Today it is my turn to host Melissa Savage author of “Bigfoot, Tobin & Me” who is sharing some of her favourite female characters and how they in turn inspired to write her own.
I hope you will enjoy this post as much as I did!
Powerful Girl Protagonists
By Melissa Savage, author of Bigfoot, Tobin & Me
As many young girls do today, I looked to books as one of my life guides for ideas about who I would be and how I would fit in the world. I have always gravitated toward story with a powerful female character, even as a child. For many of us, an endearing protagonist can speak so deeply to you that they feel more like a friend than a character in a book. That was certainly true for me and I developed enduring friendships with the many powerful female protagonists I got to know through story.
The term powerful, however, can sometimes be misconstrued. It does not solely consist of possessing physical strength or power over another. It can also mean strength of compassion for and the acceptance of others, the courage of conviction, brave vulnerability, vigorous tenacity or even a quest for higher knowledge or purpose. And finally, power can simply be defined as the perseverance of hope. Isn’t that what all children’s books share? A sense of hope in the face of adversity? For me, then and now, I feel that hope is one of the most powerful attributes one can possess in this world of uncertainty.
Growing up I learned that strength came in many different forms. Each female character I got to know possessed unique and capable attributes specific to their personality, experiences, and the supports in place around them. I had so many favorite female protagonist friends as a child, I couldn’t possibly list them all. Three favorites that I will always remember as powerful girls, each with their own dynamic gifts of strength include E.B. White’s Fern Arable from Charlotte’s Web with her strength of compassion and courage of conviction to save a runt pig from slaughter. Harper Lee’s, Scout Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird with her brave vulnerability and innocence as she attempted to assign meaning to both the good and bad that she witnessed in the small southern town in which she lived. And of course, Frank L. Baum’s Dorothy Gale from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. What strength this young orphaned girl possessed as she persevered in her attempt to hold out hope for a sense of belonging and a place in the world in which she felt loved.
This is what I strive for in my own female characters and certainly what I aspired to create when writing for Lemonade Liberty Witt. Lemonade was faced with such a difficult adversity at such a young age and with that adversity came a great deal of change which in of itself can be a difficult hardship. And as challenging as it was to persevere, Lemonade does so without losing her hope, her compassion or her tenacity. She begins to heal within her new surroundings with the support of the many loving characters she meets along her journey.
Fern, Scout and Dorothy are just three powerful female protagonists with whom I befriended, cherished and looked up to in my youth, however, there are so many more. All three of these young girls displayed compassion for and acceptance of others, courage of conviction, vigorous tenacity and of course, the perseverance to hold on to hope in the face of adversity. These three friends had a part in shaping the woman I became and I know they will continue to speak deeply to many more young girls finding their way. I can only hope that the female characters I create will reach girls of today as Fern, Scout, Dorothy and others have reached me. That the stories I create might speak to someone so deeply that it can shape them the way I have been shaped by story, and that others may be moved to find their own unique attributes and be empowered to share those very special gifts with the world.