In the midst of writing The Slaves of the Horned God I realized something about the story, something which the fantasy genre has suffered from in the past. All of the characters shared at least one aspect in quality: their reproductive organs.
Yes, it appeared outside of the main characters every character was male. It wasn’t planned that way, it just seemed to happen. Unfortunately my mind had somehow concocted a lazy “male, unless required otherwise” for all the new characters. This made the world seem to have the lopsided gender ratio of The Hobbit. Indeed it would seem that the novel would fail the Bechdel Test quite handily.
Female characters often get a bit of a raw deal in a lot of fiction. One of the biggest issues is them having a lack of agency, and ending up being merely an objective, obstacle or reward for the hero.
So I took a new approach, and changed the internal rule to be “only male if absolutely required to be.”, which resulted in some characters changing genders. It also resulted in one of the characters changing from heterosexual to homosexual, so we can consider that a double win for diversity.
(Oh and I do have a female character who is an oracle, but in my defense – she’s not blind…)