Today I rewrote the synopses for my novella proposal again. I'm more satisfied this time with how the plots are laid out; the stakes are higher for everyone concerned, especially in the third (and concluding) book.
I've also reached just over 2.7k words on the new Spider-thief story. I think I'm about 1/3 of the way through, but I'm writing out of sequence so my initial estimate that this one would turn out around 8k words may be way off. In the meantime, there are spiders and a case of mistaken identity between twins which could have lethal consequences, a handsome King of Assassins (who sounds like Antonio Banderas in my head) and a vengeful spirit. It's a fun story with some serious bones, all set in a renaissance-esque world of magic and silly conspiracies.
I'm not the sort of person who ever writes something because someone tells me I should. (Although I am the kind of person who writes something because someone tells me I can't or shouldn't.) But, as a part of challenging myself as a writer, I do sometimes write things way outside my own experience. Sometimes this works out well and sometimes it doesn't. (That short story with the straight up misogynist MC? Still needs a lot of work. The unfinished novel with the bigot as an MC? Well, it's unfinished, but it has a lot of worthwhile material in it.)
Anyway. A couple of weeks ago there was this thing about better representation of non-binary gendered characters in fiction. Basically, this one woman said "There should be a better representation of the full spectrum of gender experience," and then this dude, who is apparently older and makes more money than all the rest of us, got his shorts in a twist and told all writers everywhere that if we wrote about non-binary gendered characters we would be boring and unsuccessful.
I say, challenge accepted!
Which brings me back to both the synopses and the Spider-thief story. I've had the Spider-thief story in-progress for a while and it has a supporting character who is transgendered. I knew it would be that way from the point I first stumbled over the plot. Not because I have to fill some sort of quote or incorporate some sort of message into my fiction, but because it is absolutely what the story calls for.
The novellas are newer in development, so perhaps the seed of the idea that I should be looking for opportunities to write with more diversity of character was there. I don't know for certain. I do know that I had an idea to make the story deeper and it involves a character that is transgendered. It also involves the heartbreaking response of family who doesn't understand what that means.
I'll also freely admit, I'm not sure I understand what that means. But I like to try and think outside my own skin. And when I do that, invariably I wind up putting some of what I discover on paper. I can only hope I do it justice.