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My BF and I have had some interesting conversations about this. We both feel it can be very difficult for men to write female characters. But not so hard for women to write male characters. Because, well, we are complicated creatures. They are not. Lol.
What helped me, reading Gillian Flynn type novels especially Tana French's new book -
Ha! I'm an Expert at writing bad-ass female characters! Before Hollywood went all-in on Mary Sue-type characters, I created "Senorita Justice." Unfortunate the production sunk and stunk. Agree with Doug Richardson. Once you deliver the script, it goes to a blender and what comes out is a wild guess.
I don't think about gender. I just try to create compelling characters
I just try to stay out of compelling make-up drawers of my girl friend. Jody sure is right...women sure are complicated creatures. Oh look....one of the make-up drawers. Dare I open it? What's in this drawer? Oh...the Lips Drawer. What do we have here? Lip pens....lip balms....lip liners.....wet shine stains....finally....a stain that thinks it's a gloss! I could die and go to Make-Up Heaven now, knowing this....and lip glosses....somebody really needs to make an extreme shine, high-impact, velvet matte finish lip gloss, I'm telling you.... ....and finally....in compartment number six of the Lips drawer.....actual lip sticks! The mother lode! There must be fifty shades of red here! And they don't even call any of them "red" anymore! Yes...."complicated creatures" indeed.....now if you'll excuse me.....I'm going to re-watch last nights Game 7 of the World Series for the sixth time....Cubs win!!! Cubs win!!! Cubs win!!!
Congrats Bill my opinion the greatest baseball game and God was on the Cubbies side, the rain came at a perfect time
I tend to write females characters. I have no problem with it. I pick a woman in my life and think what would she do?
Bill C: this weekend, we're having a big goat barbecue at my house. The ghost of Teddy Roosevelt will be guest speaker.
So I don't have to dress up? What am I going to do with all of the lacy undergarments I bought?
I've chatted with a dozen or so writers last couple of weeks, all of them are working on horror scripts
Vince How many of the dozen Writers writing horror are also Directors? Just curious.
A few, more short scripts than features but no pilots or series
A few more good articles about the subject matter: "We're loosing all our strong female characters to Trinity Syndrome" http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/18/were-losing-all-our-stron_n_550... "I Hate Strong Female Characters": http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2013/08/i-hate-strong-female-characters "The Taming of the Shrew: Writing Female Characters & Archetypes" http://www.scriptmag.com/features/taming-shrew-writing-female-characters...
As a side note: I generally think it's a mistake to disregard gender, age and race when developing characters. These elements are part of the human experience and are different for everyone. To deny a character some of the rich experiences that come with this territory, only flattens characters and makes them modular and disposable.
@Allan during a brain dump draft I'll write gender neutral. Then start to ask questions around gender. Gender first for me is too limiting.
Craig - that's an interesting idea I'm going to try. My leads have been male and I don't know why. I've written some colorful minor female characters. Hmm. And as for the Cubs, this former Chicagoan wanted to see them win, so we turned it on in the bottom of the 8th with 2 outs. You know within minutes they gave up 3 runs! Gaaa! My husband said, "Turn it off," and then they went on to win. Pretty sure you have us to thank. ;)
For me it's not a question of disregarding gender. I only believe the writing process should feel natural as opposed to contrived. It's not that I don't consider familiar female attributes. I write from an angle of what works best for the story I'm telling. However, if my character is a woman lawyer, as opposed to a man, I don't believe that the character would conduct business differently merely based on gender. It would be more the case of how male characters would interact or treat her because of her gender. For example, my attorney wife often spoke about the bluster male lawyers would display during depositions and negotiations. Therefore, I don't write characters weaker, stronger, smarter or more resourceful or lesson their importance based on gender. I think more in terms of overall human interaction.
My women speak like my men do. They're both human, and that's my starting point.
Gotta agree with Guru Hardy. Write theme first. Characters, male or female, push the theme. Your job as a Writer is to deliver the theme.
Interesting to see how we all work a little differently. :) To me, theme is always third or fourth on the list of priorities. I approach film and tv from the idea of it's all about cool people, doing cool things. Themes, messages, the morale, etc- always takes a back seat to story and characters. If audiences aren't interested in who these people are, or what they are doing, they won't bother to learn why they are doing it and how they feel about it. Theme heavy scripts have a great place on stage and in many books and poetry. However, in my opinion, when it comes to the small or big screen, it's all about action and characters. I feel that theme heavy stories on screen many times will feel forced, preachy and concocted.