Time for the Writing Confessional…

… or those times I ventured beyond the clear blue waters.

As someone who enjoys writing, I’ve come across the need to include characters. Sure a portrait of a landscape can tell a thousand words, maybe more, but even then, the place becomes a sort of character in its own right, not that I want to elaborate on that until I can process the thought there. It’s a spur of the moment comparison, you see, and if I rambled off like this every time I made such a comment, I’d never get anything done.

Anyway, back to characters. Confession 1:

With writing characters, I often find the need to venture beyond the male gender. Sure, I know what it’s like to be a guy, and most people say write what you know, but unless I’m writing pre-women’s rights war novels (and I’m not) there’s going to be some facet of female presence. So now I have to get in a woman’s head. Where can I draw on for that? Fortunately I have friends and family for that on very different ends of the spectrum. I know the fluffy pink girls, the power hungry and manipulative kind, the ones that snap under pressure, the tomboys, gamers, etc… So, I think I can write these people. Sure those are generalizations, but I feel that aside from anatomical and certain mental instincts, we’re mostly the same. I know girls who want sex more than their boyfriends, and guys who can have deep philosophical conversations. They exist.

What’s the confession? I still feel that my female characters aren’t quite up to snuff, and I’m never sure how to ask for advice. Truth be told, I don’t know any female writers very well, and this is tough to just ask a friend, since friends like to be supportive.

Confession 2:

LGBT characters exist, just like people. In fact, in today’s societies, particularly those with more tendencies to equality, they are becoming more and more common. In games, movies, TV, etc… The characters exist. I admit that I’ve never tried my hand at much of it, but I have written a small number of homosexual characters in my time, drawing as much as I could from those I’ve met in their respective lifestyles.

My one big mistake? To be honest, I’ve barely done the plight justice. (Though I’ve never tried my hand at writing the T side of the LGBT) A lot of times, it’s sort of just accepted, partly because of how I view society. On another end, I have written the character that has to hide their feelings from the general public, and dealt with the fallout of being found out, but it’s all just sort of worked out. I feel like I can’t do them the right justice, but again, from the people I’ve met, I find it hard to see them as anything other than normal people with different tastes, like everyone else.

Conclusion:

I’m leaving this for the readers to judge, but I’m wondering if I’m doing the characters in these confessions more or less justice this way. The plights and understandings in their entirety are beyond me, I admit. However, in that same breath, I have to consider that such equalities are desired by these very different people. In writing them the way I do, perhaps it’s more justice to the cause that someone can put the plights and differences out of mind. Perhaps, in regards to the second confession, it would take a more center stage in a character’s life depending on the story.

I just wanted to put these thoughts out there, and maybe see if anyone has some confessions of their own to air out.

Time for the Writing Confessional

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About writing underdog

I'm an aspiring writer of fantasy and science fiction. I graduated from a university with a degree in Writing and a minor in Philosophy. I try to learn a little about everything. I hope to update regularly, meaning at least once per week. View all posts by writing underdog

One response to “Time for the Writing Confessional…

  • Libby

    Asking strangers on the Internet is always a good idea! 😉

    I know what you mean about writing across genders, and sexual orientation. I feel like I’m walking on eggshells because I don’t really have a concrete idea of what I’m doing or where I’m going. I do have a lot of fun with my male characters, though they aren’t usually my protagonists. I’ve tried asking some of my male friends their thoughts on male characters, but they weren’t really coherent in their answer…so I basically go with what I observe and experience. It will never sound exactly like a guy, because I don’t know what it’s like to be a guy, but I can emulate enough of it that I like to think I sound convincing.

    And I agree with your second confession: I feel like characters of different orientation can very easily become consumed by this, especially main characters. It’s easier with minor characters (which is what I’ve done), like some of the character’s in Kristin Cashore’s novels. So basically, I’m going to stick with what I know, at least for now. 🙂

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