Female Characters by Christine Duncan

I read Michelle’s blog about female characters and had to chime in. I really think it is difficult for one sex to write about the other and for that reason, I am very careful about reading about a female protagonist written by a man. I think women can also stereotype women but we are less likely to do so.
There, I said it, and it is more than a bit sexist but there it is.
The world is still male dominated.
Really, if you watch a lot of TV or movies, the advent of strong female protagonists has been a fairly recent development. Mary Tyler Moore not withstanding, I don’t believe I saw many strong women in media growing up, let alone women protagonists.
When I look back, a woman as the lead on TV was rare:Cagney and Lacey, Murphy Brown, Roseann.
I recently saw the movie, “The Hitman’s BodyGuard.” Without giving away too much of the plot, I think that there was an effort in the movie to make the women in it fairly strong. But neither had huge parts in the movie, and even though one was an Interpol agent and the other was a throat slitting barmaid, the men did the whole thing without any help. The women’s roles were to add depth to the men’s characters, really.
I’d love to see more books where we are looking at real life. Sometimes the guy is the strong one, sometimes the woman is. There are more women writing now. I can hope.

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Anger and Female Characters

And this week I read another book – well-respected, well-written, award nominated book – where the major female’s character sole role was to get raped and then die.

I’m sick of it. The male protagonists get rich inner lives, they have dreams, they do things, they live. The women – get raped and die.

This wasn’t a crime novel. Crime novels have a good proportion of female protagonists, villains and heroes. This was a non-genre novel.

If a woman in these books falls in love, it’s an abusive relationship. If she has a child, or doesn’t have a child, somehow it destroys their lives because they cannot focus on anything else. And they will get raped, and die – and the story is never told from their point of view. The feelings and pain and joy and anger always come from the male narrator. The woman is never allowed to tell her story, or express her feelings except through the prism of a man watching her – rarely talking to her, just watching.

I would like the writers of these novels to stop, and gender swap these characters. Would you do that to a male character? Would you do the worst to him and yet leave him voiceless? Can you write a woman who’s actions drive that story forward? Can you write a woman who does things, instead of to whom things are done? Can she speak? Can she live? Can she choose?

You can? Good. Do it.

There are centuries of stories told by women, about women, that consist of more than a violation and a silent death. It’s time we started telling those stories again.

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad

Another Writing Opportunity by Christine Duncan

Universal Pictures has a program to help screenwriters. It is a one year paid program to help writers learn the craft. If you have always wanted to be a screenwriter, and have an original screenplay you can submit, along with a few other requirements, this may be you chance.
On another note, who is signing up for NaNoWriMo? I want to do it. I always WANT to do it, but I never figure out how to work it in. Any clever ideas?

Not Quite So Much Porridge Please

I’m currently editing one book, before I move onto the second draft of another book, I’m thinking about a short story and trying to remember what plot holes I have to plug in current stories and researching two different eras and let’s not forget the essays and interviews I’m supposed to writing and all this whilst doing a day job!

I’m a bit frazzled.

The problem is, the stories don’t stop. I have more than enough to be going on with, but someone will say something and it will spark another story. There is no way to switch this off.

That is a good thing. I never run short of inspiration. But do you know the story of the bottomless porridge pot that got stuck on making porridge until it eventually flooded the whole village? I mean, the porridge was a good thing, but once in a while we need a porridge free day.

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad

Ever Wanted to Write for TV? by Christine Duncan

I can’t say that I have ever thought much about it. I have always wanted to write books, but TV? But if that is your dream, Fox Writers Lab is now accepting applications.
The caveat? There is a four month curriculum and only eight writers will be selected. Still writers who took part previously ended up on staff of current Fox shows, so the opportunity is real. Check it out.

Dreaded Synopsis

There are many many things I enjoy about writing. Writing a synopsis is not one of them.

I wish I had tips to give you. I don’t. I know they’re not supposed to be longer than two pages. Mine invariably run to three and often to four.

My plots are complex. I grant you that, and trying to get my complex plot into two pages is very difficult. Maybe I explain too much? But if I cut it down to the bare bones I get asked to explain things. And I always leave out something vital.

One line descriptions of my book, I can do. Anything longer and I ramble.

Imagine my utter joy when I read on Twitter that proper grown up authors who have been doing this forever also hate writing a synopsis. It is the bane of our lives.

So I know this wasn’t useful but I thought you might like to know – we all hate it!

I hope that makes both you and me feel better about hating writing the synopsis.

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad

A Contest for the Minimalist Writer by Christine Duncan

You see it on Facebook all the time, other writers daring you to tell a story in ten words or even one. Well, now you can enter a contest. The Rocky Mountain chapter of Mystery Writers of America has a six word mystery writing contest. The cost? A dollar per word. They have five different categories so if you are really feeling prolific, you can enter in each for the low cost of ten bucks.

What kind of story can you tell in six words? That’s up to you.

I always think these kinds of contest are interesting, so I may give it a whirl myself. Let’s all have a little fun.