Blog hopping, let’s talk about sex.


Have I got your attention?

Good, here’s this weeks prompt, from the Open Book blog hop.


What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?


To a certain extent, I think that the gender of your character is unimportant. It can be just as difficult to write a character of your own sex. Especially if they are someone that you are not. I reckon that it’s all a matter of getting into the head of the character and becoming them, seeing things through their eyes and reacting in the way that they would.

As a man with three daughters, a lot of the ideas for my female characters came from my life with them as they grew up. I saw the full range of emotions and angst (three times!), which gave me lots of inspiration and fuelled the female characters that I was writing.

Initially, I wrote male leads with females in supporting roles. I must make it clear though; they were never second fiddle, or eye candy. Sure, they might have been pretty and sometimes became the romantic interest but that was never their only purpose in the story. They were always strong and capable, like my girls were (and are). I always encouraged my daughters to believe that they could do anything they wanted; my characters were intended to prove it. My stories had female engineers, Captains of industry (and spaceships) and many others; they were competent and capable, doing their jobs on merit, as good as any man would be.

Then I wondered, could I write a female lead? As an experiment, I wrote a short story, featuring a woman who was escaping a bad situation. I showed it to my editor, and a few trusted people I knew, my question was always: is it believable, would a woman behave like that?

In all the responses, the answer was yes. For my NaNoWriMo project for 2016, I turned the short story into a novel. Which led to a sequel, and now there’s a series.

I digress; without a doubt, the hardest thing with any character is achieving authenticity. If anyone had told me that Andorra Pett didn’t seem feminine; or was obviously written by someone who had no idea how females thought or acted, I would have changed her to a male character. Because the story was solid; in a way, it wouldn’t have mattered if Andorra had been male. Although, like my characters and my daughters, I could see no reason why I couldn’t do it if I tried.

I think that making her someone that I’m not and never could be has sharpened her up. Having to really concentrate to get her right pulls everything to another level and makes the whole story better.

Why not see for yourself? You can read the original short story by clicking this link, https://richarddeescifi.co.uk/andorra-pett-and-the-oort-cloud-cafe/

I’d love to hear your views on the subject and my post, please leave me a comment below.

If this post has got you interested in any of my novels, you can get more details by clicking the Portfolio link. Or, to receive a free short story, The Orbital Livestock Company, just join my team of subscribers by clicking here.

I’ll be back on Thursday with another Showcase post, featuring an Indie Author with something to say. Please leave a comment below, then click the links to see the other great blogs on this hop.

Have a great week.

9 Responses

  1. Lela Markham

    I think a lot of non-writers think it is impossible to write from any perspective other than your own. They lack the imagination to do it, so they assume writers can’t do it either. I’ve had several guy friends who have said they quickly forgot they were reading a book written by a woman. And that’s the whole point – to write a character who is unlike yourself – else all the characters would be one-dimensional avatars of the writer.

    • Richard Dee

      Agreed, I’m not like any of my characters, but my characters are an amalgamation of what I see around me (and maybe a pinch of what I’d like to be, in another life).

  2. Timothy Bateson

    I think it’s a good thing to be able to draw on experiences of yourself, friends, and family when considering how your character is going to be put together. Those people are also a great sounding board for bouncing ideas off, and making sure that the idea doesn’t come across as stereotypical, and grabs the readers as someone real enough to invest in.

    • Richard Dee

      Very true, as long as the characters are based on experience or observation, you can modify them to your heart’s content.

  3. Richard Marman

    I think it’s easier for male authors to write about female character nowadays. Just make her kick-arse, sexy and smart and you can’t go wrong.

    • Richard Dee

      Hi Richard, nice plan! I just copied and pasted various attributes from my wife and daughters, about the same thing really. Although which bit relates to which one is a secret.

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