An early post this week as I’ll be away from my computer tomorrow.
Answer: Only my mother knows.
Actually, and forgive me if I sound sexist, most females know. It’s the same with wrapping Christmas and birthday presents so that all sides are even, no paper is torn and the wrapping doesn’t bulge on the ends. The tape is perfectly placed. With fitted sheets, I do the best I can, but I know, because I am male, I will never be as good at folding as females.
I’m really not being sexist. Facts are facts. Despite the feminist movement, and I’m sorry if my female readers start howling in protest, there are certain things men do better than women. And there are certain things women do better than men. I don’t know if the reason is genetics or phsiological but there are certain activities each gender can do more effectively than the other.
Please don’t email me with snotty sounding comments like, “Women can do and be anything. Construction workers, CEOs, astronauts, race car drivers. And some women do these jobs better than men. So there! Take that you sexist pig male.”
If you do react like this, you’re misunderstanding what I’m saying. I’m not saying women need to be B & P in the kitchen baking cookies. I’m not saying women can’t do or be whatever they want.
Sigh! I suppose I’d better relate this to writing before I dig myself a deeper hole.
One of the challenges I had when creating my main character for my martial arts mysteries was writing from a woman’s point of view. When I created Mallory Petersen, I wrote a character outline for my vision of who she would be. Her likes and dislikes. Her personality. Her sense of humor. Her quirks. Yes, I took a lot of these from my own life. When writing my stories, however, I had to keep in mind how women act and behave and here I encountered some problems.
My critique group mentioned in regards to my first story, Beta, how I needed to soften Mallory’s attitude when she spoke to the mother of the kidnapped girl. Looking back, I realized I had tried to insert humor where it wasn’t appropriate and Mallory ended up coming across too harsh for the situation.
Later in the story I made sure I used her femininity in several scenes including one of my favorites when she lures a snitch into an alley for questioning. I also showed how she acted around the handsome detective in various situations.
In the second book, Alpha, I did a better job at bringing out Mallory, the woman. From her reactions to her murdered boyfriend and his secrets to her almost being raped and the subsequent conversations with both her office manager and boyfriend. This particular scene was difficult to write because I wanted it to be powerful, but I also needed to stay sensitive to the situation. I rewrote this scene twice. Once when I felt the actions of the men didn’t go as far as they should, and again when my editor asked me to back off on the intensity. She felt it was too much.
(I think it would be interesting study to give the first rewrite to a male editor and compare HIS opinion with the woman editor’s.) The subsequent discussion with Mallory’s current beau I drew from conversations I’ve had with an instructor friend, learning about women’s self defense, and various other sources regarding rape survivors.
I freely admit I put Mallory through many hardships. She gets attacked a lot and winds up in several fights. She is tested physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I do this not because I dislike women or harbor a secret desire to abuse them and the best way I can fulfill my sick fantasy is through fiction. I do this to show the strength of women, the independence, the hardened and determined spirit women have to overcome challenges. (Ahem, just as men overcome theirs.) Mallory always comes out a better person even if she is severely affected by the situation.
Writing about the opposite gender has been fun and challenging. I have no problem asking women how they would react to a certain scenario. I have female friends all too willing to lend me a hand or tell me I’m wrong and help me understand.
No, I probably won’t ever learn how to fold a fitted sheet properly, but on the other hand, women probably won’t be able to…uh, to…hold on…
Check in again next week. I’m sure I’ll think of something.