Killer Year–The Class of 2007

Girl vs. Boy
October 30, 2006, 8:31 am
Filed under: JT Ellison, Killer Year Founders

So my husband makes an entirely valid yet wholly offensive point that I have more estrogen than testosterone in my system, ergo I’m wont to be irrational about things. Now, he can get away with saying that to me, because I love him. Anyone else would be shot in their tracks.

I don’t find myself remotely irrational. Maybe that’s just the hormones, but I don’t see that my gender should dictate my mood. Though I’m often tricked by that.

Men are just… easier.

I’ve always been one of the boys. It’s just a thing. I grew up with two older brothers, neither of whom treated me like a china doll, more like a football to be tossed between them when I got in their way.

There were two boys my age – Barry and Troy, who were the only other kids in the neighborhood. They were rough and tumble kids, and we spent all our time together. Blissfully destroying our little world. Then, on a fine summer day, Susan moved in down the street.

Suddenly, it was much more appropriate for me to play with her. We sat inside, drank tea and made up stories for our (gulp) dolls, but I was so completely bored that I’d fuss and the visits would end early. Being forced to play with Barbies has to be one of my most abhorrent childhood memories.

My Dad, bless him, saw the trend early on and rescued me. He got me into sports, took me to football games and races, took me out to the golf course. In short, I did all the fun things the boys got to do.

As an adult, I still identify with the tomboy in me. It spills into my characters – my females aren’t fussy. They are down to earth women who enjoy a beer, enjoy football, are more likely to hang out with the male species than go shopping with other women. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I have anything against girly girls. I’m just not one of them, so I have a hard time writing that perspective.

A lot has been postulated recently on whether women are grittier, dirtier, more violent than men in their writing. I can’t answer that. I do have a very noir bent to my books, but I don’t know whether someone would read it and say “Oh, that was written by a woman. She’s trying to shock me, show me that she’s just as tough as a man.” I certainly don’t read male authors and say “Oh, he’s raped fourteen women, hung them up by their toes, drained them of blood, and bitten off their breasts. He must be overcompensating for a too-small penis.” This is truly a road to nowhere, but suffice to say I don’t buy into it. Women can be just as violent as men, and men can be just as sweet as women.

That said, I find it much easier to write from a male perspective – be it a good guy, or a not so good guy. It’s not less challenging, don’t get me wrong. And there’s several of those pesky biological reactions that because I don’t have the equipment, I have to, ahem, imagine. (Not something I generally like to poll my male friends and hubby about. “By the way, just what exactly does a hard on feel like? Do you know it’s coming, or do you find out too late? And why do they say imagine dead puppies?”)

But I digress.

Now wait. Is hard on supposed to be hyphenated? Hard-on or hard on?

And I’ve just spent ten minutes looking that up, and still don’t have an answer, and I’m laughing so hard at the sheer ridiculousness of my life – a world where a hyphen make ALL the difference.

God, sorry, I’m really going astray. I’ve just gotten Sandra R. and myself in hysterics, and that just shows you that I’m full of it.

But it sounded really good for a while there, didn’t it?


JT Ellison


Mira Books, November 2007

Posted from Nashville, where the men are men and the sheep are nervous.


19 Comments so far
Leave a comment

To avoid problems with hyphenation, try using ‘wood’ or ‘stiffie’. They’re sillier, too.

Comment by Daniel Hatadi

“Posted from Nashville, where the men are men and the sheep are nervous.”


Comment by anne frasier

OMG!! JT, I was just getting ready to write a scene from my male cop’s pov–but now you’ve made it just too “hard” for me, lol!

Thanks for the laugh!

Comment by CJ Lyons

SO… it hyphenated????????

Comment by Tasha Alexander

Don’t know. I was hoping one of our lauded readers could help me with that.

Comment by JT Ellison

Don’t know if it’s hyphenated, but it sure can be untimely and annoying on occasion…

Comment by Brett Battles

These guys hyphenate it, so I would too.

Comment by Daniel Hatadi

Daniel, did you really Wickie hard-on? I’ve corrupted you too.

Comment by JT Ellison

Geez, go out of town, miss the really great discussions.

I grew up in an all-boys neighborhood too, except for one girl who was a couple of years older then me, but of course, thought I was too young to bother to visit. (Ironically, we ended up friends as young women and I was a bridesmaid in her wedding.) But like you, I think “male” much more than “female” apparently (I’ve been told), and my women aren’t fussy, either, and really don’t give a rat’s ass about shoes. I think I’d have a much more difficult time writing a really uber feminine character than a male character.

Comment by toni mcgee causey

Your copyeditor will tell you what the house style is for hyphenating “hard-on” . . . actually this brings up a good discussion. What DO copyeditors REALLY think when they read our stuff? Between sex scenes and murder scenes, I’ve been curious. One copyeditor told me something wasn’t physically possible (it was, ask my husband) but it was my first book so I decided to just rewrite it rather than make a fuss. But I suffocated someone in my last book, it was in her POV, and made me wonder what CEs must think . . .

But hahas aside, what is this about people saying that women are intentionally trying to write more violent than men? What a bunch of crap. I write what I write because it’s what I want to write. I never consciously thought, “Hmm, I’d better have a higher, more violent body count in order to compete with male writers.” Pshaw. (which my CE says is the proper spelling when my heroine’s mother said it.)

This reminds me of a conversation I lurked on about giving villain’s POV. (the reason I lurked was because they were talking about me and I didn’t want to get defensive). Some people love the villain’s POV. Some people don’t. I write villain’s POV. My editor says they are my best scenes (please don’t analyze this). It’s the “you can’t please everyone all the time” argument. But I don’t write in the villain’s POV because I want to be a man.

Comment by Allison Brennan

Wait. Dead puppies? I was always told to think about baseball statistics or the multiplication tables. Dead puppies would turn a hot dog into a cold noodle, I fear.

And definitely hard-on.

Think of it this way: “I’ve been working so hard on that sex scene I’ve given myself a hard-on.”

. . .

. . .

Fiction, people. It’s fiction!

Comment by Bill Cameron

Allison, you’re right — the whole controversy is bunk. The simple fact that it ever came up, no pun intended of course, is ridiculous. I want readers, male, female or space alien. What appeals to the readers is what’s important. .
And thanks for the clarification. A hyphen it is.

Comment by JT Ellison

Great. Now I need to know if it’s hyphenated or not. And that just opens up a whole can of worms. What about asshole? Or is it ass-hole? Dick head? jerk off or jerkoff?

Anybody got a copy of the OED handy?

Comment by Stephen Blackmoore

I’ve had such a good time reading this post and all its comments. The whole lot of you have made my afternoon! And, Allison, you’ve really got me curious as to what your CE thought was physically impossible. And about jerkoff…are we talking noun or verb?

Comment by Barbie

I like Barbies.

Comment by Robert Gregory Browne

Oh, and by the way, when you’re 19, you don’t know when it’s coming. When you hit your 40’s you wait for it to catch up.

Comment by Robert Gregory Browne

And at any age it can get you into trouble.

Comment by Stephen Blackmoore

I generally use Macquarie for stuff like this, but I happened to remember the band, and Wiki happened to have a good page for them, and it all happened to be very funny.

Corrupting me? I think not. I mean, I’ve a certain amount of experience in the ‘field’.

Comment by Daniel Hatadi

I don’t get here often enough. You are all hysterical!

Comment by KDuba

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