In my latest, and as yet unnamed, project I’ve been beating the crap out of my protagonist. Other than some small fear the characters’ union will be after me, I’ve been worrying a little bit about the ‘gender baggage’ that my story has.
Essentially, my protag is female and absolutely fixated on a male who is responsible for most of the violence that comes her way. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not beating her, but his actions result in her getting harmed.
The thing that’s bugging me is that it can read like yet another case of abuse of a ‘weak’ female by a male she fancies, and some of the situations read a bit like a standard ‘woman in the attic’ type story. That’s not at all what I’m going for, but you know that reading is there because it’s so much a part of our storytelling culture.
I’ve been trying to imagine how differently it would read if I had two females or two males. I actually think it would work much better, because it clears away a lot of that hetro relationship baggage. Unfortunately, while I comfortably write gay characters, not being gay myself makes me reluctant to try to write a relationship centred book; I have enough trouble writing that depth about hetro relationships and I’ve actually had some experience of them!
The musing continues.