.

Am I insane to think that the story should come first? If your MC happens to be a man, why must he have a FMC? What if he’s gay? What if his wife is dead? What if the story dictates that a FMC just wouldn’t work. What if it’s just him and some other guy on some quest? Are you telling me that he has to fall for that stupid cliche romantic interest or some amazon queen has to help him do what he should really be doing himself in the story?

Give me a break! Story comes FIRST, not some stupid rule an idiot made up. If your story doesn’t have a FMC and it’s a fantasy, so long as you aren’t making all the women in the story all cardboard cut-outs of Pamela Anderson on ecstasy, I think you’ll be okay.

Oh, and the same goes for the reverse. If the story is about two sisters there doesn’t have to be a leading man. Of course there should be men in it, unless you happen to be on Wonder Woman’s Amazon Island, but male MCs are no more the requirement for a good story than women are.

Besides, fantasy is NOT ROMANCE.

Rant over.

Thank you for reading.

Opinions and comments are always welcome.


Filed under Food for thought

9 responses to “A Female MC a MUST in Fantasy?

  1. Jen

    I agree with Linnea Sinclair. “FOLLOW NO RULE OVER A CLIFF”.
    If the story calls for a male main character, then it does. If it calls for SIX POVs then it does.
    The story is the thing.
    I can write the most beautiful prose of the century….and will get my butt rejected if there’s no damn story.
    Though I will say that it’s tough not to “write to the market”. I don’t get Vampires and Werewolves in my head. I just have to be prepared for the low sales.
    To me, it’s ALL about the story.

  2. Obviously, I don’t write fantasy, so I’ve never heard this “rule” before. I do, however, think it’s utter nonsense. The characters are who they are, the story is what it is, and that’s all there is to it.

    So, um…there. *hmph!*

  3. You will always find people who spout ‘the rules’ because they feel following them will ensure a sale and not following will ensure a rejection. Most of those people are unpublished and will remain so.

  4. Yeah, that “rule” sounds like a joke to me. I’ve heard many crazy “rules” through my writing evolution, I’ve never heard that one before.

    I hate when people try to “tell” you how to write a story instead of “offering” their opinion on the process.

    All in all, in my “opinion”, the story/conflict is everything. Without it, what are you writing?

  5. cmtorrens

    No, it’s no joke. I’ve heard this ‘rule’ before. I’ve just never believed anyone took it so seriously to drive themselves off a cliff, let alone “refuse to read something without a FMC”, which is what someone’s response was on the board. It just irked me. lol.

  6. There are so many “rules”. I don’t know who makes them up, but it’s really frustrating to have them quoted at you. When it comes to writing I’ll listen to an agent or editor and my gut instinct.

  7. This rule makes no sense to me.

    I had no idea more women read fantasy than men. I mean, a LOT of dudes read fantasy. Anyway, as a woman, I don’t mind if all the MCs in a fantasy are guys.

    I loved Robin Hobb’s Tawny Man trilogy and the MCs (Fitz and the Fool) are both male. And none of the chicks in the Lord of the Rings are more than secondary characters, but I think it was fairly well received anyway…

    • cmtorrens

      Yeah, women read more fantasy than men and men in general read more sci-fi than woman. I can’t remember where I heard that, but it was a reliable bit of info, not just second hand crap.

      This isn’t to say women don’t read sci-fi and men don’t read fantasy, it’s just an in-general sort of thing.

  8. It wasn’t long ago since there were NO women in fantasy. Like you say, Tolkien. Hardly any women in his books. Early fantasy was very male dominated. Which bummed me out when I grew up as I read a lot of fantasy and there were NO CHICKS.

    But these days you have a choice. Both as a reader and as a writer. Male or female. Or both. Some people will prefer the one, some the other. And some stories call for the one, some for the other.

    Write a damn good story and the rest will sort itself out. If rules stop you from doing this, ignore them because clearly, then they are not very good rules.

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