Cover Ups and Characters

So I had a slight dilemma, that was more of a big waste of time than a dilemma but nonetheless it occupied some of my thoughts today.  I tried my best to come up with something else to write about alas it was to no avail.

I reread a novel I discovered in a long forgotten pile of assorted things on a dresser.  I read a few articles in a magazine.  I read a few articles in the Sunday paper.  I read some articles on Yahoo news.  I read through various blogs, even ones I usually avoid, in the hope of sparking some inspiration.

At last I said to hell with this crap and got back to doing things I have been putting off for far too long.  I went online in search of a pool cover.  My pool is woefully overdue for being winterized and closed.  This is due to my having thrown the pool cover away at the beginning of the season due to its being ripped from last fall and winter.  I haven’t gotten around to buying a new one yet.  Not high on my list of priorities this task.

As I was perusing the various pool covers I couldn’t help but let my mind wander to other more interesting topics.  I couldn’t get this one person out of my head.  There was something about  him that really interested me, pulled me in and I couldn’t figure out what it was exactly.  So I did what I always do in these situations and searched for his name on google.  It was not hard to find.  After all, he is one of the leading roles of the show White Queen.

I immediately found a youtube clip of him and some of the other characters discussing his role on the show.  He plays King Edward IV.  My curiosity centered around figuring out what it was about him/his character that had fascinated me so.  So the first thing I did was look up who he was.  Perhaps I only liked him because he is quite the hottie.  Or maybe I really liked him because he was a good actor and it was his acting that gained my attention.  Something about his acting seemed vaguely familiar.

So it was only slightly surprising to learn that he is the son of Jeremy Irons.  I just love movies with Jeremy Irons.  He is such a great actor and has such presence it is always impressive.  This guy, Max Irons had definitely taken after his father in the acting department.  He had presence and impressive acting ability and he shared the good looks that seem to run in that family as well.  But I realized that as good as all of this was, it wasn’t what had caught my attention, not completely.

I decided that it was the character he played that really sparked my interest.  I don’t know any actual history about King Edward IV other than his reign was during the War of the Roses.  I don’t know what type of person historians say he was.  All I can base my opinion on is the version of this character portrayed on the show.  The show is based on a series of novels about the White Queen, the Red Queen and something else by Philippa Gregory.

I find she portrays King Edward as very human with very human emotions of empathy and love.  In many kings, their characters are portrayed as scheming, power hungry almost monsters that show very little humanity.  This character is charming and smart.  He genuinely loves his wife and their children.  He tries to do the right thing.

Anyway, this character type, the empathetic person who is smart and successful/in a position of power is somewhat rare I feel.  What is more is that I realized, spending some time thinking of all the stories I have written, that I can’t recall ever writing a male character with such traits.  All of my characters who display such emotions and empathy and yet are also strong and successful are females.  I have never written a male character similar to the King Edward IV character in the White Queen.  It seems strange to me and makes me wonder what this means about my writing style, my character choices and who my  intended audience really is.

What about you?  How do you tend to write your male characters?  Female characters?

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2 thoughts on “Cover Ups and Characters

  1. My current work has a reasonably strong female lead who is calm and level headed. I have wondered about gender and character and whether as a writer I could do justice to a male protagonist, not just a male in a secondary role. It’s something I hope to address in the next year. Do writers (over generalising) write their protagonist in their own gender?

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