Ok, so I just finished reading Megan Abbott's THE SONG IS YOU, and I just loved it! One of the many things that Megan does well in this book is take on the old canard that women can't write believable male characters (to say nothing of believable male POV characters) and vice-versa, and shatter it.

Her characterization is first-rate, and her POV character's descent into an alcohol and sleep-deprivation-fueled pursuit of some answers of his own in something he'd initially helped cover up is not only believable, it's truly the stuff of great literature.

This led me to the question of whether this is something that we as mystery writers do well or poorly. I confess that I've only ever written one female POV story, and hey, I was able to sell it (admittedly not for much). Then again, it's the only one I ever actually tried. I do make an effort to make my female characters well-rounded, because, like Shakespeare, Sophocles and a host of other male writers before me, I believe that women make for the most fascinating characters.

What do you folks think, and what have your experiencesbeen like when you've tried to write across gender lines?


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I had a friend who used to flip genders in the middle with her works in progress to see how they held up as human beings not defined by their gender. And to test her own prejudices. This army captain? He's now a she. And that rugged actor - get used to the high heels, babe.
I haven't tried anything at the novel length, though one of my main characters in River City is Katie MacLeod. I've written from her POV in the third person during her scenes, but she's just one of a number of characters.

I did write a story featuring Katie ("Last Day in Paradise" -- up on Amazon Shorts now) which I did from the first person. Somehow, that's more intimidating than writing third person, don't you think?


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