Sensible Attire

When I’m reading a great fantasy story, there is nothing more aggravating than realizing that the author has dressed the female character inappropriately for the scene.  Years ago, it was hard to find a worthy female character that wasn’t skimpily dressed or brainless.

Occasionally, we would have authors, such as Octavia Butler, Andre Norton, Anne McCaffrey, Mercedes Lackey or Margaret Atwood, who would go against the grain and write heroines that didn’t want to make you gag.  Each one of these authors paid attention to the story they were writing, creating characters that were relatable and interesting.  All while not flashing assets while battling the bad guys.

The good columnists at ran across a fabulous article on Tumblr entitled Women Fighters in Reasonable Armor.  This site rocks.  It shows strong women warriors.

As apposed to this.

Classic stories involve characters we can relate to.  A female character can be sexy and attractive and not be cartoonish.  There is never a ‘Jessica Rabbit‘ character that really, truly survives scrutiny.

Today’s fantasy and science fiction writing environment has seen a maturity in character development.  Yes, we have some cheesecake, but for the most part the female characters are more based in reality, rather than bust size.

Know your genre, write true to the story and give your characters substance.



  • This made me laugh a lot. I definitely agree, there is the danger to take fantasy too far, and make characters who aren’t just imaginative or unusual but just plain absurd. Even in other genres I think dress is trickier than it may seem. Getting attire descriptions right for different cultures and times can easily go wrong.. I think the best use of imagination often comes from a grounding in research. I always liked Katherine Kerr’s fantasy books because they were made so much richer and believable by her knowledge of history. Good food for thought!

  • I’ve noticed this especially happens in YA novels. Sometimes an author tries so hard to dress the character in what’s considered cool, the essence of the character gets totally lost.

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