We all know that writer’s block can be a very real problem. I’ve not got it quite that bad — in fact I’m having a fairly productive few weeks — but I do have a problem.
I’ve mentioned recently that I’m writing a second novel. I won’t go into too much detail (and those of you who know about it, please don’t do so in the comments) but the basic idea comes from knowing that two authors, long dead, knew each other and also knew a few other interesting historical characters, and that if you look at some of their personalities, some of them line up pretty well with the principal characters in those authors’ novels. I’ve got rather a nice fun plot that basically rubs the stock plots from the two authors together until sparks fly, and all is good.
The only problem is, all six of the real historical figures around whom the story revolves are men. They’re not all straight men — one is gay and one is bi — but they’re all men. I decided to solve this problem by having two fictional characters, both women, be the protagonists, but I simply can’t fit them into the stock plots — one of those stock plots features two women, one who basically gets tied to the railtracks and one who’s a femme fatale, while the other features no women whatsoever. I have the characters, I have them involved in the situations, I can even get them to be part of the story, but I simply can’t give them any agency whatsoever. They’re Doctor Who companions, not the Doctor himself.
So do I:
Go ahead and write the book as is, dominated by male characters, put as many female characters in minor roles as possible, and reassure myself that it’s still infinitely less sexist than the source material?
Crowbar the women characters in anywhere I can, and hope that I find a place for them in the plot as the book gets written, but that that place doesn’t diminish the basic appeal of the book (which is that it’s *these* people in *this* kind of plot)?
Scrap the whole thing and start on the other, less good, novel idea I’ve got?
Do as a friend “helpfully” suggested, and gender-swap all the characters, make it steampunk, have it be a slash crossover with Hannibal and hope it gets the Tumblr audience?
Put it aside a few months and hope I get an idea?
Or do I do the really clever thing someone is about to suggest to me?