I often tell people that I’m the biggest self-aware misogynist I know.
I was writing a scene last night between a woman general and the man she helped put on the throne. I started writing in some romantic tension, and realized how lazy that was. There are other kinds of tension.
This is an incredibly powerful, eye-opening article for all writers, but especially the ones who are looking to break their characters out of the tired old tropes.
I’m reminded of my very first phone conversation with my editor, when we were talking about the characters who’d go into my first book. It was her suggestion that Cecily, my heroine, would be the ex-Marine who’d gone the survivalist route, living in the Canadian wilderness. She, not the hero, would’ve been captured in war, tortured, and held prisoner.
My only push-back was that I did not want Cecily to have been raped. I don’t want to downplay the stories of sexual assault survivors, but I wanted people to know there are other challenges women can face. There are other tragedies women can overcome. There are other stories that women have to tell, even in romance.