Gender Defender

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By Susan/Miranda

If the book you’re reading now didn’t have an author’s name on the cover, could you tell if it was written by a woman, or a man?

This is a heated question in my house, with both a male and a female reader (aka my DH and me) ready to jump into the fray.  I maintain that in too many books written by men, the female characters are perfunctory stereotypes at best, placekeepers of the worst sort: the hero’s overbearing mother, his girlfriend of the moment, his young daughter in jeopardy, the sweet old lady downstairs who’s murdered, the vixen of a villainess. 

We’re not just discussing manly genre books (otherwise locally known as “Dad’s boom-booms”), either. Girlsroom
There are plenty of well-regarded male writers, past and present, who seem to falter when it comes to creating women worthy of their heroes.  Too often there’s a hollowness to the heroine, a lack of emotional depth that, as a female reader, I instantly sense.  Somehow these women just don’t behave right.

But turn-around’s fair play, and my DH says exactly the same thing about many of the books I like by women authors (including, alas, a number of my writer-friends).  He’ll concede that the writing’s first-rate, the plot’s well-paced, the research is everything you’d want to Boysroom
support the story, but the hero –– well, he has no use at all for the heroes.  He claims they’re too sensitive, too thoughtful, too reflective, too downright talky, to be real.  Worse, he says that the harder a female writer tries to write a tough-guy, the more false the poor shmoo will ring to a male readers ears.

As a writer, I know it’s not easy to create ANY character, regardless of the gender.  I’ve lived my whole life among menfolk, but I still can’t begin to know all the laws of their particular planet.  Whenever (and writing romance, you know it’s not often) I hear from a male reader, praising something that one of my heros did or thought, I’m overjoyed, and relieved, too.  It’s a tricky challenge to make work.  One of the things I like best about writing novels  in the first person (like King’s Favorite and Duchess) is that I can stay inside my heroine’s head, and leave the hero to think whatever “Man Show” thoughts he may choose, unassisted by me. Womensroombabe

But back to my reader-role.  I’ll hasten to say that this gender-bias doesn’t hold true for every book.  There ARE plenty of wonderful male characters written by women, and women written by men.   But there are also too many of the other kind to be ignored. 

I’m not talking about women writing behind a male pseudonym –– Georges-Sand-syndrome –– to gain respect from the literary establishment.  Though, sadly, things haven’t changed that much since Marianne’s time, either, not if you count the number of favorable reviews for male-written books in the Sunday New York Times Review of Books versus the number by women-writers. If you’re a woman writing macho-commando books, you still better abbreviate your name into genderless initials if you want to sell in an equally-macho market, just as the handful of male romance Mensroombodybuilder
writers publish their love stories under female pen-names.

No, I’m speaking as reader expressing certain, ahem, frustrations.  Would Inman have fought through so much to return home only to die on his doorstep if Cold Mountain had been written by a woman?  Wouldn’t a woman writer have given the namesake of Memoirs of Geisha a bit more emotional depth to balance out the fascinating history that filled the rest of the book?  Couldn’t Horatio Hornblower have found true love with a woman who was less of a man than the weather-beaten Lady Barbara?  And wasn’t there some way that  Love Story could have remained a love story without killing off poor Jenny and leaving Oliver so pathetically adrift?                                                                                                            

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What about you?  Have you ever read a book where the writer betrayed her or his own gender by a
lack of empathy or understanding for the characters playing on the other team?  Have you ever wondered how differently a book would have been written by a man –– or a woman?  Or do you think this is all a bunch o’ hooey, and there’s no difference at all?

120 thoughts on “Gender Defender”

  1. I think one reason Wally Lamb wowed the world is that he wrote She’s Come Undone in such an incredibly sympathetic way that people couldn’t believe a guy could know so much about a girl.
    That said, I think (hell, I know) I make my heroes totally different from real men. I see enough of real men in real life to want to see something different in fiction!

    Reply
  2. I think one reason Wally Lamb wowed the world is that he wrote She’s Come Undone in such an incredibly sympathetic way that people couldn’t believe a guy could know so much about a girl.
    That said, I think (hell, I know) I make my heroes totally different from real men. I see enough of real men in real life to want to see something different in fiction!

    Reply
  3. I think one reason Wally Lamb wowed the world is that he wrote She’s Come Undone in such an incredibly sympathetic way that people couldn’t believe a guy could know so much about a girl.
    That said, I think (hell, I know) I make my heroes totally different from real men. I see enough of real men in real life to want to see something different in fiction!

    Reply
  4. I think one reason Wally Lamb wowed the world is that he wrote She’s Come Undone in such an incredibly sympathetic way that people couldn’t believe a guy could know so much about a girl.
    That said, I think (hell, I know) I make my heroes totally different from real men. I see enough of real men in real life to want to see something different in fiction!

    Reply
  5. I think one reason Wally Lamb wowed the world is that he wrote She’s Come Undone in such an incredibly sympathetic way that people couldn’t believe a guy could know so much about a girl.
    That said, I think (hell, I know) I make my heroes totally different from real men. I see enough of real men in real life to want to see something different in fiction!

    Reply
  6. I have had my suspicions about a writer who did a number of historical romances but now writes in another genre. The name was a woman’s, and so was the photo on the cover- which never changed- the same photo was used for years. But it was the depiction of the female characters that made me suspect that they were written by a man.To wit: the heroine was always very fully described physically- and she was always perfect.(I think women writers always make the heroine someone a woman can identify or at least sympathize with- that means she has to have a few flaws)Also, there were never any sympathetic older female characters- they were inevitably jealous or downright evil. The characters were always pretty stereotyped in general, and the emphasis in the books was more on action- I also think of this as a masculine style. The author always seemed to write more about the hero’s point of view, as well. But of course I never knew for sure. And I enjoyed the stories anyway. Do the wenches know who the male writers are? Are you under oath not to reveal, or can you let us in on the secret? I am very curious.

    Reply
  7. I have had my suspicions about a writer who did a number of historical romances but now writes in another genre. The name was a woman’s, and so was the photo on the cover- which never changed- the same photo was used for years. But it was the depiction of the female characters that made me suspect that they were written by a man.To wit: the heroine was always very fully described physically- and she was always perfect.(I think women writers always make the heroine someone a woman can identify or at least sympathize with- that means she has to have a few flaws)Also, there were never any sympathetic older female characters- they were inevitably jealous or downright evil. The characters were always pretty stereotyped in general, and the emphasis in the books was more on action- I also think of this as a masculine style. The author always seemed to write more about the hero’s point of view, as well. But of course I never knew for sure. And I enjoyed the stories anyway. Do the wenches know who the male writers are? Are you under oath not to reveal, or can you let us in on the secret? I am very curious.

    Reply
  8. I have had my suspicions about a writer who did a number of historical romances but now writes in another genre. The name was a woman’s, and so was the photo on the cover- which never changed- the same photo was used for years. But it was the depiction of the female characters that made me suspect that they were written by a man.To wit: the heroine was always very fully described physically- and she was always perfect.(I think women writers always make the heroine someone a woman can identify or at least sympathize with- that means she has to have a few flaws)Also, there were never any sympathetic older female characters- they were inevitably jealous or downright evil. The characters were always pretty stereotyped in general, and the emphasis in the books was more on action- I also think of this as a masculine style. The author always seemed to write more about the hero’s point of view, as well. But of course I never knew for sure. And I enjoyed the stories anyway. Do the wenches know who the male writers are? Are you under oath not to reveal, or can you let us in on the secret? I am very curious.

    Reply
  9. I have had my suspicions about a writer who did a number of historical romances but now writes in another genre. The name was a woman’s, and so was the photo on the cover- which never changed- the same photo was used for years. But it was the depiction of the female characters that made me suspect that they were written by a man.To wit: the heroine was always very fully described physically- and she was always perfect.(I think women writers always make the heroine someone a woman can identify or at least sympathize with- that means she has to have a few flaws)Also, there were never any sympathetic older female characters- they were inevitably jealous or downright evil. The characters were always pretty stereotyped in general, and the emphasis in the books was more on action- I also think of this as a masculine style. The author always seemed to write more about the hero’s point of view, as well. But of course I never knew for sure. And I enjoyed the stories anyway. Do the wenches know who the male writers are? Are you under oath not to reveal, or can you let us in on the secret? I am very curious.

    Reply
  10. I have had my suspicions about a writer who did a number of historical romances but now writes in another genre. The name was a woman’s, and so was the photo on the cover- which never changed- the same photo was used for years. But it was the depiction of the female characters that made me suspect that they were written by a man.To wit: the heroine was always very fully described physically- and she was always perfect.(I think women writers always make the heroine someone a woman can identify or at least sympathize with- that means she has to have a few flaws)Also, there were never any sympathetic older female characters- they were inevitably jealous or downright evil. The characters were always pretty stereotyped in general, and the emphasis in the books was more on action- I also think of this as a masculine style. The author always seemed to write more about the hero’s point of view, as well. But of course I never knew for sure. And I enjoyed the stories anyway. Do the wenches know who the male writers are? Are you under oath not to reveal, or can you let us in on the secret? I am very curious.

    Reply
  11. Maggie,
    The power to make our heroes do what we want them to do is a wonderful one — and I’m sure our heroines are grateful for it, too. *g*
    Gretchen,
    I know of two male romance writers in print under female pen names: the late Tom Huff (aka Jennifer Wilde, Edwina Marlow, Beatrice Parker, and Katherine St. Clair), who wrote several big bestsellers in the 80s, just as the historical romance sub-genre was beginning, and Harold Lowry (aka Leigh Greenwood), who is so open about his writing that he was elected as president of Romance Writers of America. There are probably others that I just don’t know about — though I do like the idea of a sworn oath to protect their identities!
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  12. Maggie,
    The power to make our heroes do what we want them to do is a wonderful one — and I’m sure our heroines are grateful for it, too. *g*
    Gretchen,
    I know of two male romance writers in print under female pen names: the late Tom Huff (aka Jennifer Wilde, Edwina Marlow, Beatrice Parker, and Katherine St. Clair), who wrote several big bestsellers in the 80s, just as the historical romance sub-genre was beginning, and Harold Lowry (aka Leigh Greenwood), who is so open about his writing that he was elected as president of Romance Writers of America. There are probably others that I just don’t know about — though I do like the idea of a sworn oath to protect their identities!
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  13. Maggie,
    The power to make our heroes do what we want them to do is a wonderful one — and I’m sure our heroines are grateful for it, too. *g*
    Gretchen,
    I know of two male romance writers in print under female pen names: the late Tom Huff (aka Jennifer Wilde, Edwina Marlow, Beatrice Parker, and Katherine St. Clair), who wrote several big bestsellers in the 80s, just as the historical romance sub-genre was beginning, and Harold Lowry (aka Leigh Greenwood), who is so open about his writing that he was elected as president of Romance Writers of America. There are probably others that I just don’t know about — though I do like the idea of a sworn oath to protect their identities!
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  14. Maggie,
    The power to make our heroes do what we want them to do is a wonderful one — and I’m sure our heroines are grateful for it, too. *g*
    Gretchen,
    I know of two male romance writers in print under female pen names: the late Tom Huff (aka Jennifer Wilde, Edwina Marlow, Beatrice Parker, and Katherine St. Clair), who wrote several big bestsellers in the 80s, just as the historical romance sub-genre was beginning, and Harold Lowry (aka Leigh Greenwood), who is so open about his writing that he was elected as president of Romance Writers of America. There are probably others that I just don’t know about — though I do like the idea of a sworn oath to protect their identities!
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  15. Maggie,
    The power to make our heroes do what we want them to do is a wonderful one — and I’m sure our heroines are grateful for it, too. *g*
    Gretchen,
    I know of two male romance writers in print under female pen names: the late Tom Huff (aka Jennifer Wilde, Edwina Marlow, Beatrice Parker, and Katherine St. Clair), who wrote several big bestsellers in the 80s, just as the historical romance sub-genre was beginning, and Harold Lowry (aka Leigh Greenwood), who is so open about his writing that he was elected as president of Romance Writers of America. There are probably others that I just don’t know about — though I do like the idea of a sworn oath to protect their identities!
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  16. I have the line from Victor/Victoria running through my head: “Your problem, Mr. Marchand, is that you’re preoccupied with stereotypes. I think it’s as simple as you’re one kind of man, I’m another.”
    I often read books written by women and I just don’t *get* their female characters. In fact, I don’t like them. I wouldn’t want to know them, and I don’t want them to have a happy ending. I try to put this down to the fact that clearly I’m “one type of woman” and the writer is “another”. *shrug*
    A lot of men I know like to say that romances portray men in some idealized, feminized form or some such nonsense, but when I watch the way men behave, not when they’re scratching watching “the game”, but when they’re heartbroken, or enraptured with their new baby, I KNOW they have the same inner workings as women (as much as their everyday behavior might make me doubt it on occasion!).
    There are writers out there that just don’t seem to be able to write the other sex in a believable manner, though. Nick Hornby springs to mind for me. I LOVE his books (at least I love all the ones written from a male POV), but when he tried to write one from a woman’s POV (HOW TO BE GOOD), the book just didn’t work. And it didn’t work because he clearly doesn’t *get* women (which kind of explains all the issues/problems his male characters have struggled with over the years . . . ).

    Reply
  17. I have the line from Victor/Victoria running through my head: “Your problem, Mr. Marchand, is that you’re preoccupied with stereotypes. I think it’s as simple as you’re one kind of man, I’m another.”
    I often read books written by women and I just don’t *get* their female characters. In fact, I don’t like them. I wouldn’t want to know them, and I don’t want them to have a happy ending. I try to put this down to the fact that clearly I’m “one type of woman” and the writer is “another”. *shrug*
    A lot of men I know like to say that romances portray men in some idealized, feminized form or some such nonsense, but when I watch the way men behave, not when they’re scratching watching “the game”, but when they’re heartbroken, or enraptured with their new baby, I KNOW they have the same inner workings as women (as much as their everyday behavior might make me doubt it on occasion!).
    There are writers out there that just don’t seem to be able to write the other sex in a believable manner, though. Nick Hornby springs to mind for me. I LOVE his books (at least I love all the ones written from a male POV), but when he tried to write one from a woman’s POV (HOW TO BE GOOD), the book just didn’t work. And it didn’t work because he clearly doesn’t *get* women (which kind of explains all the issues/problems his male characters have struggled with over the years . . . ).

    Reply
  18. I have the line from Victor/Victoria running through my head: “Your problem, Mr. Marchand, is that you’re preoccupied with stereotypes. I think it’s as simple as you’re one kind of man, I’m another.”
    I often read books written by women and I just don’t *get* their female characters. In fact, I don’t like them. I wouldn’t want to know them, and I don’t want them to have a happy ending. I try to put this down to the fact that clearly I’m “one type of woman” and the writer is “another”. *shrug*
    A lot of men I know like to say that romances portray men in some idealized, feminized form or some such nonsense, but when I watch the way men behave, not when they’re scratching watching “the game”, but when they’re heartbroken, or enraptured with their new baby, I KNOW they have the same inner workings as women (as much as their everyday behavior might make me doubt it on occasion!).
    There are writers out there that just don’t seem to be able to write the other sex in a believable manner, though. Nick Hornby springs to mind for me. I LOVE his books (at least I love all the ones written from a male POV), but when he tried to write one from a woman’s POV (HOW TO BE GOOD), the book just didn’t work. And it didn’t work because he clearly doesn’t *get* women (which kind of explains all the issues/problems his male characters have struggled with over the years . . . ).

    Reply
  19. I have the line from Victor/Victoria running through my head: “Your problem, Mr. Marchand, is that you’re preoccupied with stereotypes. I think it’s as simple as you’re one kind of man, I’m another.”
    I often read books written by women and I just don’t *get* their female characters. In fact, I don’t like them. I wouldn’t want to know them, and I don’t want them to have a happy ending. I try to put this down to the fact that clearly I’m “one type of woman” and the writer is “another”. *shrug*
    A lot of men I know like to say that romances portray men in some idealized, feminized form or some such nonsense, but when I watch the way men behave, not when they’re scratching watching “the game”, but when they’re heartbroken, or enraptured with their new baby, I KNOW they have the same inner workings as women (as much as their everyday behavior might make me doubt it on occasion!).
    There are writers out there that just don’t seem to be able to write the other sex in a believable manner, though. Nick Hornby springs to mind for me. I LOVE his books (at least I love all the ones written from a male POV), but when he tried to write one from a woman’s POV (HOW TO BE GOOD), the book just didn’t work. And it didn’t work because he clearly doesn’t *get* women (which kind of explains all the issues/problems his male characters have struggled with over the years . . . ).

    Reply
  20. I have the line from Victor/Victoria running through my head: “Your problem, Mr. Marchand, is that you’re preoccupied with stereotypes. I think it’s as simple as you’re one kind of man, I’m another.”
    I often read books written by women and I just don’t *get* their female characters. In fact, I don’t like them. I wouldn’t want to know them, and I don’t want them to have a happy ending. I try to put this down to the fact that clearly I’m “one type of woman” and the writer is “another”. *shrug*
    A lot of men I know like to say that romances portray men in some idealized, feminized form or some such nonsense, but when I watch the way men behave, not when they’re scratching watching “the game”, but when they’re heartbroken, or enraptured with their new baby, I KNOW they have the same inner workings as women (as much as their everyday behavior might make me doubt it on occasion!).
    There are writers out there that just don’t seem to be able to write the other sex in a believable manner, though. Nick Hornby springs to mind for me. I LOVE his books (at least I love all the ones written from a male POV), but when he tried to write one from a woman’s POV (HOW TO BE GOOD), the book just didn’t work. And it didn’t work because he clearly doesn’t *get* women (which kind of explains all the issues/problems his male characters have struggled with over the years . . . ).

    Reply
  21. Margaret,
    You just answered one of my recent mysteries — is Jude Morgan a man or woman? Obviously I didn’t care enough to do the most cursory search on Google or I would have found out, but now I know HE is the author of one of my favorite Restoration-set novels, “The King’s Touch”, about the Duke of Monmouth. But clearly his publisher would rather be coy, for whatever reason: the author bio on his books is so carefully worded, that I’d always wondered….
    No matter: he’s a very good writer, regardless of being a Jude or a Judy. *g*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  22. Margaret,
    You just answered one of my recent mysteries — is Jude Morgan a man or woman? Obviously I didn’t care enough to do the most cursory search on Google or I would have found out, but now I know HE is the author of one of my favorite Restoration-set novels, “The King’s Touch”, about the Duke of Monmouth. But clearly his publisher would rather be coy, for whatever reason: the author bio on his books is so carefully worded, that I’d always wondered….
    No matter: he’s a very good writer, regardless of being a Jude or a Judy. *g*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  23. Margaret,
    You just answered one of my recent mysteries — is Jude Morgan a man or woman? Obviously I didn’t care enough to do the most cursory search on Google or I would have found out, but now I know HE is the author of one of my favorite Restoration-set novels, “The King’s Touch”, about the Duke of Monmouth. But clearly his publisher would rather be coy, for whatever reason: the author bio on his books is so carefully worded, that I’d always wondered….
    No matter: he’s a very good writer, regardless of being a Jude or a Judy. *g*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  24. Margaret,
    You just answered one of my recent mysteries — is Jude Morgan a man or woman? Obviously I didn’t care enough to do the most cursory search on Google or I would have found out, but now I know HE is the author of one of my favorite Restoration-set novels, “The King’s Touch”, about the Duke of Monmouth. But clearly his publisher would rather be coy, for whatever reason: the author bio on his books is so carefully worded, that I’d always wondered….
    No matter: he’s a very good writer, regardless of being a Jude or a Judy. *g*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  25. Margaret,
    You just answered one of my recent mysteries — is Jude Morgan a man or woman? Obviously I didn’t care enough to do the most cursory search on Google or I would have found out, but now I know HE is the author of one of my favorite Restoration-set novels, “The King’s Touch”, about the Duke of Monmouth. But clearly his publisher would rather be coy, for whatever reason: the author bio on his books is so carefully worded, that I’d always wondered….
    No matter: he’s a very good writer, regardless of being a Jude or a Judy. *g*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  26. The late Winston Graham, author of the Poldark series, wrote some very believable and memorable women. I might even argue that Demelza, the main heroine of the Poldark saga, is more vivid than the hero, though I love both characters. Demelza was probably Graham’s favorite too–readers spend much of the time in her head, especially as the series progresses.

    Reply
  27. The late Winston Graham, author of the Poldark series, wrote some very believable and memorable women. I might even argue that Demelza, the main heroine of the Poldark saga, is more vivid than the hero, though I love both characters. Demelza was probably Graham’s favorite too–readers spend much of the time in her head, especially as the series progresses.

    Reply
  28. The late Winston Graham, author of the Poldark series, wrote some very believable and memorable women. I might even argue that Demelza, the main heroine of the Poldark saga, is more vivid than the hero, though I love both characters. Demelza was probably Graham’s favorite too–readers spend much of the time in her head, especially as the series progresses.

    Reply
  29. The late Winston Graham, author of the Poldark series, wrote some very believable and memorable women. I might even argue that Demelza, the main heroine of the Poldark saga, is more vivid than the hero, though I love both characters. Demelza was probably Graham’s favorite too–readers spend much of the time in her head, especially as the series progresses.

    Reply
  30. The late Winston Graham, author of the Poldark series, wrote some very believable and memorable women. I might even argue that Demelza, the main heroine of the Poldark saga, is more vivid than the hero, though I love both characters. Demelza was probably Graham’s favorite too–readers spend much of the time in her head, especially as the series progresses.

    Reply
  31. You’re so right about the gender divide, Susan Miranda! I don’t worry about strict accuracy as long as I can suspend disbelief and like the characters. So romance heroes (mine included) are more introspective and sensitive than the norm. They may be statistical outliers, but not quite impossible. 🙂
    Lois McMaster Bujold indeed writes fabulous characters, both male and female. I don’t worry if they’re exactly right–what matters is that I believe in them as characters.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  32. You’re so right about the gender divide, Susan Miranda! I don’t worry about strict accuracy as long as I can suspend disbelief and like the characters. So romance heroes (mine included) are more introspective and sensitive than the norm. They may be statistical outliers, but not quite impossible. 🙂
    Lois McMaster Bujold indeed writes fabulous characters, both male and female. I don’t worry if they’re exactly right–what matters is that I believe in them as characters.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  33. You’re so right about the gender divide, Susan Miranda! I don’t worry about strict accuracy as long as I can suspend disbelief and like the characters. So romance heroes (mine included) are more introspective and sensitive than the norm. They may be statistical outliers, but not quite impossible. 🙂
    Lois McMaster Bujold indeed writes fabulous characters, both male and female. I don’t worry if they’re exactly right–what matters is that I believe in them as characters.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  34. You’re so right about the gender divide, Susan Miranda! I don’t worry about strict accuracy as long as I can suspend disbelief and like the characters. So romance heroes (mine included) are more introspective and sensitive than the norm. They may be statistical outliers, but not quite impossible. 🙂
    Lois McMaster Bujold indeed writes fabulous characters, both male and female. I don’t worry if they’re exactly right–what matters is that I believe in them as characters.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  35. You’re so right about the gender divide, Susan Miranda! I don’t worry about strict accuracy as long as I can suspend disbelief and like the characters. So romance heroes (mine included) are more introspective and sensitive than the norm. They may be statistical outliers, but not quite impossible. 🙂
    Lois McMaster Bujold indeed writes fabulous characters, both male and female. I don’t worry if they’re exactly right–what matters is that I believe in them as characters.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  36. Peter O’Donnell wrote a number of romantic suspense novels as “Madeleine Brent”; mostly told from the heroine’s first-person PoV and very believable. I was astonished to find the author was male.
    I don’t think much of Jane Austen’s heroes, with the exception of Mr. Knightley and Darcy (can’t say about the hero of PERSUASION as I only read it once, years ago). And the hero of MIDDLEMARCH is, as C.S. Lewis so aptly put it, “a stick.”
    Dorothy L. Sayers was once asked by a gentleman sitting next to her at a dinner party how she managed to depict male conversation so accurately: did she perhaps have many brothers and male cousins? No, she replied; she was an only child, educated at home, and had scarcely even met members of the opposite sex until she went to university. “But,” she continued, “I simply try to make my male characters converse, as much as possible, like human beings.”
    And the last in this collection of random observations:
    James Tiptree, Jr., won four Hugo and Nebula awards. In 1977, it was revealed that Tiptree was really Alice Sheldon. Except for an award in 1977 under yet another pseudonym), she never won another.

    Reply
  37. Peter O’Donnell wrote a number of romantic suspense novels as “Madeleine Brent”; mostly told from the heroine’s first-person PoV and very believable. I was astonished to find the author was male.
    I don’t think much of Jane Austen’s heroes, with the exception of Mr. Knightley and Darcy (can’t say about the hero of PERSUASION as I only read it once, years ago). And the hero of MIDDLEMARCH is, as C.S. Lewis so aptly put it, “a stick.”
    Dorothy L. Sayers was once asked by a gentleman sitting next to her at a dinner party how she managed to depict male conversation so accurately: did she perhaps have many brothers and male cousins? No, she replied; she was an only child, educated at home, and had scarcely even met members of the opposite sex until she went to university. “But,” she continued, “I simply try to make my male characters converse, as much as possible, like human beings.”
    And the last in this collection of random observations:
    James Tiptree, Jr., won four Hugo and Nebula awards. In 1977, it was revealed that Tiptree was really Alice Sheldon. Except for an award in 1977 under yet another pseudonym), she never won another.

    Reply
  38. Peter O’Donnell wrote a number of romantic suspense novels as “Madeleine Brent”; mostly told from the heroine’s first-person PoV and very believable. I was astonished to find the author was male.
    I don’t think much of Jane Austen’s heroes, with the exception of Mr. Knightley and Darcy (can’t say about the hero of PERSUASION as I only read it once, years ago). And the hero of MIDDLEMARCH is, as C.S. Lewis so aptly put it, “a stick.”
    Dorothy L. Sayers was once asked by a gentleman sitting next to her at a dinner party how she managed to depict male conversation so accurately: did she perhaps have many brothers and male cousins? No, she replied; she was an only child, educated at home, and had scarcely even met members of the opposite sex until she went to university. “But,” she continued, “I simply try to make my male characters converse, as much as possible, like human beings.”
    And the last in this collection of random observations:
    James Tiptree, Jr., won four Hugo and Nebula awards. In 1977, it was revealed that Tiptree was really Alice Sheldon. Except for an award in 1977 under yet another pseudonym), she never won another.

    Reply
  39. Peter O’Donnell wrote a number of romantic suspense novels as “Madeleine Brent”; mostly told from the heroine’s first-person PoV and very believable. I was astonished to find the author was male.
    I don’t think much of Jane Austen’s heroes, with the exception of Mr. Knightley and Darcy (can’t say about the hero of PERSUASION as I only read it once, years ago). And the hero of MIDDLEMARCH is, as C.S. Lewis so aptly put it, “a stick.”
    Dorothy L. Sayers was once asked by a gentleman sitting next to her at a dinner party how she managed to depict male conversation so accurately: did she perhaps have many brothers and male cousins? No, she replied; she was an only child, educated at home, and had scarcely even met members of the opposite sex until she went to university. “But,” she continued, “I simply try to make my male characters converse, as much as possible, like human beings.”
    And the last in this collection of random observations:
    James Tiptree, Jr., won four Hugo and Nebula awards. In 1977, it was revealed that Tiptree was really Alice Sheldon. Except for an award in 1977 under yet another pseudonym), she never won another.

    Reply
  40. Peter O’Donnell wrote a number of romantic suspense novels as “Madeleine Brent”; mostly told from the heroine’s first-person PoV and very believable. I was astonished to find the author was male.
    I don’t think much of Jane Austen’s heroes, with the exception of Mr. Knightley and Darcy (can’t say about the hero of PERSUASION as I only read it once, years ago). And the hero of MIDDLEMARCH is, as C.S. Lewis so aptly put it, “a stick.”
    Dorothy L. Sayers was once asked by a gentleman sitting next to her at a dinner party how she managed to depict male conversation so accurately: did she perhaps have many brothers and male cousins? No, she replied; she was an only child, educated at home, and had scarcely even met members of the opposite sex until she went to university. “But,” she continued, “I simply try to make my male characters converse, as much as possible, like human beings.”
    And the last in this collection of random observations:
    James Tiptree, Jr., won four Hugo and Nebula awards. In 1977, it was revealed that Tiptree was really Alice Sheldon. Except for an award in 1977 under yet another pseudonym), she never won another.

    Reply
  41. Excellent blog, Susan/Miranda. I’m one of those who can usually tell when a book is written by a man or a woman, and so I do try to adjust my brain when creating characters, because, yes, I like the general gender differences (as MJP points out–there are outliers in both cases)& think they offer all kinds of creative opportunities. I agree that heroes in many otherwise fabulous books often lack the depth we find in the women characters, and, in the case of male authors, that the reverse is often true. But I think when Eliot draws a stick, she sees the character as a stick. She doesn’t hesitate to tell us what she thinks is going on in a man’s head, and I’ve found her wonderfully insightful–as well as funny. But then, she’s an omniscient narrator, and that’s a whole different approach to characters than the one we take in romance, where writers tend to work in second person (sometimes first person) POV. When I read her and Austen and Dickens and so on, I have different character expectations than when I’m reading genre fiction from the 20th & 21st century.

    Reply
  42. Excellent blog, Susan/Miranda. I’m one of those who can usually tell when a book is written by a man or a woman, and so I do try to adjust my brain when creating characters, because, yes, I like the general gender differences (as MJP points out–there are outliers in both cases)& think they offer all kinds of creative opportunities. I agree that heroes in many otherwise fabulous books often lack the depth we find in the women characters, and, in the case of male authors, that the reverse is often true. But I think when Eliot draws a stick, she sees the character as a stick. She doesn’t hesitate to tell us what she thinks is going on in a man’s head, and I’ve found her wonderfully insightful–as well as funny. But then, she’s an omniscient narrator, and that’s a whole different approach to characters than the one we take in romance, where writers tend to work in second person (sometimes first person) POV. When I read her and Austen and Dickens and so on, I have different character expectations than when I’m reading genre fiction from the 20th & 21st century.

    Reply
  43. Excellent blog, Susan/Miranda. I’m one of those who can usually tell when a book is written by a man or a woman, and so I do try to adjust my brain when creating characters, because, yes, I like the general gender differences (as MJP points out–there are outliers in both cases)& think they offer all kinds of creative opportunities. I agree that heroes in many otherwise fabulous books often lack the depth we find in the women characters, and, in the case of male authors, that the reverse is often true. But I think when Eliot draws a stick, she sees the character as a stick. She doesn’t hesitate to tell us what she thinks is going on in a man’s head, and I’ve found her wonderfully insightful–as well as funny. But then, she’s an omniscient narrator, and that’s a whole different approach to characters than the one we take in romance, where writers tend to work in second person (sometimes first person) POV. When I read her and Austen and Dickens and so on, I have different character expectations than when I’m reading genre fiction from the 20th & 21st century.

    Reply
  44. Excellent blog, Susan/Miranda. I’m one of those who can usually tell when a book is written by a man or a woman, and so I do try to adjust my brain when creating characters, because, yes, I like the general gender differences (as MJP points out–there are outliers in both cases)& think they offer all kinds of creative opportunities. I agree that heroes in many otherwise fabulous books often lack the depth we find in the women characters, and, in the case of male authors, that the reverse is often true. But I think when Eliot draws a stick, she sees the character as a stick. She doesn’t hesitate to tell us what she thinks is going on in a man’s head, and I’ve found her wonderfully insightful–as well as funny. But then, she’s an omniscient narrator, and that’s a whole different approach to characters than the one we take in romance, where writers tend to work in second person (sometimes first person) POV. When I read her and Austen and Dickens and so on, I have different character expectations than when I’m reading genre fiction from the 20th & 21st century.

    Reply
  45. Excellent blog, Susan/Miranda. I’m one of those who can usually tell when a book is written by a man or a woman, and so I do try to adjust my brain when creating characters, because, yes, I like the general gender differences (as MJP points out–there are outliers in both cases)& think they offer all kinds of creative opportunities. I agree that heroes in many otherwise fabulous books often lack the depth we find in the women characters, and, in the case of male authors, that the reverse is often true. But I think when Eliot draws a stick, she sees the character as a stick. She doesn’t hesitate to tell us what she thinks is going on in a man’s head, and I’ve found her wonderfully insightful–as well as funny. But then, she’s an omniscient narrator, and that’s a whole different approach to characters than the one we take in romance, where writers tend to work in second person (sometimes first person) POV. When I read her and Austen and Dickens and so on, I have different character expectations than when I’m reading genre fiction from the 20th & 21st century.

    Reply
  46. Yes, I agree that many writers write less-realistic characters of the other gender. When I read Searching for Jane Eyre, I wished the author had made the protagonist a man, because to me Thursday didn’t seem like a woman.
    Would I want a romance hero that acted and thought the way real men do? I doubt it ^_^;;
    Just as 99% of life doesn’t consist of the conflict that runs through a typical romance novel, a real man doesn’t act like a typical romance hero 99% of the time.

    Reply
  47. Yes, I agree that many writers write less-realistic characters of the other gender. When I read Searching for Jane Eyre, I wished the author had made the protagonist a man, because to me Thursday didn’t seem like a woman.
    Would I want a romance hero that acted and thought the way real men do? I doubt it ^_^;;
    Just as 99% of life doesn’t consist of the conflict that runs through a typical romance novel, a real man doesn’t act like a typical romance hero 99% of the time.

    Reply
  48. Yes, I agree that many writers write less-realistic characters of the other gender. When I read Searching for Jane Eyre, I wished the author had made the protagonist a man, because to me Thursday didn’t seem like a woman.
    Would I want a romance hero that acted and thought the way real men do? I doubt it ^_^;;
    Just as 99% of life doesn’t consist of the conflict that runs through a typical romance novel, a real man doesn’t act like a typical romance hero 99% of the time.

    Reply
  49. Yes, I agree that many writers write less-realistic characters of the other gender. When I read Searching for Jane Eyre, I wished the author had made the protagonist a man, because to me Thursday didn’t seem like a woman.
    Would I want a romance hero that acted and thought the way real men do? I doubt it ^_^;;
    Just as 99% of life doesn’t consist of the conflict that runs through a typical romance novel, a real man doesn’t act like a typical romance hero 99% of the time.

    Reply
  50. Yes, I agree that many writers write less-realistic characters of the other gender. When I read Searching for Jane Eyre, I wished the author had made the protagonist a man, because to me Thursday didn’t seem like a woman.
    Would I want a romance hero that acted and thought the way real men do? I doubt it ^_^;;
    Just as 99% of life doesn’t consist of the conflict that runs through a typical romance novel, a real man doesn’t act like a typical romance hero 99% of the time.

    Reply
  51. Oops, I missed a finger counting. Or had a typing spasm. Third person, of course. Thanks for pointing this out. I’d hate to have readers thinking 19th C novels were written in the second person. If they weren’t already turned off to the idea of reading one, that would certainly do it!

    Reply
  52. Oops, I missed a finger counting. Or had a typing spasm. Third person, of course. Thanks for pointing this out. I’d hate to have readers thinking 19th C novels were written in the second person. If they weren’t already turned off to the idea of reading one, that would certainly do it!

    Reply
  53. Oops, I missed a finger counting. Or had a typing spasm. Third person, of course. Thanks for pointing this out. I’d hate to have readers thinking 19th C novels were written in the second person. If they weren’t already turned off to the idea of reading one, that would certainly do it!

    Reply
  54. Oops, I missed a finger counting. Or had a typing spasm. Third person, of course. Thanks for pointing this out. I’d hate to have readers thinking 19th C novels were written in the second person. If they weren’t already turned off to the idea of reading one, that would certainly do it!

    Reply
  55. Oops, I missed a finger counting. Or had a typing spasm. Third person, of course. Thanks for pointing this out. I’d hate to have readers thinking 19th C novels were written in the second person. If they weren’t already turned off to the idea of reading one, that would certainly do it!

    Reply
  56. To speak up for those 19th century British authors — I’d put Anthony Trollope in that rare class of writers whose female characters are every bit as good as his male. Maybe even better: I’ll take Lady Glencora over Planty Pall and Madame Max over Phineas Finn any day. Ahh, to be able to write like that… *g*
    Susan/Miranda, always willing to hop on the soapbox for Trollop, while waving across at Loretta on hers for Charles Dickens

    Reply
  57. To speak up for those 19th century British authors — I’d put Anthony Trollope in that rare class of writers whose female characters are every bit as good as his male. Maybe even better: I’ll take Lady Glencora over Planty Pall and Madame Max over Phineas Finn any day. Ahh, to be able to write like that… *g*
    Susan/Miranda, always willing to hop on the soapbox for Trollop, while waving across at Loretta on hers for Charles Dickens

    Reply
  58. To speak up for those 19th century British authors — I’d put Anthony Trollope in that rare class of writers whose female characters are every bit as good as his male. Maybe even better: I’ll take Lady Glencora over Planty Pall and Madame Max over Phineas Finn any day. Ahh, to be able to write like that… *g*
    Susan/Miranda, always willing to hop on the soapbox for Trollop, while waving across at Loretta on hers for Charles Dickens

    Reply
  59. To speak up for those 19th century British authors — I’d put Anthony Trollope in that rare class of writers whose female characters are every bit as good as his male. Maybe even better: I’ll take Lady Glencora over Planty Pall and Madame Max over Phineas Finn any day. Ahh, to be able to write like that… *g*
    Susan/Miranda, always willing to hop on the soapbox for Trollop, while waving across at Loretta on hers for Charles Dickens

    Reply
  60. To speak up for those 19th century British authors — I’d put Anthony Trollope in that rare class of writers whose female characters are every bit as good as his male. Maybe even better: I’ll take Lady Glencora over Planty Pall and Madame Max over Phineas Finn any day. Ahh, to be able to write like that… *g*
    Susan/Miranda, always willing to hop on the soapbox for Trollop, while waving across at Loretta on hers for Charles Dickens

    Reply
  61. It’s even more fun to read Angela Thirkell along with Trollope.
    I found her novels in the early 1950s when I was browsing the public library stacks for more Elswyth Thane.
    I was a teenager and thought her books were pure fun.
    Now there’s even an Angela Thirkell Society, with academic publications and conferences.
    Who knows which of today’s popular writers will be sanctified in decades to come 🙂

    Reply
  62. It’s even more fun to read Angela Thirkell along with Trollope.
    I found her novels in the early 1950s when I was browsing the public library stacks for more Elswyth Thane.
    I was a teenager and thought her books were pure fun.
    Now there’s even an Angela Thirkell Society, with academic publications and conferences.
    Who knows which of today’s popular writers will be sanctified in decades to come 🙂

    Reply
  63. It’s even more fun to read Angela Thirkell along with Trollope.
    I found her novels in the early 1950s when I was browsing the public library stacks for more Elswyth Thane.
    I was a teenager and thought her books were pure fun.
    Now there’s even an Angela Thirkell Society, with academic publications and conferences.
    Who knows which of today’s popular writers will be sanctified in decades to come 🙂

    Reply
  64. It’s even more fun to read Angela Thirkell along with Trollope.
    I found her novels in the early 1950s when I was browsing the public library stacks for more Elswyth Thane.
    I was a teenager and thought her books were pure fun.
    Now there’s even an Angela Thirkell Society, with academic publications and conferences.
    Who knows which of today’s popular writers will be sanctified in decades to come 🙂

    Reply
  65. It’s even more fun to read Angela Thirkell along with Trollope.
    I found her novels in the early 1950s when I was browsing the public library stacks for more Elswyth Thane.
    I was a teenager and thought her books were pure fun.
    Now there’s even an Angela Thirkell Society, with academic publications and conferences.
    Who knows which of today’s popular writers will be sanctified in decades to come 🙂

    Reply
  66. I know MIDDLEMARCH is by Eliot; I was just listing books by female authors with heroes I didn’t care for and forgot to mention I’d changed authors.
    (Speaking of female authors with male names, inserting another plug for IMPROMPTU, the film about George Sand and Chopin, starring Judy Davis, Hugh Grant, and a superb supporting cast.)
    How about going back another century for some unbelievable characters? Richardson’s Pamela and Burney’s Sir Charles Grandison.

    Reply
  67. I know MIDDLEMARCH is by Eliot; I was just listing books by female authors with heroes I didn’t care for and forgot to mention I’d changed authors.
    (Speaking of female authors with male names, inserting another plug for IMPROMPTU, the film about George Sand and Chopin, starring Judy Davis, Hugh Grant, and a superb supporting cast.)
    How about going back another century for some unbelievable characters? Richardson’s Pamela and Burney’s Sir Charles Grandison.

    Reply
  68. I know MIDDLEMARCH is by Eliot; I was just listing books by female authors with heroes I didn’t care for and forgot to mention I’d changed authors.
    (Speaking of female authors with male names, inserting another plug for IMPROMPTU, the film about George Sand and Chopin, starring Judy Davis, Hugh Grant, and a superb supporting cast.)
    How about going back another century for some unbelievable characters? Richardson’s Pamela and Burney’s Sir Charles Grandison.

    Reply
  69. I know MIDDLEMARCH is by Eliot; I was just listing books by female authors with heroes I didn’t care for and forgot to mention I’d changed authors.
    (Speaking of female authors with male names, inserting another plug for IMPROMPTU, the film about George Sand and Chopin, starring Judy Davis, Hugh Grant, and a superb supporting cast.)
    How about going back another century for some unbelievable characters? Richardson’s Pamela and Burney’s Sir Charles Grandison.

    Reply
  70. I know MIDDLEMARCH is by Eliot; I was just listing books by female authors with heroes I didn’t care for and forgot to mention I’d changed authors.
    (Speaking of female authors with male names, inserting another plug for IMPROMPTU, the film about George Sand and Chopin, starring Judy Davis, Hugh Grant, and a superb supporting cast.)
    How about going back another century for some unbelievable characters? Richardson’s Pamela and Burney’s Sir Charles Grandison.

    Reply
  71. Oh, I think there’s certainly a difference. Though I do believe that plenty of male writers can get the “hang” of staying true to feminine ways, if I have to choose either a romance written by a woman or man, I would pick the female author. (blushing)

    Reply
  72. Oh, I think there’s certainly a difference. Though I do believe that plenty of male writers can get the “hang” of staying true to feminine ways, if I have to choose either a romance written by a woman or man, I would pick the female author. (blushing)

    Reply
  73. Oh, I think there’s certainly a difference. Though I do believe that plenty of male writers can get the “hang” of staying true to feminine ways, if I have to choose either a romance written by a woman or man, I would pick the female author. (blushing)

    Reply
  74. Oh, I think there’s certainly a difference. Though I do believe that plenty of male writers can get the “hang” of staying true to feminine ways, if I have to choose either a romance written by a woman or man, I would pick the female author. (blushing)

    Reply
  75. Oh, I think there’s certainly a difference. Though I do believe that plenty of male writers can get the “hang” of staying true to feminine ways, if I have to choose either a romance written by a woman or man, I would pick the female author. (blushing)

    Reply
  76. I’m sorry if I cause any offense here, but I can’t stand Dickens’ female characters. “Pictures of perfection make me sick and wicked.” -Austen
    Dickens’ women seem to be pathetic, passive, and passing away, or, if they’re old, pure evil.
    Okay, I’m ducking before Loretta throws something at me! *g*

    Reply
  77. I’m sorry if I cause any offense here, but I can’t stand Dickens’ female characters. “Pictures of perfection make me sick and wicked.” -Austen
    Dickens’ women seem to be pathetic, passive, and passing away, or, if they’re old, pure evil.
    Okay, I’m ducking before Loretta throws something at me! *g*

    Reply
  78. I’m sorry if I cause any offense here, but I can’t stand Dickens’ female characters. “Pictures of perfection make me sick and wicked.” -Austen
    Dickens’ women seem to be pathetic, passive, and passing away, or, if they’re old, pure evil.
    Okay, I’m ducking before Loretta throws something at me! *g*

    Reply
  79. I’m sorry if I cause any offense here, but I can’t stand Dickens’ female characters. “Pictures of perfection make me sick and wicked.” -Austen
    Dickens’ women seem to be pathetic, passive, and passing away, or, if they’re old, pure evil.
    Okay, I’m ducking before Loretta throws something at me! *g*

    Reply
  80. I’m sorry if I cause any offense here, but I can’t stand Dickens’ female characters. “Pictures of perfection make me sick and wicked.” -Austen
    Dickens’ women seem to be pathetic, passive, and passing away, or, if they’re old, pure evil.
    Okay, I’m ducking before Loretta throws something at me! *g*

    Reply
  81. Given a blind taste test, I’m not sure my critical faculties could tell the difference between a male and female author prior to the 20th C. However, I do think that some authors consciously adopt what they think of as a male or female voice depending on their target audience.
    As a woman I’m generally more aware of false notes in female characters, but as the mother of 3 boys I notice mis-steps in male characterization occasionally as well.
    Among my favorite male authors for their female characters is Henry James. He’s not very kind to his female characters, but he lets them be smart and have a code of honor. They are, in that sense, independent of men for their identity, even if in the end they are done in by the men in the lives. As for Dickens, he actually writes wonderful female characters, just not the heroines. I think he was approaching a three-dimensional heroine in Lizzie Hexam in “Our Mutual Friend”, but unfortunately that was his last completed novel.

    Reply
  82. Given a blind taste test, I’m not sure my critical faculties could tell the difference between a male and female author prior to the 20th C. However, I do think that some authors consciously adopt what they think of as a male or female voice depending on their target audience.
    As a woman I’m generally more aware of false notes in female characters, but as the mother of 3 boys I notice mis-steps in male characterization occasionally as well.
    Among my favorite male authors for their female characters is Henry James. He’s not very kind to his female characters, but he lets them be smart and have a code of honor. They are, in that sense, independent of men for their identity, even if in the end they are done in by the men in the lives. As for Dickens, he actually writes wonderful female characters, just not the heroines. I think he was approaching a three-dimensional heroine in Lizzie Hexam in “Our Mutual Friend”, but unfortunately that was his last completed novel.

    Reply
  83. Given a blind taste test, I’m not sure my critical faculties could tell the difference between a male and female author prior to the 20th C. However, I do think that some authors consciously adopt what they think of as a male or female voice depending on their target audience.
    As a woman I’m generally more aware of false notes in female characters, but as the mother of 3 boys I notice mis-steps in male characterization occasionally as well.
    Among my favorite male authors for their female characters is Henry James. He’s not very kind to his female characters, but he lets them be smart and have a code of honor. They are, in that sense, independent of men for their identity, even if in the end they are done in by the men in the lives. As for Dickens, he actually writes wonderful female characters, just not the heroines. I think he was approaching a three-dimensional heroine in Lizzie Hexam in “Our Mutual Friend”, but unfortunately that was his last completed novel.

    Reply
  84. Given a blind taste test, I’m not sure my critical faculties could tell the difference between a male and female author prior to the 20th C. However, I do think that some authors consciously adopt what they think of as a male or female voice depending on their target audience.
    As a woman I’m generally more aware of false notes in female characters, but as the mother of 3 boys I notice mis-steps in male characterization occasionally as well.
    Among my favorite male authors for their female characters is Henry James. He’s not very kind to his female characters, but he lets them be smart and have a code of honor. They are, in that sense, independent of men for their identity, even if in the end they are done in by the men in the lives. As for Dickens, he actually writes wonderful female characters, just not the heroines. I think he was approaching a three-dimensional heroine in Lizzie Hexam in “Our Mutual Friend”, but unfortunately that was his last completed novel.

    Reply
  85. Given a blind taste test, I’m not sure my critical faculties could tell the difference between a male and female author prior to the 20th C. However, I do think that some authors consciously adopt what they think of as a male or female voice depending on their target audience.
    As a woman I’m generally more aware of false notes in female characters, but as the mother of 3 boys I notice mis-steps in male characterization occasionally as well.
    Among my favorite male authors for their female characters is Henry James. He’s not very kind to his female characters, but he lets them be smart and have a code of honor. They are, in that sense, independent of men for their identity, even if in the end they are done in by the men in the lives. As for Dickens, he actually writes wonderful female characters, just not the heroines. I think he was approaching a three-dimensional heroine in Lizzie Hexam in “Our Mutual Friend”, but unfortunately that was his last completed novel.

    Reply
  86. Gretchen wrote:
    “it was the depiction of the female characters that made me suspect that they were written by a man.To wit: the heroine was always very fully described physically- and she was always perfect.(I think women writers always make the heroine someone a woman can identify or at least sympathize with- that means she has to have a few flaws”
    And Barbara Cartland immediately sprang to mind as a counter-example. In all of the books I’ve read by her the heroines were very fully described physically, and they were also pure, innocent etc.

    Reply
  87. Gretchen wrote:
    “it was the depiction of the female characters that made me suspect that they were written by a man.To wit: the heroine was always very fully described physically- and she was always perfect.(I think women writers always make the heroine someone a woman can identify or at least sympathize with- that means she has to have a few flaws”
    And Barbara Cartland immediately sprang to mind as a counter-example. In all of the books I’ve read by her the heroines were very fully described physically, and they were also pure, innocent etc.

    Reply
  88. Gretchen wrote:
    “it was the depiction of the female characters that made me suspect that they were written by a man.To wit: the heroine was always very fully described physically- and she was always perfect.(I think women writers always make the heroine someone a woman can identify or at least sympathize with- that means she has to have a few flaws”
    And Barbara Cartland immediately sprang to mind as a counter-example. In all of the books I’ve read by her the heroines were very fully described physically, and they were also pure, innocent etc.

    Reply
  89. Gretchen wrote:
    “it was the depiction of the female characters that made me suspect that they were written by a man.To wit: the heroine was always very fully described physically- and she was always perfect.(I think women writers always make the heroine someone a woman can identify or at least sympathize with- that means she has to have a few flaws”
    And Barbara Cartland immediately sprang to mind as a counter-example. In all of the books I’ve read by her the heroines were very fully described physically, and they were also pure, innocent etc.

    Reply
  90. Gretchen wrote:
    “it was the depiction of the female characters that made me suspect that they were written by a man.To wit: the heroine was always very fully described physically- and she was always perfect.(I think women writers always make the heroine someone a woman can identify or at least sympathize with- that means she has to have a few flaws”
    And Barbara Cartland immediately sprang to mind as a counter-example. In all of the books I’ve read by her the heroines were very fully described physically, and they were also pure, innocent etc.

    Reply

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