This is what comes of being busy for a few days: you wake up, you stare at a blank screen–and nothing comes out. There were all these thoughts rolling about in my head this morning when I awoke, but they suddenly decided to scurry to the shadows the moment the lights come on and the computer comes up, like some kind of mental cockroaches spooked by an electronic dweller.
I suppose there nothing to talk about–
Oh, there’s always sex.
Actually it goes beyond sex. It has everything to do with my characters.
It has been pointed out to me, on more than a few occasions, that my female characters are generally pretty nicely done. I take a lot of pride in that, mostly because I feel that creating wonderful female characters is, for some writers, a difficult chore. You read some stories, and the female characters adhere to Melvin Udall adage that when they create female characters they first create a male then take away reason and accountability. Ha, ha, I get it: men are the only ones who totally have their shit together, which is why the world is in such great freakin’ shape.
Part of the reason I love a great female character (who, I should point out, isn’t a guy with breasts, as some characters tend to come off) it the time I grew up in, and the sort of things I read. I geeked out early on science fiction, and most of the stuff I started with was from the “Golden Age” of sci fi. And if you know anything about the Golden Age, it’s that it was sorta light on believable female characters, or any at all. There was a lot of what I like to call “Golden Brage” for the Sci Fi Ladies, where most illustrations fell heavily into Fanservice, and the women themselves were usually little more than Ms. Fanservice incarnate.
That started to change in the 1970’s, in particular with the movie Alien and the introduction of Ellen Ripley. It’s hilarious to know now that originally Alien (oh, I’m sorry, I mean, Starbeast) was going to be something of a homoerotic sausage fest before someone got their shit together and turned into the classic movie we all now know and love. I fell in love with Ripley, and that really drove me to begin looking at women in a far different light as characters. Not to say I hadn’t before then, but yeah–the movie did something to me. And I wanted to do that in my own work. When I got around to doing it, that is.
I much prefer working with women, trying to understand them, try to get into their heads to learn their secrets and motivations and desires. Not only in my writing, but in real life as well. I’ve never been much for “guy stuff”; it’s always bored me. Doesn’t make me bad, just makes me a touch different.
When I look at my next novel, the novel after that I wanted to re-edit, and another novel after that which is in need of writing, I realize the majority of characters are dealing with are female–and that the guys who are in those stories are either very smart and competent, or physiological messes, or both.
Am I projecting?
Probably a lot more than you can ever imagine.