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  1. Ed1972
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    Ed1972 New Member

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    Recommend stories with strong female protagonists?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Ed1972, May 26, 2011.

    Hello,

    I've completed my children's story.
    But there's one important flaw: more work needs to be done on the main protagonist.

    I am a man. But I wanted a girl to be the main protagonist in the story.

    The story involves quest and adventure. Although I have a good idea of the main, female protagonist in my mind, it's difficult to get it down on paper, and what's more, even in my mind, she is still incomplete.

    Please could you suggest some children's stories with strong female protagonists (and stories, in particular, involving quest and adventure). Protagnoists that are brave and resourceful but, also, vulnerable and human.

    Thank you.
     
  2. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    What age group are you looking for? I don't actually read very many children's books, lol.
     
  3. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Okay, went through some of my stuff I've read.... to jog my memory, lol.

    Meggie, from the Ink series (Inkheart, Inkspell, Inkdeath) is pretty good, by Cornelia Funke.

    Also Jenna Heap in the Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage (Magyk, Flyte, Physik, Queste, & Syren). Also in that series in the third book Snorri Snorrelson is introduced who is also a strong female protag. Hope that helps, though I'm still not sure what age range you're looking at.
     
  4. StrangerWithNoName
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    StrangerWithNoName Longobard duke

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    Nancy Drew?
     
  5. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Oh, haha... Probably should have thought of that! (I don't think I ever read those though, come to think of it......)
     
  6. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    The Hunger Games and the Millenium trilogy are pretty good for female protagonists. Katniss Everdeen and Lisbeth Salander are as strong as you could get. :D
     
  7. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    Dang it. I was about to say the Hunger Games.

    If you like old school there is "Joan of Arc" by Mark Twain but that is more of a Biography.

    As for modern books you could try the "Wicked" series by Nancy Holder.
     
  8. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    ^ Or Wicked. Elphaba is one of my favorite characters. :)
     
  9. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I don't think of "Wicked" as a children's book.

    Then again, I'm not sure you really need to focus on children's books to find what you're looking for.
     
  10. Caldenfor
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    Caldenfor Member

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    Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit has quite the leading lady. You can even check it out really quick if you don't mind watching it instead of reading it. I recently watched the series, based on the novel(s?), on Hulu.

    Very strong and more a protector leading to adventure than an adventurer.
     
  11. Kio
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    Kio Contributing Member

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    Thirded for Hunger Games. It's a great read and the MC is a good example of a strong female character with human vulnerabilities.

    You can also read Maximum Ride by James Patterson. I can't say the MC is exactly human, but she's strong with human weaknesses.

    Other than that, I can't think of much else. Maybe what you should do is, instead of depend on a book to complete your character, you should reflect on all the women you've met and base it off of experience.
     
  12. Ed1972
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    Ed1972 New Member

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    @Trish. Age group: around 10 - 12 (and thanks for recommendations)
    @StrangerWithNoName @GigiGNR @JimFlagg and @Candelfor - thanks for recommendations
    @ EdFromNY. Good point. Jane Austen's Emma is a great book for a female protagonist - that sort of protagonist might be interesting for this. Thanks for comment.
     
  13. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Cool. The ones I suggested should be about perfect then. That's what they're geared for.....
     
  14. Ed1972
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    Ed1972 New Member

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    @Kio

    Thanks.
    Yes, agree about basing it on real person. Basing it on a girl i grew up with.
    I'm really happy with the story, atmosphere, pace, minor characters, voice, and so on. It's just the main protagonist having prob.s with. Thinking that if i could just get that right, then that will really pull the whole thing together. How common is it, i wonder, just to struggle on the characterization of the main protagonist?
     
  15. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    It's pretty common, actually. The protag is an important character, after all. ;)

    Hermione from Harry Potter is also a pretty strong protagonist.
     
  16. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Actually, I was thinking of someone a bit stronger, such as Mattie Quimper from James Michener's Texas, Dorothea from George Eliot's Middlemarch, Daphne Taggart from Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged (not really a very good novel, in my opinion, and you don't need to read it all the way through to get the gist of her character, but for your purposes it might help), or possibly Sophie Neveu from Dan Brown's DaVinci Code. Of the four characters I named, I'd say Dorothea is the least likley to become involved in an adventure quest, but you never know.
     
  17. Ed1972
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    Ed1972 New Member

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    Sure. Just that i find this bit so much more tricky than the rest ..

    How much does the success of the Harry Potter books depend on the characterization of its main protagonist, i wonder?
     
  18. Ed1972
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    Ed1972 New Member

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    Don't know any of these except for Dorothea (thanks, again, for recommendation).
    And yes, to Dorothea being on that list (and what a great book Middlemarch is).
    I would describe Dorothea as a straight character (not "straight" in terms of sexual orientation, but straight as in she is more serious/world-on-her-shoulders than idiosyncratic/light-hearted etc ..
    I'm really looking for a young female character like this.
     
  19. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Nevil Shute once wrote a wonderful little novel called Trustee From the Toolroom, about a shy, middle-aged technology journalist who seemed the least likely to embark on a worldwide adventure, but did so. It was his unlikeliness for the task that made it such an adventure. That idea could work for you as well. Good luck.
     
  20. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Frantic lunchtime typing! And I'm assuming child characters?

    -- Particularly fine characters:
    Lovejoy in An Episode of Sparrows, by Rumer Godden.
    Cecil (the narrator) in Greengage Summer, by Rumer Godden. Child protagonist, not child's book, but worth investigating all the same.
    Emma in Martha Grimes' Emma Graham series, starting with Hotel Paradise. Again, child protagonist, not child's book.
    Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird. Yes, emphatically not a children's book, but.

    -- Fine characters, and adventure or fantasy:
    Lucy in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis.
    Lyra in the His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman
    Beetle in The Midwife's Apprentice, by Karen Cushman.
    Ella in Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine, if you can close your eyes to the horrible from-the-movie cover.
    Wise Child in Wise Child, by Monica Furlong.

    -- Pretty darn good:
    Flavia in The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Again, adult book, child protagonist. Somehow, Flavia gets away with a narrative style that exhibits a completely unchildlike vocabulary.
    Harriet in Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh.
    Matilda in Matilda, by Roald Dahl.
    Martha in The Changeling, by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
    Belinda in Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, by Rumer Godden. Really, several of Rumer Godden's "doll" books with female protagonists - Candy Floss, Holly and Ivy, Little Plum. While I love The Doll's House, I'd say that its protagonist is a doll, and the children are incidental. But it was my very first example of heroism and tragedy in literature. :)
    Claudia in From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler, by E. L. Konigsberg.

    -- Might not fit, but I had to add them because I love them so very much:
    Ramona in Ramona The Pest, by Beverly Cleary. And try to get the original illustrations by Louis Darling; I look at the cover of the current edition on Amazon and I'm horrified at that cute cartoonish girl; that is not Ramona. Yes, this may be too young, but Ramona seems to me to be the core of so much of the unsweet parts of little-girlness.
    Meg in A Wrinkle In Time, by Madelne L'Engle. I used to love this book. After recently rereading it I fear that I only still love Meg and Calvin and Charles Wallace; the adults have gone all preachy.
    Frances from the Frances series by Russel Hoban. Yes, these are just picture books, but again, to me they're basic, especially Bread and Jam for Frances, A Bargain for Frances and A Birthday for Frances. And given that they're just picture books, you could probably read the whole series in the library in less than an hour.

    ChickenFreak
     
  21. Caldenfor
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    Caldenfor Member

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    It is Caldenfor, no problem.

    I just don't think I could do a female MC as I have a hard enough time just thinking of one sentence for a woman to say without over thinking it. Guess I need to have more conversations.
     
  22. Ed1972
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    @ChickenFreak. THANK YOU. Great list. All the best!
    @EdFromNY ā€“ Thanks, again ā€“ good luck.
    @Caldenfor: sorry .. iā€™m a man, the only reason why i think i can create a female figure and write the dialogue etc .. is because i grew up in a household full of women ..
     
  23. Ed1972
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    Ed1972 New Member

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    ChickenFreak

    Yes

    - Yes, Just read, The Independent newspaper ranks this in its list of 100 top fictional characters (covering children and grown-up lit., and male and female.)

    And of the ones i've read from your list (Lucy, Lyra and Matilda), would certainly include them, too, in a list of top female protagonists (children's books)
     

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