Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Girl Power

For whatever reason, I have not been in the habit of writing stories or novels with female protagonists. This has changed in recent years, but especially throughout college, most of my stories were male driven.

For whatever reason, I get along better with, and relate better to, males. Maybe it's because I didn't really have a mother figure? I mean, I had my grandmother, but then I had the whole stepmother issue, and I think that really caused me to withdraw some. Then came things like middle school, high school, and college, and female behavior just causes my hackles to rise a lot of the time.

But. Then I wrote (well, mostly wrote. It's about...a third done?) my first Steampunk novel. Three main female characters. Then I wrote my second Steampunk novel, for a NaNoWriMo and repeated that pattern. Especially in the Steampunk, it's fun for me to write the girls adventuring, I'm not really sure why. The Steampunk novels are also Young Adult, I think, while nothing else I've really written is (well, my first NaNo novel is, about a selkie, but that one would need quite a lot of work to see the light of day I think. Or maybe not. I haven't looked at it again lately.)

I've loosened up, obviously, or matured or whatever. Learn to Howl is in first person, female, as is its sequel. I still mostly have male friends, though, with a few notable exceptions. When playing a video game or tabletop role playing game, my characters are all female. Again, with a few notable exceptions, we don't really do the cross gender thing at our table. The main reason is that it's confusing for the players and storyteller, nothing to do with gender politics really. It's just jarring to the story to consistently use the incorrect pronoun. I'll probably also mostly own female dogs as well, as male dogs are kind of gross. Should we decide to have children, I actually kind of hope for a girl. Again, because boys really are kind of gross (sorry, dudes).

Do you find yourself writing more about one gender or the other? One sex or the other? I've read/heard interesting discussion on sex versus gender, and that's not the argument I'm making here. I'm just curious.


  1. For big writing projects (notably those that have been published), I'd say that I'm at around 50/50 these days, maybe skewing slightly towards more female MCs. That said, in going over my short list of things I want to write, it looks like the ladies are winning out in the battle to become my POV character by quite the margin.

    I used to worry about writing from a viewpoint of the opposite gender, but so far, I haven't heard any complaints!

    (My three best friends, who I've known for over 20 years, are all male. They were the bridesmaids in my wedding. Nothing weird about getting along with them better if you ask me!)

    1. I have mostly male friends, and I as well haven't have any "You got the POV wrong!" comments. Though really, not a whole lot of people read my stuff anyway.

  2. Though happily female, I was raised mostly around males, so I both channel and speak Disgusting Bachelor fairly well. I write about 60% male and 40% female characters most of the time.

    It's an accident of publishing that all but one of my published pieces had male lead POVs. I hope that changes with the two mms I'm working on now, since they both feature strong-willed female protagonists.

    I'm a big fan of reasonable, functioning matriarchies in fantasy (Diane Duane, Melissa Scott for example), so my main fantasy world tends to put women in stronger positions of power, anyway.

    1. "Disgusting Bachelor" can be a useful lingua franca.

      I agree, I also like reasonable, functioning matriarchies in books, emphasis on "reasonable" and "functioning". It seems, sometimes, even when they're written, they're undermined as crazy bitches for no good reason.

  3. I'm notorious for starting stories with female protagonists and then hating them. The novel I'm working on now is the one exception for some reason. The other big WIP has a female protagonist that I had to knead into shape over a period of years in order to like her. I wish my female characters came out as well-rounded as my current mystery MC, but usually I find them annoying and uninteresting.

    I used to worry that I was forcing my girly perspective onto boy characters until I won an award for a short story with a male protagonist. So that was cool. The teacher who nominated me for the award asked me how I got into his high-school brain so well. I had to awkwardly tell him that I was a weird high-schooler once too, and I know what it's like to fall in love with girls, so maybe that's it.

    1. I have few female friends for similar reasons ;)

      It is kind of awkward, explaining that "weird high school" thing, isn't it? Though depending on who you're talking to, it comes as less of a surprise to them.