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32

A few additional options: Introduce a named person (perhaps fictional), and use that person's name. "Terry wants to create an account. She chooses a password and types it into the text box. No, wait, Terry is a man. I think. Damn, that's a lousy example. Pat wants to create an account. Um, I mean Chris. No, wait. Maybe Dale. Er..." Use the imperative mood, ...


20

Normally the purpose of fiction is to let the reader immerse into your story - to get him caught deeply into the world you have created. If the reader is wondering about the narrator's gender all the time, there will be no immersion. If he assumes a gender and it is wrong then he will be ejected out of your story when he discovers his error. If you want to ...


16

As a reader, I tend to assume a gender (often but not always the same as the author's). The only reason this would bother me is that it's jarring when I discover I'm wrong, as I have to reimagine the character. As a writer I do try to clarify it early, and that's the advice I've heard from others as well. It's tricky in first person, especially if the piece ...


16

First of all, thinking of some conversations as solely the domain of women and some as solely the domain of men is not going to get you anywhere. For example I know of many female computer programmers, women in a male-dominated career field, who can talk circles around most guys when it comes to discussing computer hardware. I know men who enjoy sharing ...


13

Very few use he/she. In academia, there is currently a movement toward using the feminine pronoun at all times. That said, it is far more common (and less remarkable) to alternate pronouns as you suggested. As long as you stick with the same pronoun per example you'll be technically correct, although it is increasingly un-PC to use only male pronouns. Until ...


12

WARNING: This answer contains numerous links to TV Tropes, an irreverent taxonomy of common tropes in film and fiction. TV Tropes is highly addictive, wasting hours of "just checking the definition of one more term." You have been duly warned. Obviously, "strong female character" can cover a lot of territory! But here's what I see as the general ...


10

Short answer: The pro is that if you do it well, your fans will heartily appreciate it. The con is that it takes more effort, and if you resort to stereotypes or cardboard-cutouts for your female characters, it will annoy a whole lot of your readers. Long answer: First of all, who is your audience? Are you a man writing a story mainly for other men like you ...


9

I don't think this is really a problem with the story being in first person. Regardless of the POV you use, you need to be able to really understand your characters, and you need to present that understanding in a way that feels genuine. I think you need to decide whether there is something wrong, or if you just think there's something wrong. So, as John ...


9

Scientific and other non-literary publications are usually required to employ standard English. Spivak pronouns are not standard English usage, so would most likely not be accepted by most publishers, unless the publication deals with questions of gender-neutral language specifically. In scientific publications the master rule for style is to write clearly ...


7

The best advice I received when I started writing male characters was to stop thinking of them as males and start thinking about them as people. It's not so much what's in the pants as how they've grown up: a male character whose father pushed him to be a tough guy and give up unmasculine persuits is going to be totally different than one whose parents ...


7

It's good that you're thinking about it, because men and women generally do have different voices, different concerns, and different ways of approaching the world and its problems. The key is whether you're paying attention to the characters you've created. Is one sister the peacemaker and the other one aggressive and ambitious? Then the ambitious one is ...


7

They/their can be used in a singular context The user chooses a password, and then they type the password in to the text box


6

For technical writing, there are really only three rules. Rule 1) Write short sentences that are easily understood. Rule 2) Punctuate correctly and avoid semicolons; they make sentences longer, are almost always unnecessary and can be potentially confusing to the reader. Rule 3) There are no other rules. That said... The third-person singular pronouns in ...


6

Get a woman! Yeah, for proofreading, what did you think? This irking notion is not so much different from all the other irking notions which assail your mind during writing. If you write about a male politician, do you know how he feels and acts? Have you ever been a politician? How does it feel when the oppositions wants your head because of a wrong ...


6

Ask your teacher. I had one who didn't mind, and the others suggested ways to write around the problem (variously, use the "universal he," use the "universal she," alternate he and she, recast the sentence as plural). Each teacher will have different preferences. It doesn't hurt to ask upfront.


6

If you are writing the essay for a class in gender studies, or if the teacher is an extreme feminist, I would say yes, go ahead and use synthetic gender-neutral pronouns. If the essay is about sexism, maybe. Otherwise, no. Very few English speakers are familiar with any given proposed set of gender-neutral pronouns. There are dozens of such proposals out ...


4

The easiest rewrite is to change the sentence itself to use a plural noun. I find myself doing this a lot. The user chooses a password, and then he types it in the text box. to Users choose a password, and then they type it in the text box. Reference: Handbook of Technical Writing. Brusaw, Alred, Oliu. The phrase "he or she" is OK IMHO if used ...


4

I think this is going to depend on the author. Women write male MCs all the time, and I can think of several successful male author/female characters to add to your list: Michael Cunningham in The Hours, Flaubert's Madame Bovary and her friend Anna Karenina by Tolstoy, Thackerey's Vanity Fair, etc. Although I also think there's a significant subjectivity ...


4

There's a can of worms I'm going to try to avoid opening here... Suffice to say that I think a lot of what informs the "difference" between men and women comes down to societal metrics. If the society you are describing is more equal some differences will disappear as societal roles are redefined. From what I have been told by women I have known is that ...


4

My response would have to be that the narrator's gender is irrelevant unless you choose to make it relevant. I would say, in addition to that, that if you do choose to make the gender of the narrator relevant, that you should decide early in your writing whether you want to make it clear or hide it from your reader. It can be a very powerful effect to ...


3

Observe Start with observation. You may want to investigate conversation analysis; what I'm going to describe is a watered-down version of it. Go to a place where people talk publicly, freely, and audibly. A train station is an excellent place; you have an excuse to sit and observe. Try to find a pair of people; the techniques are harder with more than a ...


3

I don't think it's made up to be that big of an issue, but personally, I'd stay back because I can't relate to the nuances of the female mind. Is that easy to pretend? Maybe, but I'd feel weird about doing it. Why would I write in the mind of a woman? I think people would ask questions. If you're doing it, just stay away from cliches. Play it safe and write ...


3

I can't say this has ever been a significant issue for me in twenty years of technical writing. You are rarely if ever writing about the user, but are generally writing to them. In some situations, you might end up writing to one user about another user—for example, when your audience consists of system administrators or developers, who will be concerned ...


3

I'd ask whether you are trying to do anything with the reader's knowledge of the narrator's gender. From your added comment it seems like you are not; in that case, I'd ask whether it's important for the story whether the narrator even has a particular gender. Again, it seems like it's not. I'd say, then, that you can improve your story by tying in this ...


2

Gender-Neutral Pronouns. ze. Hir. See "Invented pronouns" & summary chart on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender-neutral_pronoun & defeat gender conventions working 9-5. :)


2

I don't think it's necessarily any more difficult than just writing about a character that is different to yourself. A male writing as a female is no different than if he wrote about someone of a different nationality, race, or creed. You'll face the same core obstacle, which is the ability to put yourself in the shoes of that person, and see the world ...


2

A character is a character is a character is a character regardless of genre. A character is a set of behaviors (words and actions) and reactions to those behaviors by the other characters. Even the physical description of the character can give us clues to her personality. How she carries herself. Assuming I'm interpreting what you mean by "strong" in the ...


2

Funny, no one has mentioned the MS Manual of Style for Technical Publications ... Avoid the generic masculine pronoun. Use the instead of his, or rewrite material in the second person (you) or in the plural. If necessary, use a plural pronoun such as they or their with an indefinite singular antecedent, such as everyone, or with multiple antecedents of ...


2

Just use singular "they". People who bleat on about it being somehow gramatically incorrect need to educate themselves, either by doing a modicum of research, or just looking up the word in a dictionay. @spence one of the problems I've encountered in the UK is that many people have been mis-educated to be indoctrinated with this rubbish that "they" is ...


2

I think that, as in relationships, if you focus too much on trying to figure out how their actions are defined by their gender, you won't be spending enough time on just getting to know the person as a person. So does it help to get a woman to read it? Maybe. Or maybe it's better to get a married man to read it! Hard to say. No matter who you get, they need ...



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