Thursday, March 29, 2018

Balance in Writing (An Equal Opportunity)

Given all the chatter recently about the need for a proper gender balance in our lives I thought I’d take a look at my writing to see how I’ve fared so far. I consider myself a story-teller and certainly not a literary writer. When I began creating novels I was looking at the tale, not the blend of characters. So, how did I do?

My first published novel was The Dark Lady. The POV main character was female, and most of the main villains were male. One strong male character gradually appeared though the trilogy and I even added a nasty female villain. I’d consider it a good balance, with the ladies taking a larger percentage of the main parts.

My second trilogy was The Queen’s Pawn. The POV character here was a young hapless male way out of his depth. The tale had at least three strong female characters and a pair of male villains. I think they evened out well.

A stand-alone novel that followed, Alex in Wanderland, had two POV characters, Alexis and Alexander, a pair of husband and wife protagonists. The villains were also equal opportunity gender balanced. I don’t think any side was left out.

A stand-alone novella I wrote, Knight’s Bridge, started out as a short story about a defeated warrior who reluctantly rescues a fleeing woman. That turned into a four-part POV novella consisting of: the knight’s story, the villain’s story, a young squire’s story, and the woman’s story which brought all the elements finally together. Because she got to wrap it up, I’d give her at least the equal billing.

Looking at my fantasy detective series, the Housetrap Chronicles, I have a male detective matched up with a strong female counterpoint, his assertive secretary, Girl Friday, partner in crime solving. The villains through the series so far are a mix, though some of my personal favorites tend to be the strong females who delight in mayhem. I’ll give this one a draw, although the hero is frequently overwhelmed.

I try to choose the characters who best fit the tale. I suspect that being good or bad, weak or strong, are gender-equal opportunities. At least in the stories I try to write so far.

In a space opera pair of volumes I’m close to completing I didn’t know who would be the main character when I began. A brother-sister pairing opened the story. I gave them both the chance to run with it, but in this case, the sister assumed command and took over. The aliens in these tales are another matter completely. I just write the stories down. The characters I create tend to gallop off in all directions. I apologize to the reader in advance if I leave anyone out. I just do my best to treat or abuse everyone alike as the normal part of the story-telling process.

Do you deliberately think about this issue when you begin to layout a tale?


The Dark Lady Trilogy (Volume 1,2,3)
The Queen’s Pawn (Volume 1,2,3)
The Housetrap Chronicles (Volumes 1 to 8)
Alex in Wanderland,
Knight’s Bridge
We’re Not in Kansas
Toltec Dawn Trilogy (Volume 1, 2, 3)