Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thursday Thoughts

As I've been working on Unnatural Causes (the working, and probably final, title of my novel in progress), I came to a realization:  almost all of the suspects in the murder are male, whereas the detective, sidekick and victim are female.  I was instantly concerned about generalizing the genders, making the men "villains" and the women "heroes."  I considered changing the gender of one of the suspects to help balance this, and then decided not to.  I had several reasons:

The character I contemplated inverting had a history that specifically connected to his gender.  To give him a sex-change would require a complete rewrite of backstory, which also is integral to his personality and personal motives, which ... certainly, I could come up with an equivalent storyline, but it would require a fair amount of consideration and note revision.

Second, while there is gender inequality, it isn't completely black and white.  There are female suspects, and the queen is the one who ordered the investigation suppressed (forcing our heroes to step in).  I decided to emphasize this a bit by changing the motives of the guard captain, too.  There are other male characters who are allies and sympathetic.

And finally - and ultimately, what I thought was most important - is that the story isn't about "a man who" or "a woman who" - it's about "a person who" ... and I feel that to arbitrarily flip the gender of a character would subvert that.

Or maybe I'm just lazy.  Take your pick.

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