Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Character Choice

Oh, by the way, it's April Fool's Day, so beware of bad jokes.

I am still not done with No Country--maybe 35 pages to go, but it occurred to me yesterday, as I was reading the italicized first person chapters that (I think) are the thoughts of the sheriff, that I could write more of my fiction in other voices. I almost never try on characters who are not like me, which means, essentially, that my stories all center around some quirky white girl of varying ages who is searching for a home or connection.  I never write a story where the main focus is an older black man from Africa. And I probably never will, because to do that well, you have to be a genius.

I actually don't even like it when authors write in other genders; more specifically, when a male author tells the story from the first person perspective of like, an aging female prostitute. I don't mind it so much if the story is told via the third person perspective--Stephen King does this in a couple of his books and Ian McEwan does too. 

The thing is, you don't see it the other way that often. Like, you don't see that many women writers who decide they want to write as a five year old boy or a nineteen year dude or a thirty-five year old man. 

Hey, what do you know The Atlantic Monthly has a recent article about men writing from the female point of view. You can read it here.  The author mentions one book written by a woman that's told from both points of view, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I cannot recall if I've read that or not, but it does sound familiar. 

The guys in my stories tend to be based on ex-boyfriends and so they are all uniformly jerks. But the girls are jerks too. Sometimes, the women are even bigger jerks than the men.  And I did write a whole book with a boy in it who was really good kid for my final thesis. I killed him off though. I will never write a book from the point of view of a dog, I promise. I'll leave that to first-year writing students.

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