Re: RARA-AVIS: Macdonald: another smoke screen

From: Kerry Schooley (
Date: 03 Sep 2002

At 09:08 PM 01/09/2002 +0000, you wrote:

>>I'm just home from the St Hilda's Mystery Conference in Oxford.
>>Andrew Taylor was talking about the difficulties that he has in writing
>>major female characters in his books, and the question came up whether
>>either male or female writers can create convincing characters of the
>>opposite sex.

I'm biased toward male writers and characters. I don't think there's much difference between the sexes. Yes, women have these different hormones, but men seem to work up a irrational heads of steam for their own reasons. Men have this bit of iron in their nose that gives us a basic sense of direction, but we still get lost.

The main difference is cultural. Being physically weaker and having less authority (usually) woman may be prone to resentment (occasionally) and are forced to exercise power by proxy or in spheres left to them by men (usually).

As for an author who created accurate characters, male and female, I liked The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx. Not especially hard boiled, though it had its moments. And the protagonist was a sad-sack, but aren't we all. I also like Sparkle Hayter. Though her protagonists are female, she gets the other half of this sad-sack world pretty accurately when she gives it her attention. I wouldn't say she delves too deeply into characterization, however. Still, a dash of Sparkle goes a long way, I find.

Best Kerry

------------------------------------------------------ Literary events Calendar (South Ont.) The evil men do lives after them

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