Writing Against Type

Posted: May 12, 2014 in Uncategorized
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I have a certain style of character that I tend to write.  That type can be described as male, heteronormative, and nominally white. They also tend toward liking knives, cigarettes, and having a drink or three.

Here’s the issue though, by writing this kind of character, am I perpetuating a certain ideal that the market is oversaturated with? I’m not saying that (unlike some in the genre) there is no room for female/QUILTBAG/POC/other characters, that genre writing is somehow being destroyed from within by exploring concepts long ignored by the main stream.  Just the opposite. It gladdens my heart to see that Crossed Genres was funded for another year (and not just because it gives me another market to be rejected by). I’m happy that there are authors like Cherie Priest, Delilah Dawson, and Saladin Ahmed are getting noticed, getting their work out there, and being recognized for it. Writers like Joe Abercrombie and Chuck Wendig have female protagonists featured prominently in their work.

When I sit down though, when I stare at that blank page, I end up going to path of least resistance. Something I need to work on, to be sure.

That isn’t to say I never write female characters, mind you. CONTINUITY features one prominently, though it doesn’t start with her. A few pop up in other places here and there. I’ve even used female characters in short pieces I’ve put up at Writer’s Carnival.

Here is the issue I’ve run into, however. If I write in 1st person POV, and delay revealing the character’s name or gender, the reader defaults to the fact I’m writing from a male POV. Is the assumption made that because I’m male I need to go out of my way to make my POV/MC female, and define her as such?

What about other writers? Do you have a certain “type” you keep coming back to? Do you find readers have a certain expectation they bring to your work based on who you are?

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