Getting Down to Particulars

The Spawn is working on a story, and we were talking about it a little bit over the weekend. At one point, she said, “All the protagonists I’ve written have been female, but I think the protagonist of this one should be a guy. But how do you write someone of the opposite sex?”

I considered running a variation on Jack Nicholson’s bit from As Good as It Gets:

… because really, when someone puts it on the tee like that, it’s hard to resist. However, I decided it would be better not to have to sleep with one eye open, so I thought about it a bit and said, “Well, I think the problem might be that you’re trying to write A Guy.

“Remember [story I wrote recently with a young woman as protagonist]?” Nods. “Well, [Protagonist] was basically a version of my mom. I can’t claim to know WOMEN, but I knew your grandmother, and I could write a version of her in my fictional place, time, and situation.

“So don’t just try to write about A Guy. Write about some guy in particular. Change what you need to change for your story — Bob down the hall might not actually be a computer expert or a car mechanic or whatever, but even if he was, he would still mainly be Bob. So don’t write A Guy; write Bob.”

“Thanks, Dad.” So now I expect the Spawn to write a story featuring a middle-aged, overweight English professor who just happens to be an accomplished martial artist who is considered a god on an obscure South Pacific island. And who, of course, is devilishly handsome.


About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
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