I came to an interesting realization the other day, as I was thinking about possible blog topics and my current body of works in progress. I have been working on an awful lot of female-based things lately. As I was setting up my tags for this post, even, I noticed the female characters tag and realized that even in this blog, I’ve been talking a lot about female characters. My last few novels have all featured female characters and many of them barely had any males at all. There is an exception: the novel with Calliana, she was the only female character other than the queen, but it did strike me as curious that so much of writing is unwittingly leaning female.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Being female myself, I know that a female perspective is one I can manage well since it is my own. Growing up, I always took to shows or movies or books based on whether or not I felt the female characters were strong or interesting enough. If they didn’t have a female character I felt met the standards, then I’d mostly dismiss it. Strong female characters have always been important to me, and I hope to bring several new examples of them to the table through my work. Not only strong, but also realistic, diverse, and relateable. I pride myself in keeping my characters very real, very rooted in a sort of humanity despite most of them being dropped into fantastical worlds filled with mystery and magic.
I also believe that it’s important to be diverse, and to not fall into a trap of being known for mostly one thing. I know I can write male perspective: most of my work up until recently tended to be a male perspective. I’m feeling my roleplaying starting to lean toward male characters again, after I just about nearly had all female, so perhaps these thing are cyclical. I’ve decided that May’s novel should absolutely feature a male lead character, and I should return to editing the novel, which will likely either have a male main perspective, or a split between two males and a female.
Do any of you out there find it easier to write from one gender or the other? Or do you feel that it’s more about that character themselves, rather than his or her gender? I think I have the benefit of having been raised by my father, with two brothers, on a farm, so my upbringing was very masculine, though I have my moments of being an extreme girly-girl, too. I remember trying Live Action Role Playing in college and wanting to be a male character (thus prompting me to wear a sign that read: “Is male. Please ignore boobs”). I think it’s important for a writer to be able to realistically portray gender from a wide variety of perspectives, so I wonder when I realize that my trend has been leaning a certain way. Time to shake it up a bit! Best not to fall into a rut, although, really, it’s probably just coincidence more than anything.
Time to go work on something with a badass male character, methinks.