Creating Characters of the Opposite Gender

Penstricken

A long while ago, when I was still teaching myself the rudiments of story writing, I noticed an alarming and entirely unintentional trend in my work: the number of male characters in my stories was ridiculously disproportionate to the number of female characters. My characters tended to be male by default, unless they were there to act as a love interest to the male protagonist (remember boys and girls, no character should exist only to swoon after another). It’s a singularly terrible way to write and a nasty habit I’m pleased to say I’m long since out of. I never did it because I was trying to be particularly chauvinistic in my writing, you understand. I suspect it simply came naturally to me to invent male characters because I, myself, am male.

In reality, there is no reason why writing across genders should be any more difficult than writing about…

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