If you follow my twitter or ever talk to me about television, film, or stories in any other format, you’ve probably witnessed me saying that I disliked such-and-such because of how a woman is portrayed in it. It’s not that I always want women to be displayed in a positive light, it’s that I dislike what I consider to be belittling ideas of who women are.
Make the villain a woman, sure, but don’t let her origin be a breakup or some vague bitchiness of character. Yes, those women do exist, but they’re no more worthy of storytelling than the guy who aged out of a sport and then resented being old, or the guy who just dislikes women because none of the hot ones were willing to date him. Those characters are a bit reflective of reality but are too one-dimensional to be the core of a story.
So when I see an awful television show like Covert Affairs or the justly-canceled-before-it-began Wonder Woman reboot, or a movie like Sucker Punch or Scott Pilgrim Versus The World, or try to read a book like Twilight (I couldn’t get more than a couple of pages into it) where the whole premise is: let’s accept that women are awful in _this_ way–I get irate!
Joss Whedon’s works, Philip Pullman’s books, The Hunger Games, Hanna and many other of my favorite stories teach me that women can be complex and amazing without being perfect or nice. They can be as complicated in their evil as their good, and as possessed of layers to their characters as a Sherlock or Gandalf.
But perhaps the one-dimensional-female is just too entrenched in our social psyche for the average writer to escape that trap. I think I’m fairly decent, but I’m at least an average writer. So, I put myself to the challenge: Can I write a story containing multi-dimensional women?
For the past few years, I’ve competed in the National Novel Writing Month event each November. I’ve previously gone into NaNoWriMo with no prior idea nor research for what I’d write and it’s been fun. This year, though, I’ve a germ of an idea that will include those female characters.
But, in case you didn’t know, I’m not a woman.
Because of the germ of the idea I’ve in mind, I’d like to interview at least three different women before the end of October to give me some material from which I can draw my characterizations.
Ideally, I’d like these real women to be in the Washington, DC area, strong, independent, single or recently single, and over 21 but under 40. NYC, London, New Orleans, Seattle, and LA are also fine locations for these women, because of the story I want to write. DC would be best, though, so I can conduct the interviews in person. Otherwise, I guess I can do a phone or skype interview. I guess it would take an hour or two.
I’ve actually several women in mind already, but they could all say ‘no’. So, are you up for such an interview? Do you know some woman who fits the description? Please let me know!