I frequently read a lot of books, and I can spot shitty writing from the description and the first few pages.
This guy posts on a forum explaining that he can't figure out how to make a female character exist as a main character with a male character as equally important but they aren't Romantically involved. So you want a female character to be a shared main character (protagonist) with a male character but not have them be a romantic interest?
"You know, I don't have a romantic interest in the cashier at Walmart, but neither of us are particularity fun to read about either."
Simple: cut the fat, or make them siblings/related.
If you aren't going to have a romantic relationship, sexual tension, or familial dispute, why have opposed genders as main characters? Just focus on one and not have two opposed gender main characters. Make one a side character that shows up from time to time and do something and leave. Focus instead on one protagonist, and not two. Because when writing, if you aren't going to have conflict then why introduce the potential for it and leave the reader hanging? You'll just end up with, "why does this other character exist if not to create plot/tension/drama?" If a character isn't a protagonist (solving drama/tension) or an antagonist (causing drama/tension), then they aren't a main character and are instead a side character.
This problem stems from a complete misunderstanding of the roles characters play in stories. If you aren't going to go anywhere with something, don't introduce it.
Some feminists had replied to this writer, and were are complaining about sexism and real women and how not all women are sexualized...blarg, no shit. But stories and characters aren't real people. Characters exist in a story to do something or they shouldn't be there in the first place. Weed out your useless characters and your story will be stronger. Merge characters if you have to. And don't forget that each character needs a role, but not every role needs its own character. Characters can be multidimensional, just like real people, just don't make them all over the place crazy.
That's my point in a nutshell. If you can't come up with a reason for something to happen or exist in a story, why did you need it in the first place?
ps: unless you're Terry Goodkind, please stop making useless characters. if you are Terry Goodkind, please stop making useless redundant characters....
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