Lila Needs More Books With These Things In Them!

So I was contemplating books the other day (as per usual, honestly), and I got to thinking, “What are some things that I wish I saw ore of in books?” And I figured, I may as well create a blog post on said topic just in case some author stumbles upon my blog and decides to grant my wishes (it could happen!). So I’ll not dilly-dally with intros any longer! Without any further ado, here are things I wish I saw more of in literature…

1. Retellings of More Obscure Stories/Folklore/Fairytales/Myths from around The World…

I’m not against retellings. ReallyI’m not. It’s just that I feel like we see so many retellings of the same handful of western European fairytales over and over and over again! I mean, when was the last time you saw something other than a retelling of Beauty and the Beast or Cinderella? Probably a while, right? Yeah, me too. You know what I’d love to see, though? Retellings of stories/folklore/myths/fairytales that are a) more obscure and/or b) from around the world. I’d love to see more retellings of things like The Firebird or Anansi or Sindbad or Asian, African, Polynesian, Middle Eastern, or Latin American mythology!

2. Different Kinds of Strong Female Leads

You know the Strong Female Lead™, right? You know the one–she’s pretty and sassy and strong and determined and basically flawless save for a ridiculous “quirky flaw” like having oddly colored eyes? Yeah. I’m talking about her. See, the thing is, I’m tired of seeing this archetype. Physical strength isn’t the only kind of strength, after all, and there is such a thing as quiet confidence. The thing is, when we hold this archetype up as the ultimate pinnacle of womanhood, it’s just as harmful as when we hold up the “mother/housekeeper” archetype up as the pinnacle of womanhood. Why? Because it tells girls who don’t fit that exact mold that they’re not worthwhile. But anyhow, I’m just gonna pull myself back from the edge of that tangent! My point is, I’d like to start seeing female characters showing different kinds of strength. Show me a girl who’s shy, but brave! Or one who’s intelligent, but maybe not quite the most confident. Show me human beings in all of their complexity. Because that’s what women are.

3. Diverse Fantasies

This point is kinda similar to #1, but I’d really love to see fantasies that are diverse. And not just racially, but diverse in terms of sexuality and gender, able-bodiedness, mental health, and socioeconomic status, among other factors! For me, as someone who is diverse, and as someone who lives in one of the most diverse, integrated areas in the US, the more diverse a story is, the more believable it is. I grew up constantly interacting with people who were different from me. In many ways, I don’t know what it’s like to live in a homogeneous world, that’s just never been my life. So when fantasies present an all/majority white, straight, cisgender, able-bodied, neaurotypical,wealthy, patriarchal world, it’s definitely weird to me! I want people to be able to envision themselves as the hero/heroine of a story, even if they’re not the “default”. 

4. Low SES Protagonists

Good representation of poverty is something that is severely lacking in media and it massively contributes to the current stigmatization of poverty. As someone who is low income, I’ve only seen myself represented in literature once and even then, it was inferred representation–meaning the words “poor” or “low income” were never explicitly stated. I’ve faced a lot of discrimination based on class and I think if we had better representation to show how poverty works and who low income folks are that would go a great way towards changing that prejudice.

5. Pirate Fantasies Done Right

So this is a fun, less serious one! I love a good swashbuckling pirate story, but apparently authors don’t because I rarely see them on the market, despite the demand! What’s wrong with pirates, authors?! What–do you just not like them?!! JUSTICE AND REPRESENTATION FOR PIRATES CAUSE THEY’RE PEOPLE TOO!!!

So that’ it for now! I hope you enjoyed this list and definitely tell me in the comments–what are things you wish you saw more of in literature? Do we agree on any of them?

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Lila is a 25-year-old college student studying physics and a lover of literature. When she's not busy reading or saving the world through science, Lila can be found singing jazz and blues and obsessing over hedgehogs (a.k.a. the cutest animals in the multiverse!)

8 thoughts on “Lila Needs More Books With These Things In Them!

  1. It could happen eh? It did! Author here, stumbling over your blog by absolute chance (or possibly because you tagged ‘books’ 🙂

    The question is, am I the fairy-godmother?

    I can’t help with item 1 because I’m not sure I could do that genre justice. Sorry 😦

    I’ll take your feedback on item 2 onboard. My ladies are probably part way there. I’ve had mixed critique from other writers about my female leads not ticking all the stereotypical boxes. Thinking like you, I like to portray real women, weaknesses and all! The closest I currently have to what you’re asking for here is Melissa in The Last Train.

    I’ve never written fantasy, so I’d struggle with item 3, but never say never. I’ve read some, and that’s a good starting point. I’ll need to read quite a few more though. Maybe one day! 😉

    I can also keep item 4 in mind and make more effort to truly represent low SES women. Melissa (mentioned above) falls into this category to some extent, but it’s implied rather than mentioned. I have another character who starts out much closer to this, Lisa in Lightning Attraction: Beyond the Storm, but circumstances result in her having a (sort of) lucky break. It’s the third book in a trilogy, but I wrote all three to also work as standalone novels if readers wanted to skip one or two (Lisa appears in the first two, but is only central in the third).

    Like item 1, I’m not sure I could do pirates justice, same as vampires and billionaires, I’m yet to meet any, but when I do, I’ll study them closely and see what I can do!

    So, I’m not quite the fairy-godmother I’d like to be, but 2 out of 5 isn’t bad for such a wide selection of wishes!! I promise to make more effort on your second and fourth wishes going forward because they fit in with my genre, and I’m sure you are not alone in your search for real women who truly represent reality.

    I’m pleased to have stumbled across this post because I’ve been saying for a while now, I write for readers, not writers who think their way is best—that’s possibly why we have far too many of those cloned perfect women! I’ll follow your blog so that I can watch out for more wishes in the future.

    Tess 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. aw, thank you for this, tess! 2/5 isn’t bad, it’s a great start and out of all of my wishes, i think #2 and #4 mean the most to me, as i believe they would help most readers! i’ll definitely have to give your books a look!

      Like

  2. Yesss I definitely want to see more obscure retellings. Even when it comes to the European fairytales they almost always stick to the same ones! There are so many rich fairytales, folktales, myths, legends etc from around the world that would make AMAZING retellings so what you doing authors.
    Definitely agree with you on the others as well! Basically I to need all of these 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. hey michelle! i think it’s so funny that authors seem to always “play it safe” by using the same handful of fairytales, because there’s (quite literally) a huge world of folklore out there! in particular, i’d love to see more african folklore, like stories involving anansi! are there any particular stories you’re interested in seeing retellings of that haven’t been used yet?

      Liked by 1 person

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