Block Breaker #4

Block breakers are short stories, random ditties for which the only real purpose is to write something, anything when Writer’s Block strikes. Quality, verbosity, fidelity, consistency – none of these words apply. Just write or die.

So I’m procrastinating from prepping for writing, by writing… here we go again!

P.s. (before the actual script… go figure), this one went a little weird – and it goes in a very different direction for what it initially looks like. I enjoyed writing it anyway, but it’s not my normal thing.


Gone Awry

Sasha threw her cup across the room, she threw off her jacket, placed her gun in it’s holster in the top draw of her desk and locked it.

“Damn it!” she shouted, when she was done, “How the hell did he get past us?”

Her assistant stood, mortified like a dear in the headlights.

“Don’t just stand there you dosey git,” Sasha said, “I want answers, and I want answers now. You were meant to put people on the doors.”

“They were…” her assistant, a normally confident twenty-five year old, named Susan Claire, short with scarlet hair and a trim figure, dressed practically but with touches of flair. In the face of her boss’s anger, her confidence was melting.

“They weren’t covering the main entrance, the main bloody entrance. That areshole just walked out,” her boss said, calming down. “Tell me what happened? How was it we were made to look like amateurs by a two bit conman.”

“One of the silent alarms went off,” Susan said, “A couple of the guys on the front went to reinforce the internal team.”

“Damn it,” Sasha said, “How did he slip past the remaining two?”

“I don’t know,” Susan said.

“Get me the names of the two on the front entrance,” Sasha said.

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Well this makes me uncomfortable

So, let’s talk women, but that’s not going to get me in trouble at all. Actually, it really does, I’m terrible at writing women to the point I’ve written stories that featured one female character, because I know I don’t do it well.

First of all, let me explain, I’m not sexist, or at least I don’t think of myself as sexist. I just struggle with the perspective, even though intellectually I know we all see the same world, and reactions and motivations are the same – when I write a female character it just doesn’t read back well. Anyway, that’s my problem, it’s something I’m working on, my protagonist is a female badass type, and a mother.

All that being said, over the years I’ve read many bad portrayals of female characters, most are bad because of the stereotypes, perceptions, behaviours and sidelining which belongs in decades ago, if it belonged at all.

I recently came across a  blog post that tackled this in a really clever way, it’s by a woman called Meg Elison and was on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, link here and at the end: https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/if-women-wrote-men-the-way-men-write-women 

It’s entitled, If Women Write Men the Way Men Write Women, which makes as uncomfortable reading as you can imagine. Some of them would make uncomfortable reading whatever the gender of the character, others if it was a man that was the focus, you would accept with few questions, after all lads are just lads, you switch the roles though and you can see why it would feel demeaning. Cads are a fact of life, but a female cad does feel wrong – and yet the behaviours, and the results are the same.

It’s a great thought provoking article, and I highly recommend you read it, it’s definitely worth five minutes of your time. I’m suddenly conscious of all the times the murderess in murder mysteries is somehow always more wicked and evil than their female counterparts, whether or not their crimes were less or more.

As I continue to write male and female characters I’m going to try and keep it in mind. Terrible behaviour is terrible no matter who does it, and if other characters are going to react differently, I’d still like the story to treat them the same.

What if Women Wrote Men the Way They Write Women

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