DAMSEL IN DISTRESS FREE
My novels and stories are 100% Damsel In Distress free. It wasn't a conscious choice, something to be avoided. I simply haven't encountered that many damsels in my life. Those I have annoyed me. I'm a big believer in being the solution to your own problems. I have daughters and I've tried to instill that idea in them just as I have always put it into my characters.
That is not to say that my female characters are not feminine or are male characters in dresses. What I hope I accomplish is avoiding those simple characterization boxes that make writing bland. Not all of my female characters are good at solving their own problems but they try. Sometimes they get in their own way. Sometimes they need to be saved. Sometimes they kick ass and take names. The point for me is to make them people first, female second, then the list goes on from there.
Not all of my females are born female. Gender is a huge issue in the lives of some pretty wonderful people and one that is hard to ignore when you are looking for complexity in the world of your novel. In the case of the transgendered people I have written I still go with people first, identified gender second...
When it comes to being saved I aspire to make it plot necessary, or dramatic, never character defining. Peril is a necessary thing in the kinds of books I write. I love mayhem and dangerous situations and seeing how characters react. But if you ever see me use a character as a peril device, someone who simply exists to be rescued by and show off the prowess of the male lead- call me on it.
You may be saying who cares, big deal, or I don't even read your books, why should it matter to me? My point is, writers, even a poor hack like me, along with filmmakers, musicians, even video game developers, create, bit by bit, our culture. It's a responsibility.
I believe that culture is akin to the ocean in which we all live. It undulates and ripples, in places there are currents and zones of interaction and conflict. But there is a burden to it as well. Every negative we rain into that sea is a weight someone has to carry.
There is a huge dialogue going on now about gender roles in video games. I don't know a lot about gaming. I won't say anything about it. Sticking to what I know- what I say and how I say it matters to certain people. And my characters can be weights on the backs of women or can be bubbles under them. I make my choices not because women, or anyone else, need me to save them. I choose what I believe is better writing and because we're all swimming in this ocean together holding hands.