I chose a female protagonist for the Abigail Beson series for several reasons. First, I wanted to challenge myself to write from the perspective of a character who is substantially different from me. Second, I want my sons to encounter a female character who is strong, clever, and confident. Third, the world has far too many stories about teenage girls that devolve into love triangles.
Abigail Beson will be involved in exactly zero love triangles.
Writing ChallengeI daydream quite a bit. I frequently imagine scenarios which involve me saving a busload of people from terrorists, safely landing a 747, or getting elected president. It's easy for me to imagine myself doing awesome things. It's easy because I am me - the easiest person in the world with whom for me to empathize.
Empathizing with people who aren't me is an important skill. I've written about it in the past. It requires practice and effort. Writing from a female perspective is a strategic choice aimed at helping me better empathize with the women in my life.
Writing for my Sons
I'm waging a multi-pronged campaign to raise feminist boys.
- I talk up my wife's intelligence, strength, and expertise as often as possible. This means making sure they know "mommy is better at navigating, let's get her help figuring out where to go." or "mommy is a really good painter, you should ask her for help."
- I intentionally purchase toys which cast women in a positive, non-stereotypical light (e.g., this doctor Duplo set).
- I will guide their media consumption to focus on things which present women as strong, important, and non-stereotypical. I am writing Abigail Beson with the intent of it falling into this category.
I truly enjoy watching The Gilmore Girls. The consistent wit, political awareness, and compelling and hilarious characters make it an excellent show. However, it frustrates me that the writers continually fall back on the love triangle trope. Each time they invoke it they gain a plot arc, but their characters lose integrity and definition.
I have a similar frustration with the Hunger Games series. Katniss is awesome in books one and two, but by book three she's so caught up in the love triangle that she barely even seems like herself.
Abigail Beson will encounter romance, but I will not lean on the love-triangle crutch.