On choices in writing lady characters…

I have yet to read a novel in which female characters have menstrual cycles.

  –  from Tumblr, because badass girls taking down a vague yet menacing government agency or riding dragons to glory still get their periods.

If this topic bothers you, don’t read – but it’s a fact of life that women menstruate (unless you’ve had a IUD for 10+ years and are living the dream).  Thus, unless an author creates a world where women’s biology exists in some other fundamental way, this will be the case.  Now, have I ever included this element of my character’s lives in a book (published or not)?  No.  I have not.  As voracious a reader as I am, I can’t think of any book I’ve come across where someone is having ‘that time of the month.’  Sure, there have been miscarriages, but never – ‘wow, I have to worry about bleeding everywhere.’  Or, ‘oh shit, I have no control over my hormones.’

In my two most recent books, I could make mention of menstruation, but the topic never really occurred to me.  I mean, is it something people really want to read about?  Does it make my characters more ‘real’ that they could suffer through cramps?  Or would a reader just think, ‘what does this add to the story?’  Given that one of my characters is among the more powerful people in the world, I don’t want her to be seen as weak because of something all women live with.  Giving her PMS and then taking out her grumpiness on France just seems irresponsible.

What say you, reader?  More realistic female fiction, or just belongs in real life?

3 thoughts on “On choices in writing lady characters…

  1. Yo, what, my post made it out of Tumblr???!!! Dang!!!
    I’m gonna have to take a look at some of your books! I can’t say I’ve read any, but seeing that you’re an ex-pat (and I’m a diplomat’s kid) I’d love to see any connections I can draw to your works!

      1. Nah, it’s fine how it is. I’m not in it for the personal credit. I’m just really flattered that a post of mine got this much recognition!

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