Sunday, June 21, 2009

male and female protagonists


Followng on from Dave's post - I don't see anything odd about males writing stories with female protagonists, or females writing stories with male protagonists. People who think otherwise might have an ideological take on the issue, but I mostly blame the notion that fiction-writing is a form of autobiography. As a fantasy writer, I aim to create interesting characters, not convey comprehensive pictures of detailed everyday life. It's true, there are some aspects of life as a woman that I couldn't handle very well - but there's so much left. Fictional characters are only a selection from anybody's full life anyway, aren't they?

If a male author can't write female protagonists and a female can't write male, the logic of the argument ends up with no author allowed to write any character outside their own personal experience - ultimately, your only protagonist is yourself. That's not how I write. I mean, I use bits of myself in different characters, but only ever bits. I don't want to create characters who are just duplicate Richard Harlands. How boring! How self-obsessed! I like to start with OTHER people, and then try to recreate them from inside.



Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Duplicate Richard Harlands????

That reminds me of the scene in 'Being John Malkovitch'.

You're right, Richard. They don't ask a mystery writer if they've committed murder as part of their character research!

TansyRR said...

*cough* well Rowena, sometimes they do!!!

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

I know. I wondered if anyone would pick me up on that.

It's just so ridiculous!