Sorry for long delay! I meant to post something last week, but I forgot all about it. To make up for that, here's some insight about what to expect in my upcoming novel.
When people talk about diversity in some stories, women tend to be one of the categories to be mentioned. However, I do not intend to include any women among the primary cast this time. So will there be no women? Not at all. In fact, there are a few that the characters will meet and they will be important in some way or another (and none are damsels in distress), especially as I set them up to be major later. There is one character I'm holding off on introducing until later but you may be surprised to see how much she is involved in the first story when I do reveal her.
So why won't there be any among the main cast this time? One major reason is I'm personally tired of seeing romances and so no characters will be romantically involved with anyone they meet on this first quest. The easiest way is to simply not include women as part of the main cast. Second, I have some adventures planned specifically for the feminine characters and I want to save those for my second and third novels after I use this first story to set everything up (I'm even holding back the Legends that relate to them until then). Third, I want to focus on world building for the first story instead of distractions. Fifth and perhaps the greatest reason, they just don't fit into my story to be part of the adventuring party this time. Instead, for their greatest impact and glimpse into cultures, they need to be among those met along the way.
The essential point I want people to consider is to let the artist or storyteller convey the story as it comes to him or her. Sometimes we can be too demanding to see "equality" that we consider them essential to a good story. That isn't the case. While they can bring about interesting topics, sometimes we neglect that diversity is a relative term and that there is plenty just within the white-male stereotype as we can see in Lord of the Rings. On the other hand, perhaps these men aren't white and people will just imagine them that way based off stereotypes.