Monday, July 20, 2009


We’ve arrived home all in one piece, more or less. The visit with my family was nice, mostly. There was mild family drama, but then that’s to be expected since a portion of my family treats drama like a fifth food group. But over all it went well.

In the car home, we listened to almost all of Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix. Haddix is primarily a YA writer who is probably best known for her Shadow Children series about a future world where population control limits each family to two children. Third children are forbidden. The Shadow Children tells the stories of some of those third children. This new one is about a plane that arrives at an airport from nowhere. There is no record of it and it just appears at the gate. All the seats inside the plane are filled with babies. Now that those babies are adopted out into families and have reached the ripe old age of 13, someone’s sending them letters warning them that someone is coming to get them.

This leads into my title because the girl heroine in this story is the weak link in the story. She is irritating and not very likable. My irritation with her got me to thinking about my relationship with my own female characters. I wondered, did Haddix know that this character was so annoying? Is she as annoying to others as she is to me? Does anyone else want to throttle her and tell her to shut up?

Female characters have always been difficult for me to write. I have an unfinished manuscript that will probably never be finished because the driving voice in the story is the female lead. Whenever that happens, the stories just seem to fizzle out and I lose the line of the story. I’ve had other stories that were a struggle to finish because the female character boxed me into a corner, or she is a secondary voice and she is not cooperating with the telling of the story. I have three of those right now. I was zooming along on them, 12,000 words or even more and then a screeching halt. *Sigh*

I wonder why it is that female characters present a challenge for me? My guys usually drive my stories. I’ve been complimented on how my guys were very real except for all that mushy love stuff. I’ve been told that during the moments leading up to and during intimacy men do not have the lovely romantic thoughts romance writers usually give them running through their brains. But, the stories are targeted toward women and damn it we want to believe that our men are thinking sweet loving thoughts and not just focused on the tactile.

There is an upcoming movie that has made me laugh while watching the previews. It repeats exactly the advice I’ve been giving to my friends for years when they are having trouble with husbands and boyfriends. Men are wired differently. It’s not upbringing, it’s wiring. Men are visual and tactile, women tend to be auditory and cognitive in our arousal. Men are simple, and I don’t mean simple minded. They don’t complicate matters or spend a great deal of time analyzing the nuances of what someone says or does.

Maybe that’s what makes female characters such a struggle. When that female voice is talking to this female writer, we get bogged down in too much analysis and contemplation and ask too many damned questions. My guys are simple. They usually tell me the story and then I have to pull out the details from them. The ladies lose me in the minutia. I've never been a fan of drama.

And, just cause I think this is cute, and I own a Cavalier:


Sandra Cox said...

I think the males are more easy to write because we can invest them with what we want to see in a male, which I believe is often times a flawed hero.
Some of my heroines I've struggled with, some I've been attached to.
Bella's probably my favorite:)

Sandra Cox said...

I know you'll figure out your heroine and she will take over the book.

Molly Daniels said...

I LOVE Haddix's books! Thanks for the head's up about this one.

I also like the one where they've invented the 'age-reversal' serum. Have you read it?

Jacquéline Roth said...

I have. I heard at one point she was suing the director of Sixth Sense because one of his movies was a rip-off of one of her books.

Have you read Lois Duncan? Her book The Giver is one of my all time favorites.

Anny Cook said...

I find writing the guys easier than the gals. I wonder why?