Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gender Writing Thoughts

What I want to know is how Alexander McCall Smith can write about women so well. He writes his Isabel Dalhousie stories and his Number One Ladies Detective Agency mysteries each from a female point of view. And it's spot on.

Some men write women and they seem to me like nothing but bosoms and naked ambition -- men inside women's bodies. How do some men get it so wrong and others get it so right?

Of course, the opposite problem is just as prevalent, if not more so: women writing about men, and not getting it right at all. (Think of most romance novels.)

Ultimately, when I write a male character, I want him to be neither a woman in a man's body, nor a stereotype of some ideal of maleness. I want to write about individual, people who can seem real.

I suspect it is a lifelong learning process, to write as another person realistically, no matter their gender.

1 comment:

Brandon Barr said...

Hey Alice,

It's definitely a challenge to write in the head of the opposite gender.

One thing I've found is that those who write deep characters, tend to be able to write deep and accurately in both sexes.

And those who write stereotypical characters do it to both sexes. Though it's probably even more heightened for the opposite sex of the writer....

Anyways, congratulations on the sale to Residential Aliens...not to mention all the sales over at Ray Gun!