Warlord of the Forgotten Age

Charles Yallowitz is a good friend of mine. He has appeared on my blog many times, and me on his. If you are the kind who read comments, you’ll find us getting into some fairly deep topics on one site or the other. Charles has what I see as a major accomplishment. He’s completed the final volume of his Legends of Windemere series. As a writer of stand-alone books I am in awe. This series is epic fantasy, and epic in proportion at fifteen volumes.

Many months ago, we got into a discussion about writing characters of the opposite gender. This isn’t something that comes easy to every writer. Our discussion morphed into the following post, and it’s part of his blast to announce Warlord of the Forgotten Age to the world. Read the post, join in the discussion, and get your copy of the book. I’ll also note that if you’re one who likes to wait for completion before starting a series, this is the time to jump on the Windermere train.

Oh, and if you would use those sharing buttons, we would both appreciate it. I’ve released enough books to know that spreading the word is super important.

Thank you to Craig for helping me promote Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age, which is also the last of the series.  That works for the necessary sales pitch because I want to get to the fun.

A while back, Craig wrote a guest post for my blog about how he writes female characters.  This is a question I’ve seen come up a lot in forums with people asking members of one group how they write characters from another.  It’s almost like readers are surprised when a man writes a strong, interesting female character or a woman comes up with a great male character.  Although, more the former than the latter because many female authors admitted that they find heroes and villains easier to write than heroines and villainesses. By the way, ‘villainesses’ is a word that doesn’t get used nearly enough   So, where do I stand on this?

Honestly, I never really thought about it until now.  Since I was a teenager, I focused more on how the characters acted and evolved.  The gender was important only to denote romantic interests, pronouns, clothing, and physical appearance, but the core of my characters was to make them human.  My heroines had to be able to pull their weight on teams and have unique skills that made them stand out.  In my earliest stories, I gave all of my characters roles and the female protagonists did tend to fall into caster and healer roles.  Only recently did I revisit these characters and redesign all of them to flush them out more.  To be honest, the males weren’t any better, but I think most of us have started out with flat characters.

In regards to the women of Windemere specifically, I started with a character that was introduced in the connected D&D game.  Selenia Hamilton isn’t the best example of how I write female characters.  The reason is because she’s a tough, legendary mercenary who now runs a warrior school, but has eliminated her femininity to the point where she’s very masculine.  A lot of authors seem to think this is the way to go for a ‘strong, female’ character.  I considered changing her, but realized she’s one of Windemere’s pioneers in terms of proving women can be strong warriors.  So, it would make sense that she went this route and paved the road for characters like Nyx, Sari, Kira Grasdon, and Dariana. Does this mean Selenia Hamilton is a bad character?  Not in the least, but it does show one way I used to think when it came to creating tough heroines. The thing is that you do have people like this in the real world, so I don’t see why it would be a problem to have fictional versions.  I’ve met plenty of women who decided that the only way to get ahead is to act more like a man. So, here we have me observing different types of women (men too to be fair) and using the variety.  After all, not every character of the same gender has to be the same.

That’s really the biggest thing that’s helped me write female characters in general.  I look around to see how women respond to things, listen to what they would like to see in heroines, and watch for various personality traits.  This really began because of Nyx, who is easily the most powerful hero in Legends of Windemere.  Seriously, who’s going to try and tell her that she’s not?  Nyx started as my wife’s first D&D character and I worked with her to do the transition from game to book.  I had to keep the personality the same while making it deeper and more flexible since she was going to be facing monsters instead of finals.  It wasn’t easy because the game Nyx wasn’t nearly as powerful, but still ran into battle and tended to get knocked out in the first round.  Mages are NOT supposed to rush into hand-to-hand, which is why the book version knows how to fight and has a massive defiance streak.  This experience led to me doing the same thing, but it gets difficult with characters that don’t have a real-life counterpart.  For those, I paid attention to heroines and villainesses from movies, shows, games, books, and whatever else I could find. I was looking at how other creators handled female characters and went on forums to see what people thought.  Usually, I found more complaints than praise, but it helped me figure out the details.

After all of that, I still came up with one important fact that I use for all of my characters.  It doesn’t matter if they’re male or female.  I write about heroes who stand for good and villains who wish to do bad.  They’re motivations, personalities, and abilities might be different, but all of them stand for something more than what’s between their legs.  I want all of my characters to be seen as strong and flawed, which is why I pay more attention to the core than the fleshy coating.  Personally, I think that should be the goal.  Make a strong character of either gender that everyone can enjoy and you’ve done something special.  Thanks again to Craig and hope people check out Warlord of the Forgotten Age to see how Nyx, Sari, and Dariana do against the Baron.  Oh, I guess the guys will be there too.

Author Bio & Social Media

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

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All cover art done by JASON PEDERSEN

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83 Comments

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83 responses to “Warlord of the Forgotten Age

  1. I haven’t read any of the Legends of Windermere… something I must rectify, and soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Warlord of the Forgotten Age — Entertaining Stories | Fantasy Gift Sources: Book Reviews, Article Resources, News

  3. Reblogged this on Legends of Windemere and commented:
    Thanks for helping me with the promotion.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post, and excellent way to approach it. Having read all of the first fourteen books, and most of the fifteenth, I can safely say that your method has created a cast of characters that are believeable and well-rounded, regardless of gender.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love hearing that authors aren’t afraid to tackle POV characters of their opposite gender. I get a lot of compliments on the way I craft male characters, so I appreciate the attention that goes into writing from the other perspective. It frustrates me when purists say women can’t write men and vice versa. Maybe they just aren’t reading the right books.

    Best of luck with book 15 and the series, Charles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t done a head count, but may have more female leads than male at this point.

      Liked by 1 person

    • A possibility that I never considered. I think many also judge characters by the gender of the author. I know a few people who will examine a female character by a male author much closer than the male characters in the same story. The reverse happens too, but there is a strange belief by some that women can write both genders without fail while men are only good at writing men. Hope this is something that goes away over time and we can get to a point where we simply enjoy the characters and stories.

      Noticed the head count thing. I do a lot of ensembles, so it’s hard for me to really choose a lead for a lot of them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • What a lot of folks don’t understand is behind the pen names there are male romance authors and all kinds of goings on. This may tie to your interview post today, but my female characters run quite the gambit. The forceful dwarf woman, the coming of age teenager, the recovering cancer victim, and Lisa my confident but girly girl. There are people like this in real life, so why not fiction.

        Like

      • Exactly. There are all walks of life in reality, but it seems there are personas that people don’t want to see in fiction. This goes for both genders. Pretty sure I’ve said it before, but it really does feel like we have higher standards and judgments for fiction than reality.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oddly, I’m okay with that. Maybe our fiction should be better than reality. The old line is it teaches us that dragons can be slain.

        Like

      • I’m on the fence because I like having flawed characters. If fiction is better than reality then my heroes and villains shouldn’t be prone to so many realistic vices and mistakes. Although, I do think fiction can help show how people can rise above such things and even put certain roles in a positive light. Guess it all depends on how it’s done.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think it may be two different things. Characters with flaws and internal obstacles are wonderful. The plots and overcoming adversity is where fiction can shine.

        Like

      • Do you think people love to see heroes ride or fall more often? I’m trying to figure this out and might do a post during my Nytefall promos.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That would make a great topic. I think at the end of the day they still prefer the hero to emerge. This can be more of a Samwise Gamgee even. They also love to see the arrogant or unprepared get smacked down in the middle somewhere.

        Like

      • Maybe I have too many GoT friends because I’ve become cynical here. There’s a bizarre amount of applause for characters dying these days. Carl on TWD is a good example. When I first saw posts, I thought a big villain had died. Then I saw the name and wondered if he became a big villain. Although, I guess Carl isn’t considered a hero so much as supporting cast?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Two different things. The battles for a throne can take hundreds of years, the original players won’t last that long. It’s that kind of story in some ways. In Carl’s case, he’s a teen. Sometimes he’s a whiner, sometimes he’s rebellious. It’s a good depiction, but fans don’t want to give him time to grow up. Carl would have been a great character for any kind of longevity the show might be developing.

        Like

      • You touch on something here. Readers don’t always have patience for a character to develop. If they start flawed and take a long time to evolve then people turn on them. Luke Callindor actually had this happen because he complained a lot early on. He got better, but I kept him a worrier at times and that caused people to think he was a ‘weak’ hero. It’s like they expect him to rise to Captain America levels by the end of the first book.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Heck, if you got a whole book you’re lucky. Some want that hero on stage in the second chapter. That’s why heroic mentors have become so popular. They fill that niche until the true hero is ready.

        Like

      • Second chapter? I thought it was page one, line one, word one. 😜

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m laughing inside, because I know the first words of Yak Guy.

        Like

      • “Throbbing pain in my head.”

        Like

      • That would work. Reminds me of Monday morning.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Not quite like that, but it could have been a monday.

        Like

  6. Nicely done, you two. I love reading your back and forth comments. Best wishes, Charles. Thanks for hosting, Craig.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. An excellent post. I think Charles hit the nail on the head when he said that any character, male or female, needs to be developed on a deeper level.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I look for character development whether male or female, which is what makes the character click for me. As an example, I follow a (currently) 9-book series written from a female POV by a male author. It’s interesting that the author chose to use initials rather than his name, probably because he is a male author writing a first person POV female. He does it extremely well. I think I was on book 3 before I realized the author was male.

    By contrast, I remember reading a book many years ago by a NYT bestselling author in which he alternated chapters and POV (male and female). In my opinion the guy didn’t handle writing the female POV well at all. In fact, I kind of stopped reading him after that.

    For my own writing I normally have 1 male lead and 1 female lead per book with a variety of secondary characters. I try to stay true to what makes them tick, and probably think more along those lines rather than male/female. There are times however, when I remind myself that men normally act/talk a certain way in certain situations and have to adjust my thinking accordingly.

    Great post and topic for discussion. And a standing ovation to Charles for finishing such an involved series!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You and Staci made a similar comment. You guys tend to have the romance element, so you need one of each. Would you ever take on a male protagonist without the romance element in there somewhere? Just curious is all.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Most definitely. My next release is pretty much a big fat 0 on the romance score, but I still have male and female leads. The two books that follow will likely keep the same pattern.

        I would have no problem sticking with a male main character (only), but my genre seems to work better with both.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I get that. Even my male oriented tales have a bit of female influence. Heck, even Clovis found Aunt Justine.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I wonder if more male authors are going to do the initial and pen name thing. It used to be more common with female authors, but I’m seeing the pendulum swing in the opposite direction for some reason.

      This comment also leaves me wondering if males are pigeonholed more often than females. Whenever this topic comes up, I see people talk about how versatile a heroine can be while pointing out that the male counterpoints aren’t acting ‘manly’. Especially when the characters have to show emotions. I know I get a lot of complaints for having my male heroes cry or fall to fear. That’s almost a death sentence for them while the women can go there, recover, and never lose a step with the audience. In fact, I find myself more comfortable being versatile with characters like Nyx and Sari while I’m more anxious when I have Luke or Timoran do anything that isn’t stereotypically ‘manly’.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I do think a lot of male authors who write female characters rely on initials for their names. Women authors used to do that when writing thrillers (some still do) but I think that audience has opened up more to female authors.

        I think men are harder on male characters for behaving a certain way. Most women I know have no problem with a male character experiencing fear or crying. We look at that as the character being more human. Of course, some female readers only like alpha males. Personally, I like betas every bit as well, if not better at times. Male readers, however, may have a different opinion with a man who behaves that way.

        By the same token, I think female readers are harder on female characters, not believing a woman would act a certain way—regardless if the writer is male or female. There is a trend for uber macho kick-butt heroines right now, but a woman can be strong in other ways. I’ve read a few books where the heroine was so kick-butt it turned me off. I guess it comes down to personal preference.

        Of course, it might also be that I’m an older reader and grew up in an era where a woman’s strength wasn’t measured in daring-do or karate chops, LOL!

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s days like this that convince me to not take social media that seriously. I’ve gotten much more action on two blogs today than I have on Facebook for a month. They’ve been good conversations too. Said the guy who puts his initials on his covers.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Someone once suggested years ago to put my wife’s name on my manuscript and use her photo. This was before I went self-publishing too. The reason was that there is a bigger interest in female authors than male authors especially fantasy.

        Funny thing is I’ve had the opposite with male characters. There are guys who criticize, but I’ve had more women be harder on the males and more men tear apart the females. Never figured out the alpha/beta thing to realize when I’m doing it.

        Is it wrong that I hate the macho heroine concept? Seems overdone and archaic eve on males. Especially when they never get hit or fail. That perfect hero thing is so 80’s. I say as I edit a story with an unstoppable male protagonist. At least he’s flawed.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Hey, undead is a big flaw. I don’t care for the macho females either. I admit they exist to a degree in the real world, but I choose not to read about them. If they were supporting characters or something, fine. Besides, women can do the whole mean girls thing so well, and it has better impact.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Undead is a flaw, but Dawn Fangs are kind of in the middle. Hence their issues with mortals and vampires. I never got into the mean girls thing. For some reason, I could never wrap my head around that mentality. I admit I haven’t hit a series where I had one yet.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I need to study the whole mean thing and how some pull it off. Some characters are so despicable and they never fire a shot in anger. Umbridge is universally more hated than Voldemort.

        Liked by 1 person

      • With her, I think it’s that she was cruel to beloved characters. Voldemort was super villain evil with world conquest. Umbridge was more social and bullying evil. People have dealt with her type more than Voldemort in real life.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Makes her easier to relate to I suppose.

        Liked by 1 person

      • True. That and it helps readers relate to her victims.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Um, I do the whole initials thing and it has nothing to do with that. It was a weak attempt to draw a line between my paycheck job and my writing career.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Never thought of that, so I wonder how common that is. I know I’ve talked to a few male authors that bring up initials creating an androgynous facade. Fails with an author photo though.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I just accepted the idea that if they wanted to look, they would find me. The initial thing was to at least allow the first search engine to find the correct version of me.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s what I was told in regards to a pen name. No reason to try since my social media footprint would reveal me even back then.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Flawed characters are my favorite type, Charles. And it seems weird that female authors would be more popular in the fantasy genre. I admit it’s been a long time since I steadily read fantasy, but my books were those written by male authors.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Maybe I misspoke. Female fantasy authors are becoming a ‘new thing’ ever since J.K. Rowling. Prior to that you had, Ursula Le Guin, Anne McCaffrey, and Mercedes Lackey. Those were big, but not at the same fame level as your Brooks, Tolkien, and male fantasy authors of the time. Now, female authors are getting more attention outside of the genre like their male counterparts.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Not sure where I’m replying in the thread, but you write both male and female characters, Craig. In the case of the series I follow the author is male sticking solely to female characters. I think that’s why he chose to go with initials….although his fans are well aware of his gender.

        And I understand the separation from the writer and the paycheck job!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Looks like you responded to me here. An interesting tactic by that author. Why do you think a male author would do that with an all-female cast story? I’m stumped.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Hey, first person POV of a teenage girl was an experiment. I think everyone should at least try something similar. I learned a lot from it.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. You really had two awesome blog posts in the same day, great for generating discussion. I think with Facebook, people tend to do a quick like or jot a few words, but the platform too fast-food for anything of substance.

    I hate Facebook.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Reblogged this on Jan Hawke INKorporated and commented:
    Excellent article on guys writing female and gals writing male characters – something that’s pretty hard to pull off in the fantasy worlds sometimes!\
    Original is on C.S.Boyack’s Entertaining Stories blog and written by Legends of Windermere author, Charles Yallowtowitz

    Liked by 1 person

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