This week had me questioning my woman card.
I’m having sexist problems. And feminist problems. And morality issues.
I need my badass female protag to suffer. And I need her male counterpart to uphold a cover while sending her a message and somehow protect her from further harm. I need her to stand up against the machine without overlooking the legitimate side effects of her journey – her trauma, reality of her current environment, and the inevitable danger that sometimes comes with the job. I need her to overcome the problem and kick some ass. But I need her to do this without being a victim. Or whimpering. Or faltering along the way.
I need her to be a ‘man’.
Wait… What did I just say? How sexist of me, right? Yes and no.
Luckily I have an ally in the writing world in the form of an amazingly intelligent friend, confidant, and sounding board who helps me think outside my head at times like this. It’s weird when you’re so wrapped up in something to come to a positive conclusion that fits certain parameters (see feminist and sexist comments above), stays true to the story and character(s), and still allows flexibility for shock value and depth. In this case she suggested I try flipping the script on this particular scene. How would it play out if I switched up the sexes and/or reversed the roles? Would I use the same tactics? Would it even be the same scene? Same result? Same message? Same journey for my hero? These are questions she raised that, for anyone else’s story I could’ve subconsciously raised on my own, but I somehow failed to do this with my own story.
I will say, in all honesty, I don’t think it works all the time or in all scenarios…
…but it’s something that worked for me in this situation. I think.
This week’s result: still on the fence and confused.
Solution: sleep on it some more.
Ultimate objective: THIS