Not too long ago, a colleague of mine was very excited to tell me that he was writing a book. When I asked him what it was about, he immediately confessed to not writing female characters. He said that they were problematic, dramatic, and just got into too many romances that distracted his male characters from being successful.
He wasn’t a historical fiction writer, but his mindset on female characters happens to be how a lot of historical fiction writers treat the female characters they choose to include. Nobody’s a saint, and nobody wants to write or read a Mary Sue. But women want real representation in fiction. We want characters that are more that just stereotypes of who we are. This isn’t just a rant for male writers, though. Listen up, ladies. You might also be degrading your own sex in historical fiction.
So let’s fix that.