Here’s the problem. Most of my central characters are men. I don’t really understand women all that much, and I’m not interested in the things that women are supposed to be interested in, and that most of them do seem to be interested in. Most of my writing couldn’t pass the Bechdel test, and I really don’t care. Two of the main characters in Gift of the Ancien are women, but one of them is atypical with a capital A.
The New Serfdom includes a family — mother, father, two kids. The mother is the power-holder, and a good deal of the drama that comes out of the family centers on her. Necessarily, she comes across as a not very nice person. Okay. A bitch. But it’s because she’s a protector. An extreme one. Hurt her cubs and you’re going to get slashed by a big set of claws. She’s an extremist in her need to protector her family, so I’m trying to figure out how to make her at least a little sympathetic. So far, nothing doing, and that’s probably because I have no idea how to get into the head of such a person.
I don’t want the only significant female in the book to come off as nearly certifiable, but if I can’t manage to dredge up even a smattering of sympathy for her, then I probably need another woman to offset her, one who’s not just strong, but sane. Nothing doing there, either, but the problem came up so recently that the old subconscious probably doesn’t have a good grasp on it yet.