I’m a girl and proud

Being a woman J E NiceI have issues.

I know, I know. We all have issues. But a particular issue of mine is really getting to me. It’s that whole gender thing. Again. (I have a feeling I’ve gone over this before. I can only apologise.)
Let me explain…

I have about four writing projects on the go at the moment. My definition of ‘on the go’ meaning that they’re all in my head right now with varying documents on my laptop to prove that I’ve done some work on each. Right now, I’m at the planning stage of three of them and the final editing stage of the fourth. It’s the planning stage which is the root of this problem, for this week anyway.

You see, no matter what I do, my characters keep falling in love. Every story has a romantic element. I can’t help it. And some stupid little voice in the back of my head keeps scolding me, telling me that I’m being too much of a girl.

Which is ridiculous.

I’ve tried to plan these books without romance. To be honest, I’m not a romance writer so the romantic elements tend to take the form of subplots, but still this doesn’t shut up that damn voice.

This is one of the problems of being a woman writing in a male orientated genre. All of my favourite writers are men. I’ve tried to deny that, I’ve tried to fix it, but dammit that’s just how it is. And I’m paranoid that I won’t fit it, that I’ll never write as well as them because something about my womaness will get in the way and make me fail.

During a particularly heated argument with this little voice at the back of my head, I confronted it with the evidence. Rather compelling evidence. It shut that little voice up immediately.
All of my favourite male writers include romance in their books. Even if it’s not romance, there’s sex involved. Which is exactly the case for every one of my books.

Let’s take four of my favourite writers; Joe Abercrombie, the man who created a whole new, gritty subgenre of fantasy complete with itchy bollocks, Ben Aaronovitch and his witty wizard police constable Peter Grant, Chris Wooding and the Ketty Jay series, and the almighty Terry Pratchett.

Each and every single one has some sort of romance, love, sex and sexual tension in their books. And you know why? Because it’s a part of life. It doesn’t matter what genre you’re writing, love and sex are part of the main building blocks of being human. Them and food and warmth. Otherwise the population would die out.

Furthermore, what makes a good book? Sure the writing should be the best it can be and the plot should be interesting, but really it’s the characters. Well developed, realistic characters, even in the depths of space or a whole other world. It’s the characters that make a story, people who we can relate to despite them being murderers, torturers, century old wizards, daemonists or a Nac Mac Feegle (who aren’t human, but you get my point).

Love, romance and sex is something we all have in common and with even a medium cast of characters, it’s going to have to make an appearance.

So there ner. Now I can get back to writing about my fiery, wacky heroines falling in love, being sexually attracted to other people and enjoying some romance without worrying that people are going to point and laugh at me while calling me a girl.

And because I’m a girl, here is the best ending to a film. Ever.



3 responses to “I’m a girl and proud

  1. I can’t write romance the way a true romance reader would appreciate – even though my genre has mainly female authors ( uf and pnr) . I can write a romantic element, but apparently, romance readers are very particular about what they like. I’m writing urban fantasy – and although there is romance, the book could survive without it. But I do enjoy the tension 🙂 It’s always simmering away in the background.

    • That’s it! It’s always simmering in the background.
      And that’s where it belongs in these genres I think, and nothing wrong with that at all. The main plot could survive without it, but it adds to the character development. And, especially with a gloomy plot line, it can add some sunshine.
      I hadn’t thought about romance readers being very particular. It makes a lot of sense, I guess that’s why I can’t stand to read proper romance books 🙂

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