By day I work 60 hour weeks. At night I am a devoted father and husband to the world's greatest family. Somewhere in the non-existent time between the two, I am a writer. Join me from the beginning as I chronicle my adventures to become a successful published author.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Day 1,480 - PTSD and Gender

As I've dived deeper and more frequently into my WIP, my mind starts thinking of it more often throughout the day. Where is the story going? What questions and dilemmas are arising inside of it naturally? What themes?

Probably the biggest one I have been pondering is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). There is a quite a bit of it in the story, as it centers around a group of people all dealing with the effects of combat and military service in civilian life. PTSD is manifested in countless little ways in life, and each person struggles with different aspects of it.

While in the shower (where the deep thoughts of the universe come to all), one perspective I realized I was missing was that of a woman. In fact, so far my story basely mentioned women. It's not intentional, it's just because the setting has been, by nature, a kind of "good ole boys" club.

But women dealing with PTSD have unique challenges and less support. I came across this quote from a 2013 news article:

"Of the approximately 280,000 females who have been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan in the past 12 years, 152 have died and at least 800 have been wounded."

That seems like a lot, and it is. Yet compared to men, it's far smaller. And this creates a problem. The support groups, like combat troops, are filled predominantly with men. And when a male gets home, other men are there to share in the pain and lift them up with somewhat familiar activities that work well with the American male psyche. But women... who do they turn to? Will the the stay at home mom, working professional, or nails, hair, and clubs groupie get it? Yes, some sympathy will be expressed, but the difference between the American ideals of a "fairer sex" and a combat woman who has seen lives taken and taken them herself are vast.

And so this brings me to a possible major revision to my WIP.

At the end of my first draft, I'm going to read through it with one major question in mind: Can this story work if the MC is a combat veteran women, not a man? What would I need to change?

I hope this novel is a major commercial success. It's certainly being written with that in mind. Would it hurt or benefit sales? Do I even care? I like the idea of the change. If I write it first as a male, it will help reduce subconscious attempts to soften her. She would be just as strong a protagonist as her counterparts. Not "women strong" or "women power". Just "strong" and "powerful".

I like women role models that break the mold and make people think. Perhaps this one can.

We shall see.

Also, wrote for 25 minutes and did 413 words.


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