Writing In Her Voice

For the first time since I've started writing, I think, I'm writing a female lead to my story. Yes, I've gone this long without writing a female lead. I realize how bad that is. No need to send Bechdel after me. I made it 12 pages so far and thought I was doing fine. I think I'm more aware of what I'm writing since it's about a woman, and sometimes it makes me a little uncomfortable, and I think I spent more time tweaking her physical description to make it clear that it doesn't necessarily matter that she's attractive to the eye other than to make people want to look at her for the duration of the story.

In fact, as an interesting side note, I have a male character that comes up near the end of the pages I've written so far, and looking at it, I spent more describing his inherent attractiveness than I did hers.

But back on topic. I thought I was doing fine. Now I find myself having to write her first words, other than the occasional cries of pain, and I'm not sure if I know her voice.

This isn't a problem I have exclusively with female characters. Finding a character's voice is always difficult. I think with a man, though, it's just so easy to slump him into my voice that I usually end up doing it, probably without noticing.

I know, again, that doesn't say the best things about my writing. I'm still learning.

Without a doubt, though, I know my female lead here doesn't speak in my voice. This is good, because it's going to challenge me again. Just like writing a woman is apparently doing.

Okay, and maybe the point of writing a female main character is to write her as no different than a man, and maybe it's some form of sexism that I'm taking extra care to flesh out a woman in such a way, but I think we'd all be fools to argue that women aren't different than men. They are, in so many distinct ways. That doesn't make them any less capable, but their circumstances are certainly different.

I guess I just assumed, having hung out with her for a few months now, I'd be able to hear her voice when I needed it. Looks like I need to do some more listening to her first.

Which is pretty typical of a man, I guess.