I chuckled reading this because many times in my youth, my brother would say to me you are so much better at being a boy than I am. I disappoint Dad as a son and you disappoint Mom asa daughter.
I try to draw on my tomboy times writing male characters. It’s not easy. I find it easier to discuss situations with male friends or to go to male oriented events and absorb all that I can about their reactions.
Cross-gender writing is nothing new. When Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel, Jane Eyre, (1847) was published under Bronte’s non-gendered pen name, Currer Bell, huge arguments broke out in Victorian England as to whether or not the author was male or female. One heavy-hitting critic voted male because the novel reflected a “manly” prose. I like to think that some hundred seventy years later, we’ve come a long way.
All of this is to say that I, a male, don’t feel too uncomfortable writing a novel with a female protagonist. For point of view, I’m using third person limited. The protagonist is a public-school biology teacher. She’s twenty-five, moderately good-looking, intelligent, and single.
I realize that creating a protagonist whose gender is opposite of one’s own can be tricky business. A huge mistake any writer can make is to think: “Hey, this is easier than I thought.” At that point, one may…
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