Posted on May 9, 2011 by Flames
On the heels of his new release from Apex Book Company, the multi-talented Guy Hasson drops by FlamesRising.com to tell us why he writes about women. This particular essay gives us insight into his intent behind writing three, distinct novellas and collecting them into a single collection called “Secret Thoughts.” For more about this author, playwright and filmmaker, be sure to visit Guy Hasson’s website. If you’re interested in checking out Hasson’s new release, you can pick up the Secret Thoughts e-book at DriveThruSciFi.com, or visit the publisher’s website for previews, reviews, additional formats and more!
Why I Write About Women
I started my career as a playwright, not as an author.
A long time ago, when I was twenty-four, I wrote an intimate one-woman play. The actress needed to play four women characters in extremely unstable emotional situations. I gave it to a few actresses, to see if they would do it (I sent the manuscript one at a time, of course). One famous actress invited me to her home to talk about the play. It’s not that she wanted to take it, she said when I came, the play was too dark for her; it’s that she needed to see with her own eyes that a man wrote it and not a woman. When I was twenty-four I looked fifteen, so that no doubt made it even more jarring for her. She kept saying how she couldn’t believe a man wrote that play, that a man would know so many things about women.
I’ve been getting that reaction to my plays – and to my stories and books – ever since. I like writing about women characters. I like putting them as lead characters. I prefer it that way, in fact.
In my latest book, Secret Thoughts, I have three novellas that take place in the same world, a world that has telepathy by touch. In each of these novellas, there is a different lead woman character: A young woman, just out of her teens, going through the crisis of her life; a thirty-something woman who has spent the last few years running from the government who wants her dead, is suddenly recruited to a military-government facility, where she can only rely on herself; and a thirty-something woman telepath in an intimate relation with her non-telepathic husband who is going through all stages of a dangerous pregnancy, where she can’t stop ‘reading’ the growing fetus inside her.
All three are women. All three are lead characters. And a question I get quite often is ‘You’re a man, why do you write about women?’
Here are the top reasons why:
Reason #1: Men Are Stupid
Now, listen, that’s true. I should know. Even smart men are stupid. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ll bet you’re a man and not a woman.
Men have their faults, and women have their own faults. The problem is, that I have men’s faults. Because I share them, I like my faults less than I do women’s faults. I am more critical towards myself, and my sex, than I am towards the other sex.
Reason #2: The Male Ego
Women have egos, but men have male egos. The male ego is that thing where you huff and puff in order to hide your insecurities. The male ego is about denial of vulnerability, certainly to others but also to yourself.
I like writing about insecurities and vulnerabilities. I want to talk about them and I want to write about them.
Putting a male character in the lead would automatically necessitate a situation in which I strip him of his male ego and allow him to ‘get in touch with his emotions’ (brr!). However, if I put a woman as the lead character, I can touch her vulnerabilities in a second, without needing to establish anything.
Reason #3: When Men Break, They’re Broken
When men break down, they stop being strong. Women can break down and be strong at the same time.
When men break, they remain broken for a long while. Women can break and keep on ticking.
I like my characters to be strong, and I like them to break down. Then I like to have them keep on ticking. So I prefer writing about women than men.
Reason #4: Writing Female Leads Is Like Making Love to Them
Writing about a lead character is getting intimate with them, learning their soul inside and out. Writing a lead character means finding their deepest secrets, their greatest loves, their most intimate thoughts. Writing a lead character means learning things about them that they don’t know, that no one knows.
There’s a two-word phrase that summarizes the entire paragraph above. It’s called ‘making love’. Not physically, but emotionally.
When I write about a female lead, I experience that intimate feeling of discovery that I don’t when I write a male lead. And if it’s more exciting for me, the author, then it’s more exciting for you, the reader. You get a sense that you’re privy to an intimate moment of the character with herself and to knowledge that few people have.
Now you’ve been privy to a few intimate thoughts between an author and his characters. And that’s all I have to say.
If you want to see what the result of everything I talked about above, check out Secret Thoughts.
Guy Hasson – 2011