There's an interesting thread on Westeros exploring the pros and cons of male SFF writers writing female characters versus female SFF authors writing male characters. And since this is something that was touched upon when I posted my favorite and worse SFF characters, I felt that it might be something many of you could be interested in.
Koolkat735 created the thread with this post:
So much is made of male authors' difficulties writing good female characters; I hear less about female authors' ability to write male characters, and I'm curious about that. What sorts of problems do guys typically have with female-created men? Are they as prevalent as the problems women have with male-created women? If so, why do we hear less about them--because it's easier for men to avoid female authors altogether than the reverse, or for some other reason?
I'm also curious about how the gender proportions of the cast of a book affect this. Most male-written works seem to have a cast that's well over 50% male, whereas female-written works seem to be all over the map, but generally with at least half the cast male. Does including a large number of characters of the opposite gender make for better characters (because they cease to be tokens) or worse (because inherent problems are compounded and become patterns)? Does it depend on who's given the POV? When I notice problems with men in female-written fiction, it's usually when they're given the POV and aren't (to my mind!) thinking like men, but the problems I see with female characters in male-written fiction tend to crop up regardless of POV.
Is it really just a matter of "we all notice problems when authors of the opposite gender try to write our own gender", or are there men who think women write men decently for the most part, or vice versa?
(It might help if we limit this discussion to works that actually attempt to create realistic characters. Romance novels and erotica for women aren't meant to feature realistic men any more than porn and superhero comics are meant to feature realistic women.)
The discussion went live on August 16th and it has generated 263 responses as I write these lines.
Follow this link to check out and perhaps become part of the discussion. . .