Some phenomenally huge proportion of original trainer characters in fanfiction, at least in my experience, are North American teenagers with very similar characteristics to their North American teenage authors. Recently on this forum I saw a post by a girl who claimed that writing a female character gave her positive feelings she didn't get from writing males, which made me notice this trend anew and think on it from a different angle. Perhaps many people simply 'write what they know' - their own experience of life and their own traits?
So, I was wondering, who here finds difficulty in write a character that is not your own gender?
When I was younger, I found it uncomfortable to write female characters, (I am phenotypically male), because I always felt I didn't understand the 'female mentality'. These days, as a more enlightened human being who actually talks to girls - far more than my male peers, it turns out - I often have female characters as my main protagonists. I honestly feel there's no intrinsic differences of personality between the sexes: sure, there are physical ones, and some mental ones such as the "multitasking/spatial awareness tradeoff" but I believe that gender is so unimportant to a character that I often leave that decision until last when creating characters.
In fact, this issue is more than just gender. What about race? I make it a rule for myself never to have more than a third of my human casts be caucasian. What about faith? As someone disillusioned with religion, I rarely even mention in while writing, but the overabundance of Christianity makes me want to write a Muslim character. (Is that a result of the anti-Arab culture in the US, perhaps? Do Americans fear radical Islam too much to write sane, moral believers?) What about sexuality? As someone who is demisexual - that is, unable to experience sexual attraction except in very specific circumstances, with strong emotional attachment as a prerequisite - I find this issue particularly fascinating, because of how uncomfortable many straight people are with writing homosexual characters. For me, writing any sexual attraction into my characters is a strange experience, as I barely understand it myself. Regardless, it's no real obstacle for me, and I can identify with a character who is nothing like me on the outside, because there is something common to all of us ; human nature, which transcends boundaries of culture, time or circumstance, for good or ill. Hence, an Indonesian, Islamic, lesbian woman can seem as close to me as an asexual caucasian male.
Your thoughts, Bulbagarden?