Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X is for X chromosomes: A to Z blogging challenge

When I started to write Going Through the Change, I hadn't thought my way in too deeply. I'm a discovery writer that way--I just start writing and see where the story takes me. I don't really make a plan, it's more like I find the plan by looking at what's there. Then, I work backwards, making the story lead more clearly to where it ended up meandering.

L. Alvarez, drawn by +Charles C. Dowd 
Part of that meander was a research wander through genetics an gender.  Writing Linda/Leonel Alvarez had me researching and considering estrogen and testosterone, X and Y chromosomes, what kinds of things make a person "male" or "female" both genetically and socially.

Gender as a feature of identity is fascinating. Myself, I'm pretty dull. I'm cisgender. The world sees me as female and so do I. I'm even straight. Boring. But, it's who I am.

Linda's much more fluid than that. She was cisgender for 48 years. Then, a fluke of comic book science turned her into a man. The world sees her as Leonel, a virile man. Inside, though, she still feels like she's Linda, a wife, mother and grandmother.

Gender identity is extra tricky for her because she didn't choose change. As she says in the sequel I'm working on now: "I didn't cross the border; the border crossed me."

In writing, I found I needed both sets of pronouns for Linda/Leonel. When we're in her point of view, she calls herself by female pronouns and uses the name Linda, but the other characters call her Leonel and describe her with male pronouns. It meant I got to write fun things like:
"Her penis stirred a little against her new bathrobe as she remembered the pleasures of the night and the morning. He could still be hers, and she could still be his. They were the same people, even if she was housed differently now."
I'm so glad Linda came into my story. She's teaching me so much!
This posting is part of the A to Z blogging challenge, in which bloggers undertake to post every day in April, excepting Sundays, which amounts to 26 postings, one for each letter of the alphabet--preferably along a theme. My postings will all be about my debut novel and my experiences writing it and seeing it published.

Blogging A to Z is a great opportunity to connect with some excellent bloggers and interesting people. I encourage you to check out other participating blogs, too!

click the image to preorder on Amazon!


  1. I love how you're exploring gender identity. I'm boring, as you say, like you, but it is amazing how human beings differ. I find it sad that so many people cannot accept that.
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

    1. Thanks Tasha! Half the fun in writing is a chance to live in another skin.

  2. I'm just finding you now that we're staggering toward the end of the challenge--so glad I did. Your book sounds great. "A Menopausal Superhero Novel." Love it!

    1. Thanks so much for coming by! I really enjoyed writing the book and hope people will like reading it, too.

  3. ''I didn't cross the border, the border crossed me.'' Reading this got me wondering how it would be for a person to go through such a situation. Interesting to see that you've explored this aspect and expressed it through the character.

    1. Linda has always been strong on the inside. Now it's external, too.

  4. Sounds fascinating! I just bought the book, so I'm looking forward to getting into the story. Should be fun!