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Breaking the Glass Slipper: Writing gender

When you set out to write a novel or short story, do you find yourself naturally writing a male protagonist? What about peripheral characters, do you unconsciously refer to them as he?

Gender is an inescapable part of character development. An author must choose what gender to make their characters just as they decide cultural background, appearance, personality traits. As much as we like to think we don’t propagate gender stereotypes, it is very easy to write characters that conform to them.

This week, Lucy, Charlotte, and I discuss writing characters of the opposite gender, gender neutral concepts, and the validity of some gender stereotypes. Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Breaking the Glass Slipper is available on Soundcloud, iTunes, Stitcher, and TuneIn.

Also, be sure to vote for our wonderful co-host Lucy’s debut novel Starborn in the David Gemmell fantasy awards!

About Megan Leigh

Writer and editor of Pop Verse. Co-host of Breaking the Glass Slipper. My special interests include publishing, creative writing, and geekery.


  1. Interesting episode, but what on earth is with the complete misrepresentation of Left Hand of Darkness?

    “There’s an alien race that can identify as either gender at any point in time” — well, no? They’re sexless, gender neutral, except for a brief period of heat more or less monthly when they can become either gender for the purposes of reproduction. The whole point is that most of the time they don’t identify as either gender. The description in the podcast made it sound more like genderfluidity.

    The comments on Ann Leckie’s books were spot on, though.

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