Terra Mechanica Release and Afterthoughts

The Release Party

THE party went really well, I thought. Although I was pretty tired from a day (a whole week, in truth) of working on our new house, I was able to keep up with the Facebook traffic, and I had great fun to the point where my half-hour question/answer/contest session was over before I knew it. The other authors did a fine job, and the joint was jumping for the almost four hours I was online. (I had to bail out a little early, unfortunately, but going back over the Facebook page it looks like things stayed lively.)

Now, I would be remiss to write this without the shameless plug for the book. It’s available for Kindle, Nook, and in paperback (and keep an eye open for other formats such as Kobo).

A Question That Intrigued Me

ONE question that came up during the party: What I want to know is how do you write such intriguing female characters?

My answer to that is, I really just don’t know. It’s not something I give conscious thought to as I’m writing—I just write the characters’ actions and dialogue in a way that’s right for that person, in line with how I see them in my mind. But the question bugged me all day yesterday, and I got to thinking about it while I was working on the house. I think I might have an answer.

I’ve never thought of women as being “like men, only less.” For me, women are “like men, but a bit different in some ways.” I think it’s daft not to acknowledge that men are, on average, physically stronger than women. And I don’t think it should be a surprise to anyone if I suggest that women think about things in a different way. Not a wrong way, or an inferior way—just different. I suspect that’s a biological difference.

And women—on average—tend to be more expressive when it comes to emotions. In my view, men can be just as emotional, but we tend to keep things inside more, the result being that women might seem weak in that regard, in the same way that men who wear their hearts on their sleeves often seem weak to the macho men. I tend to think this is more from cultural pressures than biological imperatives.

The point is, I don’t think of women as property, or skivvies, or as some kind of appendage dependent on men. Psychologically, mentally, women are in general at least as strong as men. They can be just as determined, just as assertive, and more. And that, I think, comes across when I write the words and actions and thoughts of my female characters.

Is that the answer? I don’t know for certain, but I do know I’ll continue to write my characters—male and female—in the same way, because honestly I don’t know any other way to write them. I’d have a hard time writing female characters that had no substance to them, mere shadows cast by the light of men, dependent and submissive. Some of my readers might be old enough to remember a certain series of science-fiction/fantasy books that began in the sixties and is still, unfortunately, going strong; books that objectify women and portray them as enjoying or even needing to be treated that way. I made the mistake of reading one once.  I’m not about to mention it by name because while I’m not in favour of censorship, I think misogynistic tripe like that should be marginalised and forgotten in this, the twenty-first century. I can’t imagine myself writing anything like that.

The House Move

THINGS are coming on, if slowly. We can’t begin moving our stuff in until the floors are done (we’re having the carpet in the living room replaced with hardwood, and getting new carpet in a couple of the other rooms because what’s there is pretty old). In the meantime I took most of last week off so that I could do some other work—painting the garage and porch, fixing door handles and locks, cleaning the carpet in the basement rooms, and a bunch of other little things. I have shelves to put up in the basement, and I’ll be doing some of that this evening (and mowing the grass again). Once that’s done we can begin moving some things in; stuff we don’t use often, that’s currently in the basement in the old place. Then, at last, it’ll begin to feel as if we’re making some real progress.

Until next time, gentle reader . . .

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