Malinda Lo on her blog:
But when I began writing a book set in the contemporary USA (Adaptation), I promptly fell into the passive trap. I had never written a novel set in the “real world,” and suddenly I was dealing with all sorts of expectations and traditions about the way girls behave, how they dress, what they do. It was … truly weird. Yes, I found it much weirder to write about contemporary teen girls than magically gifted sages or tomboyish heroines who like to go hunting.
Inspired by this post by Kate Elliott:
I try very hard to write stories in which there are as many female characters as male characters, with as much agency and importance in the plot. Yet I often have consciously to go back through later drafts to make sure that my female leads aren’t being more passive than I actually want them to be, aren’t letting others make decisions for them or devise all the cunning plans (unless there is a specific reason because of experience, competencies, or social roles), are showing leadership, and are present as confident individuals with a strong sense of themselves (as long as that is within character).
Oh, yes! I do that too. (And get really mad at myself in real life when I think I’ve acted too passively, before I shake it off and resolve to do better next time.)
One of the elements about Raksuran society that was different, and also fun to write, was the gender role reversal. The queens are the leaders of the Raksuran courts, and also the most physically powerful. Female warriors are also bigger and stronger than male warriors. It was very interesting for me to write, because I had to check all my assumptions about physical power and sexual politics at the door, to stay in the viewpoint of my non-human characters.
And one the things that makes the series so fun to read.
- Does this pink miniskirt make me look stupid? Stereotype Threat and Kids (jennifershewmaker.com)