Friday, October 8, 2010

Fat Heroines & NaNoWriMo

I am working towards committing to do NaNoWriMo this year - my first time. (Don't know NaNoWriMo? It stands for National Novel Writing Month. You challenge yourself to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Not GOOD words, necessarily - no room for the inner censor, here. Just writing, because "someday" will never come. You have to write today. See for details.)

I was feeling frozen in terms of not having an idea yet. Then I started thinking about a fat heroine. I tend towards writing YA fantasy fiction, so this would be a fat adolescent girl in a Medieval/Renaissance type fantasy world. I still struggle with imagining what a fat heroine would look like. After all, she's not going to be the same as a thin heroine, like all the role models in the genre. I started to think about not just what would she be good at, but what would she be BETTER at because she's fat?

Here's my list so far:
  • Strength - we fatties are stronger than people think, because we are working with resistance from the moment we jump out of bed.
  • Swimming - natural buoyancy, anyone?
  • Compassion for the underdog - I really feel my 'outcast' status as a fatty and the torment and abuse I've taken because of it has made me more compassionate to all different types of diversity and inclusion and things that cause people to get treated poorly (from culture and ethnicity to less-discussed ones like fatness itself, height, disability, etc.). My heroine is likely the same way. Maybe she finds her friends in unlikely places because she can see through the thing they get rejected for and see the whole person.
  • Horseback riding - not necessarily good at this specifically because she's fat, but what if because she's fat she fell in love with horseback riding, because the horse was the great equalizer? On a horse, she could run as fast, jump as high as all her friends and siblings, and not feel athletically at a disadvantage. And so she spent tons of time on her horse and grew to really love it.
  • Surviving in the cold / surviving in harsh winters, lack of food, etc. - let's face it, she has more insulation and more stores of energy if there's a famine.
There have got to be more. Let's think creatively. In what ways is being fat potentially an ADVANTAGE to a fantasy heroine? (Or more generally in life...?)


  1. I <3 NaNoWriMo! I've done it for the past three years and am getting excited for it this year. Even though I have no idea at all. None. I guess we'll see what happens. Good luck on yours! Your heroine sounds great!

  2. Oooo I'm totally casting around for my NaNo idea for this year too!! :D I love your list and would love to read some YA fantasy with a strong fat woman lead!! Let's see if I can think of other things being fat might be good at:

    ~Rocking a medieval/Renaissance gown
    ~Having witty come-backs (Okay, this hasn't been the case in my own life but some people, after being down-trodden, fight back with words in a brilliant way!)
    ~Pushing open a door. More body mass equals tougher to lock a persistent fatty out! (or IN!)
    ~Resisting spells geared towards weaker/smaller opponents
    ~Harder to blow over with any sort of wind magics
    ~If she's strong in the upper body then her magics dependent on wand movements or arms in any way could benefit
    ~Have a strong, carrying voice to belt out incantations...or dire threats! ;)

    Hope any of those help and huzzah for a fat heroine! :D

  3. I am going NaNo again this year. My user name is scarletwoman is you want to friend me over there.