Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Writing boys, girls, and cats

My girl children are older now, but for a long time they would only write stories or draw pictures featuring ... girls. When I asked them why they never wrote or drew boys, they looked horrified. Then about oh half a puberty ago, one of them approached me and asked for tips on writing boy-POV.

At first I was like, eureka! -- they finally get it that our species has more than one gender! But then I thought about it a little more and... you know what? I don't really have any advice for them. Or for anyone.

Because the honest truth is that I write people. Sometimes cats and sometimes robots, true, but almost always people. And I define a person like Mary Shelley did: as an entity who communicates. Somebody who has a story to relate.

Yes, some of those character people have uteruses. Some have penises. Some have prehensile tails, galactic masses, or skin made of bubbles. But all of that is just frosting and glitter, folks. When it comes to writing, the person inside is the thing that matters. That's where all the angst and conflict and growth is at. Uteruses and penises don't essentially angst. They aren't stories.

So, about writing characters differently because of their gender: well, I don't.

Please leave all assumptions at the door and wipe your feet when you come into my universe. Thanks.

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