I've always heard that you should write what you know. I'm not entirely certain how that translated to writing a fantasy novel, but it was something that I kept in mind when writing character's reactions in certain scenes. One big thing that I noticed about half-way through NaNoWriMo was that my story was populated with lots of women. Lots of them...especially when you contrast with other books within the fantasy genre that tend to be very male dominated.
I have female protagonists and antagonists. There are female warriors, healers, mages, rulers, mentors...you name it, my universe has it. And they're not fighting for their rights as women, either. I didn't purposely go about creating a world where men and women respected each other in this way, it just happened. I suppose I created an idealistic world.
Including all of these females characters was a way of playing to my strengths. I am a woman. I know women. It only makes sense that I populate my story with them. I have men in the story. Rough estimate is about half of my characters are men. Isn't that more realistic? Half the people in the world are women, after all, and I don't think that's a recent occurrence.
It makes me wonder if I accidentally wrote feminist literature. If that means there's an audience for my writing, that's fine. I didn't set about to write for any particular audience. (As a side note, I might should warn you that the next story is a bit more "classic" in that it involves a male antagonist and protagonist.) I write what I know, and what pops into my head.
One challenge with my NaNoWriMo novel was the fact that I had a female warrior and a male healer. I wanted to avoid the cliche of the male character becoming a damsel in distress. I preferred to have them working together, and occasionally saving each other. Isn't that closer to real life, anyways? I've seen enough couples where the woman can be strong without emasculating the man, and the man doesn't have to put the woman "in her place" to be manly.
Did I write feminist literature? I'm not sure. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the topic!
Want to read more about my 2014 NaNoWriMo project?
NaNoWriMo Editing Plans
What I Did To Silence My Inner Editor
NaNo Is Over. Now What?