Stargate Monuments

marthawells

Martha Wells

My Flying Lizard Circus



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endless people asking, "How on earth did you write a male protagonist?" -- as if gender was more trouble than a change in species

Well, there aren't a lot of Puppeteers or Kzin or Sorn or Hrossa here to complain if you get them wrong, unfortunately. ;-)

Just quickly: I don’t think M. L. Brennan *is* Marie Brennan - I think they’re different writers. I could be *entirely* wrong about this - but I remember seeing the paperback and actually hitting the web to check. This takes nothing away from her point or her experience, though.

They're different writers, yes. ML Brennan writes the Generation V books, not the Natural History of Dragons series.

Oh, okay -- I'll fix it.

I would have trouble writing a right-handed protagonist.

Really? When everything in the world is set up to accommodate right-handed people? You haven't tried to imagine what it would be like if everything was simply designed for you and your handedness?

(This is a serious question. I know kinesthetic writers who might well say that because they often have to physically feel how a movement happens to learn how to describe it, and might therefore have trouble flipping sides. But the majority of people I suspect would only find it relevant at all, much less difficult to write someone with the opposite handedness when discussing things like sword-play or arm injuries.)

I'd always assumed that the biggest problem for female authors was stupid and archaic assumptions by the publishing industry, but reading comments like that about large numbers of male readers utterly baffles me. I'm male and grew up reading YA and then adult fiction in the 1970s. I read large amounts of Norton, Bradley, LeGuin, Cherryh, & McCaffrey, as well as similar amounts of Asimov, Clarke, Anderson, & Niven. The idea that men won't (or perhaps just won't admit to others that they) read novels written by female authors doesn't make any sense to me, and yet I've many times read that it happens. Once again, many people baffle me.

Yes, It's very strange. I grew up about the same time, and when I chose books I never paid attention to the gender of the author. There was a discussion about this on this LJ a few years ago, and it was split between people who said that gender did make a difference and they leaned toward male authors, people who didn't think they had an unconscious bias until they looked at their bookshelves and saw mostly male authors, and people (including male readers) who read both male and female authors and were baffled by the idea that the author's gender made a difference and couldn't imagine choosing a book based on it. I really wonder how some people end up with a bias against women authors when others don't. It's weird.

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