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.


In order to keep the great excitement around Geekomancy rolling, I’m rolling out a fun Twitter meme called #Geekomancy101. Step one will be figuring out our stats and class levels. The first thing you do in almost any RPG is figure out the character’s stats. Ree Reyes, my lead in Geekomancy, has stat blocks and…

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Geekomancy is here!

The day has finally come! The Pre-orders have delivered, digital Ninja Santa eBook Couriers depositing the novel in people’s eReaders overnight. Pocket Star has also created a very sharp-looking page featuring Geekomancy and the limited-time price of $1.99: http://pages.simonandschuster.com/pocketstar/featured In other news: I have a guest post up at All Things Urban Fantasy, along with a…

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Write-a-Thon Week Three Report

Week three yielded 5361 words, even with a totally lazy 4th of July. The big pushes on Saturday are working really well, as I’m training my discipline and doubling down several times to hit those higher word-counts per session. I used to be able to hit 1K regularly, but seldom more than that. If I…

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Geekomancy mention in Sword & Laser

Geekomancy makes a guest appearance on the fabulous Sword & Laser video show, during the Calendar segment of episode 7. Linkage! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHW8kzc1dmg&feature=g-all-u If you don’t want to watch the whole episode (you should watch it anyway), you can see the novel at 15:45. And now back to the happy author dance…

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Podcast Interview at Once & Future Podcast

Anton Strout, gentleman and scholar and host of the Once & Future Podcast, has posted his latest episode, where he and I talk about Geekomancy, our shared love of GenCon, why he and Patrick Rothfuss should fight like Pokemon in the writing arena, and much more. http://blog.antonstrout.com/2012/07/05/of-podcast-ep-38–michael-r-underwood.aspx It was a blast talking with Anton, and…

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Write-a-Thon Week One Report

Thanks to a strong start last Saturday, my wordcount for week one of the 2012 Clarion West Write-a-Thon is 5217, more than half of my overall 10,000 word pledge. I’m hoping to continue this success and keep up the momentum for another five weeks. 5K a week for these six weeks would be phenomenal, since…

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