Monday, 7 March 2016

A year of good things - Day Seven - What's the inverse of the Bechdel test...?


Todays good thing is that I finished re-editting Jerusalem, the first full length novel that I ever wrote.

It's been through a number of different changes, and I think that a lot of the changes that I made to the last version are because I've done a lot in the last few years, seen a few things I'd never seen before, and talked to groups of people I never had before, all of which has found its way into this final version.

The biggest change that I've implemented is that I had a long think about how I see characters, and decided to change several things, the first and foremost being the gender of the viewpoint character, and what started out as an exercise in thinking and viewpoints ending up putting a massive shift in the way the book reads, something which I'm very pleased with.

It does lead me to an interesting point, because all the books I write have strong female characters in them, I grew up around excellent women (Mum/Snoop, looking at you here...) and so writing them into a book is easy, and things like the Bechdel test (For those not familiar, to pass, the book must have two named female characters who have at least one conversation and have it not be about a man) are never a problem because I tend to write with an even spread of both genders in the main characters.

However...

In putting the viewpoint character and the main protagonist as women, I've found that almost every conversation passes the Bechdel test, and there are very few conversations in the book that work the other way around (Two named men who have at least one conversation and have it not be about a woman), and it brought home how difficult it is to meet that criteria if you haven't got the right lead characters.

It also completely switched any scenes of an intimate nature, which was also a challenge to work through (particularly as I don't have any real frame of reference), but it's been interesting in general and given me more to think about as I write on...

An excellent day...

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