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The Mighty Intisar Khanani –Plus a Prize!

Some writers get all the luck. Intisar Khanani has the luck of being given a magical name! Her name (pronounced just as it looks) is perfect for a fantasy writer. Intisar loves writing fantasy books with strong female leads. She had me at her name. Today she’s going to talk about mighty girls and I’m so here for this post!

You can read more about Intisar and her work here:

Look below this post for a prize!


Photo of Intisar

Writing Mighty Girls

Intisar Khanani

When I was a young teen, it was almost impossible to find stories in my chosen genre—fantasy—with strong female leads. When I stumbled across Tamora Pierce’s Alanna books, and Robin McKinley’s Damar books, it was like I had finally found stories that called to me. These were girls who stood up and fought for themselves, their people, and those they loved. I was over the moon, and continued to eat up stories of mighty girls as the years passed. I’m forty now, and YA fantasy is still my bread and jam: what I always come back to, and what I write.

But my conception of what makes a girl mighty has developed over the years, and in many ways departed from where it began. The idea of a girl being mighty because she excels in a man’s world by doing what a man would, only better, is one conception of mighty, and frankly, it’s needed. Absolutely women can kick butt as well as men, in pretty much any given sphere, whether it’s politics or sorcery or sword fighting (admittedly, if she’s of a smaller stature, the type of sword and her technique will differ).

The trouble is that we’re still playing by the male perspective; creating a valuation of “mighty” as excelling in a male-gendered conception of power. In such a world, being kind or compassionate or merciful are considered feminine and weak. And that does all of us a disservice, especially our young people. Why can’t you save the world, or yourself, through compassion? Through non-violent resistance and a nuanced understanding of mercy, rather than by the sword? Can’t both be considered mighty?

In my novel, Thorn, I have a young girl who must face both betrayal and a terrifyingly capable magical enemy without herself turning into a ninja or a sorceress. Instead, she must lean into her own personal strengths, and learn to carry the day through her courage, kindness, and intelligence. She is mighty, but not in the typical sense. And her story, I hope, will speak to all of us who can’t hope to win by turning into something we aren’t already.

As you go forward in your writing adventures, I urge you to consider writing mighty girls who are mighty in who they are—whatever that means for that particular character—gaining power and the ability to influence their story through the inherent might in being true to one’s best self. This is how we win each day, this is how we build better lives, this is how we change the world.

Let’s get writing!


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For other links to Intisar’s Thorne and other books start here:



One lucky winner will get some website help from Dani Duck. I will review your current website and give you tips to make your site better. If you don’t have a website I’ll help you in setting one up! This includes a 1 hour zoom/email chat to set things up.*

To enter:

Comment below: Let Intisar know about your favorite fictional (or non-fictional) mighty girls! Or comment on anything she’s written about in this post.

Also let me know that you want this prize!


*Prize must be claimed within 30 days of it’s announcement and used within 6 months.



  • Kelly Pope Adamson

    The Alanna books were my all time favorite when I was younger! Every few years I still pull them out and reread them because they are just so great!

  • Linda Hofke

    Wonderful post.

    Compassion and kindness should never been seen as weak.
    “This is how we win each day, this is how we build better lives, this is how we change the world.” Perfect ending sentence to this post.

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