Pondering The Issue Of Male Authors Writing Female Characters

by Shelt Garner

I had a brief conversation with a literary agent on Twitter recently and while she was generally supportive, she said that “some people” would object to a male author writing in the POV of a woman character.

I don’t know what to make of that comment.

On one hand, it might be a matter of, “Shut up you’re bothering me” and she was just trying to think of some reason to rain on my parade because she’s a gatekeeper and that’s what gatekeepers do to aspiring authors without any proven success.

But if that’s not the case, then I find it very curious that a number of women have looked at various versions of my novel and not one of them has said, “Sorry, I can’t read anything written by a man writing from a female perspective.”

What’s more, the book series that inspired my writing a novel to begin with, the Millennium series by Stieg Larsson, has him writing as various female characters throughout the book. That series was huge and of all the things written about those books, none of it was about how he wrote from a female point of view.

And this is a series that is extremely shocking at times when it comes to its depiction of violence towards women. It has that and it STILL was a huge success.

I guess you could say maybe audiences have changed in their expectations since Stieg Larsson wrote his stuff…but…really? I find that very doubtful.

As such, I’m going to chalk the literary agent’s comment off as one of those, “you can’t please everyone” kind of things. Just because “some people” will be turned off by me writing from a female POV, doesn’t mean “all of the people” or a “majority of the people” will.

What’s the most important part of all of this is not the problem of me, as a man, writing from a female POV, but what I do with it when I do use it. That’s something I am far more concerned about than simply using that particular POV. I find myself vacillating between abject fear that I’m going to screw up to grumbling about how I have a vision and I’m going to stick to it.

But only time will tell, I guess.

Author: Shelton Bumgarner

I am the Editor & Publisher of The Trumplandia Report

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