Furry Writers' Guild Forum

Female Protagonists

What furry novels out there star female protagonists? The only one that comes to mind is Otters in Space. But then, I’m not well-versed in furry lit.

Shameless pug… I mean, plug: Otters In Space 2! It has two female leads!

Also, Tim Susman’s novel Common and Precious – the perspective is split between an anthro tigress on an ice world and her father. Indigo Rain by Watts Martin features a female anthro raccoon. Ratha’s Creature by Clare Bell (based on what I’ve read so far) is about a female feral feline alien. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH is about Mrs. Frisby. Ursula Vernon’s Digger series is graphic novels, but it stars a female wombat. I haven’t read it, but it sounds like M.C.A. Hogarth’s Flight of the Godkin Griffin has a female lead.

Thank you so much! I’m reviewing a furry novel atm that has a female protagonist and I realized how rare that is, especially since the novel didn’t make a big deal out of it. She’s a great character; I like her. Anyways, I needed to know if female protagonists were actually as uncommon as I thought they were, and I feel like the answer to that is yes? How do you feel?

A few weeks back I noticed a relevant quote in the following article:


“Despite what can seem like a profusion of heroines in kids’ books, girls are still underrepresented in children’s literature. A 2011 study of 6,000 children’s books published between 1900 and 2000 showed that only 31 percent had female central characters. While the disparity has declined in recent years, it persists—particularly, and interestingly, among animal characters.”

And when I was trying to think of furry books with female protagonists just now, I found it surprisingly difficult. So, it does seem like female protagonists in furry may be kind of uncommon.

Well, females in the fandom are in the minority, and male writers have to tread carefully when writing female POV.

I’ve noticed I tend to default to writing guys, partly because I often write in historical military settings where the chaps are the ones doing the interesting stuff. I also quite often write gay males in a cynical attempt to appeal to the demographic…

Definitely look at MCA Hogarth (the ‘Pelted’ universe). I believe there’s a whole series about a female, furry starship captain.

Novella not novel, but I think Poetigresss’s ‘Five Fortunes’ tale has a female protagonist?

Good luck!

Oddly enough I loved Common and Precious and Digger is one of my favorite things ever, yet both I failed to mention in our conversations. Guess that’s what you get for asking me while I’m working =p

Yes, it does. At just over 40K, some might consider it a short novel, though it’s being published as a novella. Depends on where you draw the line, I guess. (And, while By Sword and Star technically has a male protagonist, I like to think it also does well in representing female characters too.)

I agree that it’s basically a demographic issue – with the majority of furry writers being male, they’re going to be writing from their experiences and tastes, same as any of us do, and the potential pitfalls of writing across gender can be enough to make a writer want to stay where s/he’s more comfortable. Add to that, that with the majority of the fandom (and thus readers/buyers) being male, there just isn’t all that much incentive to write female protagonists for a furry audience anyway.

How do I feel about it? Well, disappointed, of course, and often like it’s just one more way I’m being subtly (or not-so-subtly) told that the furry fandom as a whole doesn’t care about its female members (unless maybe, of course, they’re drawing or writing exactly to suit the majority’s taste). I tend to get a bit ruffled these days when I hear people patting themselves on the back about how diverse and inclusive and welcoming the furry fandom is, when in reality it’s no better than mainstream society, just with different in-groups and out-groups. But that’s probably a separate thread. :slight_smile:

As I know I’ve mentioned before in one thread or another, “Huntress” became something I’m truly proud of because I did write it for myself, writing the kind of story I want to tell and that, as a woman in the fandom, I feel I’m especially suited to tell, instead of trying to write to someone else’s sort of experience. I’m glad to see more female writers publishing in the fandom now than there were about 15 years ago (or at least it seems like there are), but of course I’d like to see more.

Also, as an aside, you said “furry novels” – I don’t know if you’re looking specifically for novels coming out of the fandom, or if you just mean “furry” as in “anthropomorphic.” If you’re looking just for fandom-based works, keep in mind that Mrs. Frisby and the Ratha books were published mainstream. (Ratha’s not an alien, BTW, just a prehistoric big cat.) :slight_smile:

I also wonder if there might be a higher percentage of female leads in furry short stories than in novels, because it’s easier to experiment with different points of view in a shorter form, and maybe because concerns (conscious or unconscious) about whether a book’s going to sell wouldn’t come into play so much with a magazine or an anthology as much as with a novel. Just another thought to throw into the mix.

Unfortunately a lot of readers are so used to female leads that act like men that when a female lead acts like a female, they think it’s some kind of trope.

Good point.

My Five Fortunes novella also has a female protagonist. So, that’s at least 2/5ths of Five Fortunes.

And, really? Just prehistoric? That’s… well… It makes what I’ve been reading make more sense, I guess. I just really wanted it to be sci-fi with an alien planet.

Yep, just prehistoric, as far as I know. It sounds like she did a fair amount of research on the species involved – I know she’s had some sketches in her FA gallery of skull studies and so on, of what extinct species the various creatures are based on.

Ones that haven’t been mentioned thusfar:

Sixes Wild by Tempe O’Kun
Handcuffs & Lace has a female protagonist (plug plug).
Fangs of Ka’ath by Paul Kidd (I also think Whisper of Wings has a female protagonist, but I am not 100% certain)
Tales of Perissa (vol 1 and 2) are two short story collections about the same character, who is female.
A friend of mine, Robert Baird, has a novel on Sofurry that’s from a female perspective. I also think that there are a few on FA, but I am not absolutely certain.
I think most of M C A Hogarth’s books (short story collections too) involve female protagonists.
Kyell is working on a lesbian mystery novella so that’s clearly going to have female protagonists.
Do comics count? I know Peachy Keen is about two females, and Kadath is working on a 42 page comic that’s focusing on a female lead.

If we were counting short stories, I could name quite a number. Uh, most of my short stories are from female POVs.

With mine, that’s apparently 3/5ths!

(A lot of my stories have female protagonists, actually; Indigo Rain has one, as does the novelette “A Day With No Tide,” that’ll theoretically be in the next New Fables.)

It depends on how you define interesting :wink: Women had plenty to do during war efforts (oh dear…my Feminist is crawling forward)… but if you’re talking about writing Battles, yes. I do like the way Naomi Novik snuck strong female dragon captains into her historical/fantasy novels. "This breed of dragon will only submit to a female captain.’ – done. :smiley:

It all comes down to what a writer is comfortable with. I write whatever the character comes to me as, and I write them first as a character, then as a gender. My MC in Summer King is male. I couldn’t force him to be anything else. I’m certainly glad I have a male editor so he can tell me things like, “He’s being too polite/submissive/whatever…” Very helpful (although the character being too polite is probably a Me problem, not necessarily a Female problem :smiley: ). A vision for a future story has a female MC…I might lose younger male readers, but I can’t force her to be anything else.

Whaddayagonnado? As far as stories in the fandom… O_O I’m new, so I can’t help there. I just have to throw my two cents in when it comes to gender. I find the whole problem fascinating.

Anyway. I ramble. Need coffee.

Coming late to the party; let me see what I can think of…

The main protagonist of the Sholan Alliance books by Lisanne Norman is female (at least early on; it later branches out to following multiple characters).
Most of the main characters of the Chanur novels by C.J. Cherryh are female.
All four of Nathan Cowan’s Fox Force novels have female protagonists.
The Keeper’s Chronicles series by Tanya Huff has a female lead (though it’s only marginally furry; her familiar is a talking cat)
A couple of more obscure out-of-print novels with female leads are Godsfire by Cynthia Felice, and Forest of the Night by Marti Steussy.
The latter is not to be confused with the S. Andrew Swann novel by almost the same title, but come to think of it, two of the sequels to that book have female leads.

I should have known the S. Andrew Swann ones! Two of his novels are sitting on my shelf (guiltily, the two with Nohar as a protagonist >.>)

This has been bothering me for a LONG time and I have bit my tongue, but I can’t any longer. I find the above passage insulting. But instead of posting the unhappy message that I’ve composed, I would like to offer you the opportunity to explain yourself, because perhaps I am misunderstanding.

Would you mind expanding upon this passage?

I’m not sure exactly which part of the passage you mean. I don’t think I could expand on the first paragraph, as it’s pretty self-explanatory, so I’m assuming you mean the second? (Also, given that it’s been over two months since I said that, is there some other reason this just became an issue? Not that there’s a time limit on discussions, but “I can’t any longer” tends to imply that something else recent is at work.)

Kyell Gold’s The Silver Circle has a female (human) protagonist, but beyond that I can’t think of many others.
(Axinstone has 1 PoV character :wink: )

As a comment regarding the writers’ demographic issue (male writers writing male protagonists etc), I would have to disagree.
My case in point is the LGBT writing genre as a whole.
I was a guest speaker at Australia’s first LGBT Writing Festival a couple of weeks ago, and one thing that is very apparent is that the majority of M/M writers are actually middle aged straight women. Just because the demographic skews towards a certain gender and/or sexuality does not necessarily mean that the fiction protagonists will skew towards that same gender/sexuality.

One thing I will also point out is that the way this conversation has gone so far it’s almost as though it’s being placed as an issue amongst furry writing only. It really isn’t. It’s a sad state of affairs, but a large proportion of protagonists are male. The balance does seem to be being addressed, but it’s not there yet. Female leads are becoming more common in literature (as well as in film outside of rom-coms), which can only be healthy for the publishing industry as a whole.

I’d heard that about M/M writers (particularly erotica writers), but what’s true for the larger romance/erotica world isn’t necessarily the same in the fandom. In this case, the fandom and its writers skew male, particularly gay/bisexual male, and the writing appears to follow suit. I’m not saying there isn’t cross-gender and cross-orientation writing, but based on what I see, I don’t think it’s as prevalent in furry as it is in other genres and circles.

And no, the issue of female representation is certainly not strictly or uniquely a furry problem, but the original post was talking about female protags from furry writers, so that’s where the conversation has focused. :slight_smile: