Invincible Characters in Urban Fantasy
Have you noticed the trend of invincible women characters in urban fantasy? In the last book I read, the character was beaten up, thrown off a cliff, and fatally stabbed (some details changed to protect the guilty). Yet, each time, no matter how bad the injuries, she survived because she had a miraculous–and very convenient–form of healing magic. And each time I pick up a new book, it seems like the author tries to outdo everyone else by coming up with new forms of bodily harm, from which the character easily recovers to go merrily onto the next beating.
I think I get why the healing magic is there in the first place. When I did a Civil War thriller, one of the problems I ran into was that women are simply not as physically strong as men. There may be some exceptions–I certainly saw some men do very poorly on the physical training test in the army. But from the story-telling perspective, it can be very challenging to come up with action scenes that are realistic to the gender. I remember trying to figure out how this woman was going to escape from a locked room that was guarded by two bad guys. Given the frigid setting and things to come, she couldn’t get hurt, so I had to really think through how the scene could be worked.
It would have been easier giving her healing magic and letting her blow through the scene. Except.
No actual danger.
Characters shouldn’t be invincible. It really takes the fun out of the story.