Who is that Character Really?

woman question markTravis Hicks asks in a comment: “How much does your character’s role depend on his or her gender? And could your character be any other gender? How would that impact your story?”

Daniel Swenson, on his blog Surly Muse, wrote a post about why he changed the gender of his MC.

Joss Whedon is often asked, “So, why do you write these strong female characters?” His answer, “Because you’re still asking me that question.”

Part of this week’s assignment for my writing group is to take a character (preferably the one we described in Week 1) and flip the gender.  The second half is to write 500 words on the newly gendered character’s reaction to an event (chosen randomly by our fearless leader).  It’s a good assignment, forcing us to use all our preconceived notions about the character and make them better.

Last week I wrote Chloe’s description  from the viewpoint of a private eye.  I’d rather not use her since I’m still working on the world building, which she features prominently in;  although Chloe having a street name would make it easier to switch ‘her’ to a ‘him’.

My random event involves abduction, so what I can do instead is have the gender switched character be 5 questionseither the private investigator, J.G. Cooper, or the detective, Smith. I almost prefer to choose the PI, because then I could have Chloe abduct the PI.  But it works just as well if the abductee is Detective Smith while the PI searches for him/her.  Neither one have a specifically defined gender at the moment. Who would you choose?

Whedon’s quote doesn’t quite fit this topic, however it does point to the fact that there are a lot of poorly written books where women are the scenery. The next time you write a story ask yourself, could this be better if he was a she (or vice verse)?

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About jaycegrae

A writer, learning. View all posts by jaycegrae

4 responses to “Who is that Character Really?

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