||[May. 20th, 2016|07:13 pm]
I am providing a link to an article that talks about the traps writers often fall into when portraying male characters, traps that feed into patriarchal practices that hurt men as well as women. While the writer is a little free with the "don'ts" I would suggest instead being aware of what you're doing and questioning why you're doing it, I think s/he makes some excellent points. Five Signs Your Story is Sexist --- Against Men http://mythcreants.com/blog/five-signs-your-story-is-sexist-against-men/ |
The following represents a huge spoiler for Heroes at Odds, the six and final book published by ACE. The truly final one, Heroes' Reward, was self-published by me and I tried to fix what happened in Heroes at Odds to the best of my ability.
In Heroes at Odds, I had Lee's family show up with two members of another family. When Lee was very young, her family and this other merchant family had made a marriage contract involving Lee and the other family's son. Her family considered it dead once she was sent off to Shield school, but the other family, having fallen on hard times, decided to enforce it. Stuff happens and Taro ends up having to perform a bunch of challenges against the other guy to determine who would marry Lee.
Taro was supposed to lose. I thought it would represent a fun twist on the cliche. Lee and Marcus would never have sex, because it was only about the economics and I hate rape, but would come to like and respect each other. The next time Lee and Taro were transferred - I didn't know at the time of writing that this would be the last book ACE would publish - Marcus would go with them as Lee's spouse, and it would be a weird situation. He and Taro would actually end up being good friends. I don't care if that's unlikely. My world, my rules, my psychology, and I really wanted Taro to have a good guy friend. There would be all sorts of misunderstandings. There was also a practical point to it, as her link through Marcus to other trading families was meant to be part of the forces that would eventually support Fiona against Gifford.
The editor nixed it. I wasn't too surprised, I hadn't been sure she would go for it, but the reasons she gave for nixing it stunned me. She didn't say something like it would alienate the readers to have Lee marrying another man. She said losing the challenge would make Taro weak and unworthy of Lee. I was truly shocked. What century was she in? What series had she been editing? Taro was all about setting him up as an alpha-esqish male and tearing all that down. Where had she been all that time?
What made it even worse was that I put the idea of Lee and Taro marrying in her head. Had I known what was going to happen, I never would have used that subplot. After five books of saying they would never get married, I felt compelled to marry them off. A reader emailed me about the contradiction, and I didn't know what to say. Now I'm ok saying that the editor made me do it, but at the time I thought it wouldn't be professional. And maybe it isn't, but I don't care anymore.
All I could do to fix it in the final book was to make sure there was absolutely no reference to them being married.