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Planning Ahead and Ruminations on Gender

  • Jun. 12th, 2013 at 11:01 AM
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I've been up since about 8, working pretty hard on getting some stuff together for The Great Couch Happening of '69. Not only have I put down the groundwork for a 'Definitive Guide' to Whitbrook, the town in which my novel begins and ends, but I've begun to compile an extensive list of crucial tasks that I need to complete to make my book as good as it can possibly be.

I started a list of necessary edits in my notebook for the project but that's gone missing - I've basically listed out a series of edits and rewrites that need to be done including character-centric rewrites, character voice rewrites, description and worldbuilding edits and conciseness edits, as well as actually laying out the book properly with illustrations and whatnot so it all looks good and professional.

It's quite exciting to kind of see more clearly the journey ahead of me, and it's nice to feel like my characters and settings are gradually getting more three-dimensional. The problem with this novel is that it's so spontaneous; things can end up becoming and jumbled mess and I focus so much on delivering a funny, unpredictable but entertaining plot that I don't give enough thought to actually developing my characters (especially my minor characters and villains) or the places they travel through. But now that I've began planning a list of rewrites to sort all that, things feel a lot clearer.

One thing that has been bothering me about my novel for a while is the ratio of male characters to female characters. My four protagonists, all male. My three antagonists are blokes as well. And then there's Clarietta and Tessa, female characters who sort of flit in and out of the story. On one hand, I feel like women should have a greater representation in my book, because in the past year or so I've become quite aware of feminism and how skewed things can be in the entertainment world in regards to the representation of both men and women. But on the other hand, I don't want to shove girls into my novel simply because they're girls, because then they're just token characters and I believe token characters can be worse than just not representing that particular group at all.

I've considered genderbending some characters to even things out (specifically, William or maybe even Donal), but I don't know if it would feel right after all these years of writing them as they are. And with gender identity being quite a big issue in the 1960s, I would have to do a ton of extra work to make sure I get the characters right.

I'm teetering towards just keeping things as they are, because my intentions for Clarietta and Tessa are beyond mere love interests anyway, and I feel like I'm presenting them as equal to the men. In the rewrites, I'm planning on giving them more 'page time' and developing their characters a lot more. Hopefully, as long as I represent Tessa and Clarietta well, that should be good enough. Right?!

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