Launching your career as a gender-neutral writer

Here is a very interesting post by CS Friedman, over at Fantasy Book Cafe.

I do wonder sometimes whether anything would be different if I’d gone with initials instead of my name. CS Friedman’s experience is very interesting, and I like what she says about how to write believable male characters:

Overall, the split was about 50/50, with slightly more readers guessing I was female, and slightly more marketing people guessing I was male. Since I am indeed a woman, I was most interested in the male side of that statistic. What was there about my writing that revealed my true masculine nature?

I asked.

I expected to hear traditional reasons — such as my use of bloody combat scenes and themes of power and conquest–but the answer I got was quite different…and very interesting.

Many readers thought I was male because I understood how men thought.

As a kid, I think I defaulted to thinking that initials meant male. I can’t remember whether I knew that Friedman was a woman when I first read a book by her. But I’m pretty sure I never thought a woman couldn’t write a male character — or a man couldn’t write a female character. Anyway, interesting post!

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1 thought on “Launching your career as a gender-neutral writer”

  1. I started assuming that initials implies female for SF writers pretty early on: I think it was extrapolation from C.L. Moore (golden age) and C.J. Cherryh (more recent).

    I don’t think I ever believed women couldn’t write men, or men couldn’t write women, though I would listen politely to an argument that certain types of characterization errors are more likely to show up in such cases.

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