RARA-AVIS: Re: Some female writers

From: demack5@comcast.net
Date: 06 Feb 2008

Kevin wrote:

>How hard do you have to be to be hard-boiled? How tough? How colloquial?

>Or am I subjecting these women writers to to a stricter criteria than
>male authors?

>Maybe it's me, but sometimes I feel that women authors often have to
>have to pass a harsher litmus test on this list (and elsewhere) than
>many male writers.

Kevin, you raise an excellent point. I think women do tend to be judged differently than men. Women writers and protags.

I wish I had a dime for every time a critiquer has told me things like "I think you need to give your protag (female) more feelings" or "Why doesn't she have a boyfriend?" or "She's in her 30s--why isn't she married?" Not to mention that I tend to prefer imperfect resolutions to my story, where people aren't necessarily 100% happy at the end, the bad guy is identified but may get away with it, even the nice guys have a dark side and justice is done despite the system, rather than because of it. I still have people suggesting little upbeat things I can add to make my protag more "likeable" and the ending a bit more Hollywood.

OTOH, look at Phillip Marlowe. Isn't he considered a "knight errant" figure? A rescuer, who keeps going on a case, even when everyone wants him off it, because he has a code. Sounds pretty high-minded and altruistic to me. Hardly like a caveman, anyhow. But nobody considers him less hardboiled because of his nobility.


Debbi Mack
A Sam McRae Mystery

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