Why Women Don’t Write Epic Fantasy

Actually, they — we — do. There is absolutely no reason why a woman cannot write a sword fight as well as a man. Really! Do you think George RR Martin actually went toe to toe with an armored knight to “know” what he wrote? Of course he didn’t.

I am a petite woman who does not swing a sword at people for a living. That hasn’t kept me from staging mock sword battles with my family in the backyard. I learned something from that. My construction worker husband is stronger than I am at swinging a wooden sword, but my daughter (a dancer) is faster both on her feet and with the blade. Guess who wins? Usually, she does if she can get him off balance quickly enough. On the other hand, her younger brother is better at reading your intentions and parrying your blows, which means that, though he wasn’t as strong as his father (until this summer) or as fast as his sister (still not), he wins most matches because you can’t get past his guard. Eventually, you wear yourself out and then he shifts his weight, gets you off balance and puts the blade to your throat. He was really cute doing that as a little kid.

There’s the drinking and the misogyny — I grew up in Alaskan bars. I just have to imagine my parents’ friends in breecs and siarcs and translate their dialogue from 20th century American to Celdryan. I daresay a woman writer could learn all about tavern scenes by hanging out at a Bikini’s on football nights.

Moreover, my female warriors (Ryanna, for example) in the Daermad Cycle will remain female. They don’t have to be men in shirts to be believable characters. They simply need to be strong women who have a cause to love and therefore to fight for. And because I am a woman, I don’t forget that they are too.

Then there’s the rough outdoor lifestyle that an epic requires. Again, I live in Alaska. I KNOW about building fires and trying to keep the rain off under a spruce tree.

At a keyboard, I’m as able to enter an epic fantasy world as any man. My anatomy does not limit my imagination. Does yours?



2 responses

  1. I read this blog with a proud smile on my face the whole time. The reason being I was enamored with your thinking. A writer has to have some ability with words, spirit and imagination. I do not doubt your expertise in any of those areas. I would be leery facing you in battle! Thanks for a great article.

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