Earlier today I linked to this essay about writing female characters:

And so I wanted to say just a bit more about it, especially idea #6 – swapping the gender to make a male character female without changing anything else about the role.

Just today, I turned in the submission draft of The Younger Gods, the first book in a new Urban Fantasy series with Pocket Books.

The book has a substantial cast, but my favorite character in the book might have to be Dorothea, one of The Broadway Knights (a secret society that protects the homeless of New York City from threats mundane and supernatural). And here’s why that’s relevant. When I first created Dorothea, her name was Graham, and she was male.

I wrote Graham for about 15-20K words of the book, then decided the character would be cooler, and the cast more balanced, if Graham were a woman. I wrote the rest of the novel with Dorothea in the role, and when it came time for revisions, I went back to change the pronouns and tweak the physical description of the character. And that was it.

When I re-cast Graham as Dorothea, the character felt more distinct, more compelling, just because I’d re-approached the role, challenged my assumptions, and taken the extra step. I hope readers will approve of the results. And when I write my next novel, I’ll be on the lookout for other characters that I could flip gender-wise or re-interpret as people of color to make sure I’m writing a more diverse, more representative cast.

Whither The Whedon?

Here we see an open letter to Joss Whedon from The  TV Addict – http://thetvaddict.com/2009/10/22/an-open-letter-to-joss-whedon/ Rumors from last year have already presented the possibility that Whedon could give up TV and return to an internet-based model as seen in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Dollhouse has been assured a full 13-episode run for the season, but…

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“I Remember When SF Was All About Straight Men Doing Stuff.”

At least, that’s my paraphrase of this essay from “The Spearhead” http://www.the-spearhead.com/2009/10/09/the-war-on-science-fiction-and-marvin-minsky/ Have you read that?  No?  Go back and check it out.  Take a walk or go sparring to work out your righteous fury, then come back to read. Done?  Ok. The essay in question is both 1) infuriating and 2) about genre fiction…

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Movie Mini-Reviews

I’ve been both ill and snowed-in this week.  Therefore, I’ve seen a few movies of late.  Here are some short thoughts. Blue State ( 2007 ) Breckin Meyer is Bleeding Heart Liberal John, who promises on TV that he’ll move to Canada if Kerry loses the 2004 election.  He is joined by Anna Paquin as…

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The Baxter and Romantic Comedies

Written and directed by Michael Showalter, The Baxter is a romantic comedy about romantic comedies, where Showalter plays CPA Elliot Sherman, a decent but boring man who is doomed to be a “Baxter.” Baxter n. “A good but dull man who is not the right partner for the female lead of a romantic comedy.  The…

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Review: Pretty/Handsome

There are a lot of things that media can do.  It can inform, entertain, challenge, distract, instruct, condemn, rally, terrify, delight. And of course, there are people in control of media distribution, company programming execs, network censors, etc. Which means that sometimes, a show will come along to challenge our pre-conceptions and investigate difference, a…

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