Purposeful, Habitual, and Gratuitous

“As early as 1959 or ’60, I’d noticed that there was something terribly wrong with the female characters in most novels I was reading. Most of the writers (men and women) tended to conceive of their male characters as combinations of purposeful actions, habitual actions, and gratuitous actions. A female character, in contrast, would be all gratuitous action if it was a “good woman,” with no purposes and no habits; if it was a “bad woman,” she would be all purpose, with no gratuitous actions and no habits. This seemed silly. Very early on I tried to think about women characters in terms of all three — actions purposeful, habitual, and gratuitous.”

–Samuel Delany, interviewed in Alive and Writing: Interviews with American Authors of the 1980s,by Larry McCaffery and Sinda Gregory, University of Illinois Press, 1987, pp. 99-100.

About Victoria Janssen

Victoria Janssen’s first erotic novel, The Duchess, Her Maid, The Groom and Their Lover (Harlequin Spice, December 2008), was translated into French and German. Her second Spice novel, The Moonlight Mistress (December 2009), was translated into Italian and nominated for a RT Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award. Her third novel is The Duke & The Pirate Queen (December 2010). She has also published erotic short stories as Elspeth Potter. Her blog features professional writing and marketing tips, genre discussion, book reviews, and occasional author interviews.
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