Sometimes, I think I am Part Of The (A?) Problem.
I like to think that I am fairly open-minded and aware of the world; I don’t like to talk too much on topics when I don’t feel I’ve had enough education, and as previously mentioned, I’m usually too shy to independently volunteer an opinion unless I feel extremely strongly (read: personally invested) in something. A lot of the time, I will talk about things if invited, but I usually don’t feel extremely comfortable breaking into a conversation. So to utterly condense things, I am someone who does bemoan the lack of female characters in media, especially those who have agency and action beyond the men in their lives. I dislike the tendency of women being used as prizes or props for the male characters. I generally like an even balance of character types; it’s not a requirement for my enjoyment, but it is for my favorites.
At the same time, when I write, a lot of my stuff angles along the lines of m/m. The novel I am working on right now has a m/m couple as its alpha romance (though the beta is f/f). And certainly within the confines of a smaller story (especially ones that take place in relatively closed environments, which I tend to favor), it’s harder to introduce a large supporting cast and still balance the main thrust (ha ha) of a story. I write m/f stuff too, and I have tried to be better about having more female characters around in general. I am aware of my weaknesses, though I am still attempting to get around them. I keep feeling the conflict between “write what interests and excites you” and juggle that between “but also I think female characters are really cool and would like to properly utilize them more.” At least for the longer novel, I have a good number of female characters that are independent versus the male pov character, who are doing their own things in their own way — but I think ultimately the problem lies in the fact that I do like writing fairly closed environments; unless it’s a longer story meant to span greater territory, the couples I write are going to be fairly self-contained, and the supporting cast, if there is any, will be mostly flavor and flourish. So already, if I decide a pairing is going to be a particular set, I’ve already limited myself right there.
On the other hand, I also don’t intend to stop writing any time soon, and my hope is to not stay constrained to any one particular set. I like writing about people being stupid together, or happy, or sad, or any number of things; rather than say I write romance, I would like to be I write love. I don’t consider myself a traditional romantic by a long shot — I get uncomfortable and side-eye dramatic displays or excessive gestures. Once or twice on occasion is fine, but when it becomes a regular thing, I end up getting tired or exasperated by it instead. I really like writing about how people get together and how they figure things out; I like writing about the ups and downs as people figure their relationships out. At this point in time it’s mostly stupid guys being stupid about other stupid guys (let’s beat the word stupid into the ground a lot here, because that is something I enjoy), but my hope is that I can leave myself open to writing whatever possibilities come to mind. I do want to write more of the different types of love, day by day.
Also, okay, let’s be frank: I like writing sex. Say what you will about prurient interests — I have certainly seen people get huffity about the presence of sex in stories, and I’ve seen them heavily imply that writers of such things are doing it just to get off themselves. And certainly I think that some people do, but sex in and of itself is a fascinating topic to me; how people choose to have it — or not to have it, as the case may be — their motivations, their decisions, their feelings, those are all things that I, as a writer, like to explore. There are stories where I don’t feel sex is a necessity; when I wrote A Good Man, I had actually intended for there to be sex — but by the end, it just didn’t feel right to include it. It happens sometimes! I prefer to go with what feels right for the story in the end; I think that’s part of what it is to be a “pantser” (versus a “planner,” who actually sits down and outlines things). Sometimes you have to rely on your instinct, and sometimes that blows up in your face — but it can also work out, so it’s just a matter of how you pull things off.
I don’t really think I’m “new” to writing, not any more, but I think there’s still enough out there for me to learn and adapt to doing. The world is full of all sorts of things, and I hope to keep it up. ( ・◇・)