Ladies And Sirs

As you can possibly see from recent posts, I am still taking a break from writing. You also may think: “What break? All that posting? LOL!”

Well, writing other things is also a form of taking a break, and a way to relax and recharge. Even maintaining a private journal is a means to try to stay “sharp.” Writing is much like any craft: sometimes you need a “rest,” but some of your skills will also diminish simply through disuse if you put it all aside completely.

You also need as a writer “space” with no pressure of a deadline, etc., to sit back and just observe. For what you observe may turn out to be useful in what you later (once more) write. One example: Lately on social media I have seen quite a few women book reviewers (at least claiming to) obsess on this or that male character who was written by a woman

[From Instagram.]

This is an issue a male novelist needs to remember because women make up (as they always have) a majority of novel readers (and overwhelming numbers in certain genres, like “romance”) in Europe and America. The modern novel, especially those authored by women, that began to appear in the late 1700s and early 1800s was often looked down on at the time by a certain kind of man as just “fluff for women” (or even worse, dangerous, because it gave them “ideas”). Yet, as always, not all men felt that way: U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall, for one, in the early 1820s read all Jane Austen’s novels and loved them.

One can also detect – in fact, sometimes we are flat out told – that what those women reviewers adore in those fictional men written by other women is also what they wish they could see in real men. With that usually comes a related assertion that too many male authors write women characters who are utterly unrealistic. That latter charge is often made not without good reason and especially about women characters in fantasy/sci-fi – although it being fantasy would seem partly to explain the unrealism. (However, I think, that only explains it in part, as it does seem clear some men cannot write women well… and indeed it appears some do really need to get to know actual women… LOL!)

Always bearing in mind that mostly women are reading them (as near as I can discern, about 80-90 percent of my readers are women), I try to be extra-cautious with women characters. That is the main reason I base them insofar as possible on actual women. As much as possible I take what over the years I have heard from, or been told by, or even read as said by, women and incorporate that into those women characters.

[Photo by Mikhail Nilov on]

I also recall a male commenter years ago on here having said that many of my women readers may not be here for the women characters, but for the men. It was intriguing to hear that from a man. It confirmed, in a way, what I had been told by a few women readers.

So I guess, then, with the men

[From Conventions: The Garden At Paris (2017). On Kindle for iPad/iPhone. Click to expand.]

…I may be doing something right…

[From Tomorrow The Grace (2019). On Kindle for iPad/iPhone. Click to expand.]

Although it is not really deliberate, and I aim to be “realistic,” I suppose I also wish to show that men written by a man…

[From Capture The Cause (2022). On Kindle for iPad/iPhone. Click to expand.]

…may also appeal to women readers.

[On a bookshelf. Photo by me, March 10, 2023.]

Anyway, back now to “my writing break.”

Have a good day, wherever you are. 🙂

Further thoughts?

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