Feminism and the Roles of Characters

Changes For Female Characters

How do you feel about recent changes for women?

It has become more challenging to write female characters, especially now that the traditional role of women is being questioned. “The woman’s place is in the home” has receded into history and the permissible roles are changing. Yes, I chose the word permissible deliberately. There are still pressures regarding what a woman should and should not do and how she should act. This is an evolutionary process. And it affects how we develop fictional characters.

Greater Challenge

And so the author has to decide upon what a female character should be like or at least should attend to how they may be affected by contemporary views. Of course, if we are writing fiction a woman can do anything the author wants her to do. And then we will see how the reading public reacts. This raises the possibility for the author of challenging views and change. Of course, there is the matter of wanting people to buy your books.

Off Into a Changing world

And so I set off into the world of fiction and fantasy. The setting was contemporary which conditioned certain choices. And that can be challenging. There is a context for the present but if we are writing into the future there are many more contexts that become available.In the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy these were women chosen for roles to lead us into the future and related to whether that future will be fulfilling or disastrous.

In history and in the present women certainly have had a variety of roles whether we approved of them or not. In this instance I began with a role where the Andromeda women were the consorts of rich, powerful and greedy men. I wanted them to be people readers could relate to and not simply courageous women who sought wealth and ease. They had to have values even if they were hidden. And implicit is that just because they are consorts they are in no way despoiled. They are their own person and have their mission. In fact they deserve recognition and praise.

What Will Women Think!

It would have been complicated to weave the history of the warrior women of ancient near Asia into the story for context purposes. It was inspiring to come to understand this part of history and the Andromeda women had to stand on their own. Of course they were not uniform and had their personal stories. I came to appreciate them more and more as I got deeper into the books. I’m pleased to say that so far I’m finding that women appreciate them. I think we all fundamentally understand that challenge in life is highly variable as is adaptability depending on need.

Coming to Comfort

The theme of an end to subjugation of women and their empowerment is woven deep into the story. I admired these “gutsy” women. They are smart and tenacious. Certainly they are not passive and retiring. They are who they are and they have joined a cause and that relates to what is happening for women and all of us now. Women have a growing opportunity to fulfill their talent and potential. And that in turn leads to value for all of us. It is truly a pleasure to see recent revelations about what women have suffered under predatory men and that those men are now suffering consequences. It is not all over, but increasingly we will now see women stepping foreword and they will receive broad support. It is more than about time. 

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Don’t Miss My Developing Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy

I refer to it as a work of magical realism. It is a series with a strong mythological element and a real world setting in this time when women are being empowered at last. It is a time of wonder and awakening for all of humankind.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1

(Available now in Kindle and paperback on Amazon.) 

Avery had dedicated her life to work for the future of third world women. Her life was enhanced when she met the man who became the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was to be revealed before them.

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2

(Available now in Pre-Order and goes on sale April 29 on Amazon)

These people, called Tethyans, live in cities in the sea but can morph into fully human form and come to land to form families. They join with the warrior women called the Andromeda to fight against the forces working to impair the future of humankind. Avery has found her birth name of Chantia and she and Beck find there is soon to be a child of seeming great import just as the world falls into terrible strife with millions already dead.

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Heads Up!

 

I want to let you know of some new opportunities regarding the Gaia’s Majesty Series.

Book1 has a Countdown Deal coming up on Amazon May 15-20. 

Book 2 is now available for pre-order on Amazon and will be launched on April 29th. at a very attractive price.

Below is more information on the books.

Don’t Miss My Developing Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy

I refer to it as a work of magical realism. It is a series with a strong mythological element and a real world setting in this time when women are being empowered at last. It is a time of wonder and awakening for all of humankind.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1

(Available now in Kindle and paperback on Amazon.) 

Avery had dedicated her life to work for the future of third world women. That life was enhanced when she met the man who became the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was to be revealed before them.

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2

(Available now in Pre-Order and goes on sale April 29 on Amazon)

These people, called Tethyans, live in cities in the sea but can morph into fully human form and come to land to form families. They join with the warrior women called the Andromeda to fight against the forces working to impair the future of humankind. Avery has found her birth name of Chantia and she and Beck find there is soon to be a child of seeming great import just as the world falls into terrible strife with millions already dead. 

Are We Kidding Ourselves – Pt. 1

 

Gaining Perspective

I’ve been sharing my experience of writing the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy—that it started out as one book and now may actually be four books. One of the problems is that demanding characters keep showing up and so do intriguing twists to the plot.

That’s one set of issues, but there is another set which is related. It requires me taking my psychologist off the shelf. Being a clinical psychologist has been interesting and demanding, but after all these decades it seems I have no greater fixed clarity.

Essential Questions

I still have to ask, What is reality? And I also still have to ask, What is mental illness?

Okay. There, I said it. There is a fundamental problem. Well, two fundamental problems. First of all reality is maddeningly unclear. Second sanity and mental illness have no bounds.

The Matter of Reality

Beauty is said to be in the eye of the beholder. And reality is in the eye of the beholder as well. Is that bad? After decades of dealing with psychology my answer is clear. Reality is a matter of what is serviceable and functional—broadly defined. We don’t have to agree and our respective viewpoints may serve our respective purposes. If we have the same job and the same focus, that is another matter.

The Outcome

The end point is respect and accepting that these different views need not be considered a problem so long as they do not serve negative purposes. Currently we are seeing the down side of this issue about reality on the political stage and the uproar and potential devastation are terrible to consider. 

So again, we see it is a matter of functionality, but in some instances there are destructive orientations. Reality may not be at issue but intent may be the key issue.

The essence here is related to intent and outcome. The wonderful thing is that in writing fiction we can serve whatever purpose we choose and it is up to the reader to love the story or to throw the book in the trash.

Mental Illness

Quite awhile back there was a movement to move virtually everything related to human nature into the health field. Our mental status and related functioning was dragged in kicking and screaming. To this day there is a dispute about what is and is not mental illness. 

Our differences are substantial and, especially thanks to Carl Jung, we understand that there can be vast differences in personality. That means those differences are often great but not pathological. The issue again comes back to functionality. We often have to see what the outcome is or how harmful the person is. It remains complex and we have to respect the complexity.

What Is The Point? (It’s about time you may be saying!)

While the issues of reality and mental illness do have real world consequences, the basic point is applicable to the world of fiction writing. In fiction we can swing open the door for exploration and what we see is generally safe and can be intriguing. As I indicated above I found that characters could be insistent and plots could be intriguing in many forms. In the end, in fiction we see how nuanced our lives can be and that our different realities and functionality enrich our lives. And that enrichment is not just in our books but in our existences. There is much to be enjoyed and savored and, yes, managed.

What have you concluded?

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Writing – The Larger Discovery

 

Means of Expression

Too often we take for granted the availability of what I will call means of expression. It seems to have started long ago around our camp fires and quiet evenings in caves before there was writing. We have been discovering ourselves and our potential for a very long time. 

Religion surely began long before we could write and reflected our needs of many varying kinds. We sought guidance and understanding. In time, surely even before we had writing there were entertaining and often moving displays to each other. And then came language and writing.

It Hasn’t Stopped

Now we have the stage, visual media and all different forms of written inspiration. For many of us it is not a pastime or simply amusement. When we look we see the movement of us and our cultures.

Do any of us who write begin with a clear understanding of why we write or where it will lead us. Certainly some authors amuse us, aid us with our dreams and inspire us to seek involvement and changes for our future. It is hard to be definitive regarding the specific scope of all such expressive endeavors. Likewise it is hard to define the reactions of the people who view and read these productions or what it means to each one of them.

As The Writer

And, as I’ve said before, I didn’t begin writing with a clear goal or understanding of what I was doing. Doesn’t that sound stupid and clueless? But it probably is true of many of our endeavors. We do not definitively plan in many cases. Even in the creation of a family we do not plan it out although we may think we do. We probably did not specifically foresee that fabulous face and while we may think our children will be a little me, we are often not prepared for who comes to live at our house.

The Wonder of Discovery

And therein lies the wonder. Wouldn’t it be dull if we could specifically plan our course in life and who will join us in the voyage. In the same way I started writing thinking there was a story I might like to develop. It proved not to be entirely under my control. The insistence on inclusion and development of some characters was challenging. I had to take charge at least to some degree. 

And it was only later that I recognized why I chose the themes I chose. Myth is a powerful force and when we refer to myth we often make the error of taking it to mean that it lacks truth. In fact, what I see is that it often conveys deep truths, offers us futures to weigh and other endless possibilities.

Enjoying the Adventure

It may seem odd but for me it does not detract from the experience to study what is revealed. The story and its experience may explode and lead but it is also endlessly intriguing. It enhances the reader and the writer and may open unintended and unexpected pathways. This may not be new to you but when we each look at the implications, it is a matter of wonder.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

The Author As Host–AH!

 

 

 

The Attraction  of Writing Fiction

What a fascinating idea writing fiction is. You have this great idea in your head and what fun it will be to bring it to life.

And Then There’s Reality

I’ve found, in some ways that the actual writing skill may be the least of it. That’s not arrogance or being dismissive. I found a lot of unforeseen issues. Let me be upfront that I’m a clinical psychologist which turned out to be a plus and a minus. I found some things I hadn’t expected such as characters beating on my door and some I had to fire. I had no idea that would happen.

Characters as Living Beings

Maybe that’s a problem because of what I did for a living. Doing psychotherapy sounded really interesting and it was but it is also challenging. My clients were sometimes stubborn—like a character.  Sometimes they had unexpected things going on inside of their brains—like characters. With a character you can try to ease them into something coherent. Real people are often not so obliging. And actually characters can be annoying and stubborn as well.

And Then There is the Author

We would like to think that the story and its construction are firmly under our control. Well, that’s what we might like to believe. What I’ve seen is that we often harbor beings in ourselves that we are not clear about. Naively we might think the character we chose is brilliant but it may be something hiding in us. Oh dear! 

And then there is our own personality. Maybe you haven’t considered that but as a psychologist I found I had to. I know my Jungian personality type and understand that part of my personality is in my unconscious. Interesting construct—and then comes the writing. My primary personality component is intuition. How cool! My basic direction is toward what might be, and I ask “What If” a lot. As a writer my saving grace is that my backup function is thinking which means part of me then moves forward to give some structure and focus rather than always racing off toward the horizon. And, of course, there are other attributes further down. Those things in the unconscious constitute traps in themselves.

The Coming Together

When we go to work we have a brilliant idea and then are bombarded by the demands of characters and various parts of ourselves. Sometimes I think it is a blessing to know this because of my profession and sometimes all it tells me is how unexpected and difficult the writing process can be whether we are forewarned or not.

Tools

I’ve found that the construction of Dara Marks’ transformational arc helped keep me under control. It also helped to know that we all have hidden beings in ourselves. They may drive a character forward or make him or her be insistent. Our personality my help us or hinder us but it is helpful to know that our personality may contribute. So much for the neat idea of writing which simply needed actualizing. We are beings who live with a host of selves and beings. That’s both a blessing and a curse but it helps to not have it all be unexpected.

Maybe in the End…

Of course,  what I’ve been talking about is the unexpected but it need not be a curse. If we know we live with our multiple inner sources we can form alliances and allegiances that help us. Over time we can form them into resources and aides. It may be that the process may be less or more challenging but at least we can know to expect challenge of kinds we might not have expected.

AH! Or should it be YIKES!

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt