One of the reasons I wanted to write novels was a #MeToo moment that occurred when I was a young scientist. However, I didn’t want my writing about this incident to be an exposé on sexual harassment but rather a way to show a character’s motivation. I also didn’t want to rush to write about this incident until I was an experienced author. Hence, I included the incident in my tenth novel Games for Couples.
I think you will be surprised as you learn which characters were sexually harassed in this murder mystery. Here’s a thumbnail sketch of Games for Couples:
A biotechnology company is desperately racing to develop cultured meat products—meat made from cells in a test tube—-before their competitors. Disaster strikes. A subject in a clinical trial testing one of their new cultured meat product dies. Was his death caused by lethal compounds in the cultured meat, sabotage by a competitor, or the spite of battling couples?
I hope that convinced you the plot is strong. Now let’s talk about Me Too moments and why they might be good writing tools.
Sexual harassment in the workplace is common. A 2017 poll found that 54% of American women report receiving "unwanted and inappropriate" sexual advances with 95% saying that such behavior usually goes unpunished. A number of well-publicized cases have occurred in the entertainment industry, but many have also been documented in the scientific community.
One purpose of the Me Too Movement is to highlight the difference between sympathy and empathy. Sympathy is understanding someone else’s misfortunes from your own perspective. Empathy is understanding the plight of others by putting yourself in their shoes.
All authors struggle to engage readers by developing multi-dimensional characters. A plot is generally not believable without realistic characters. A common maxim among writers is: Don’t tell me. Show me. In essence, that’s a simplistic way of saying authors need to build empathy for their characters, not make them objects of pity.
Many Americans think sexual harassment is bad because it is painful and illegal. They forget that harassment has long-term consequences and affects many important life decisions made by women.
In Games for Couples, I tried to show how several characters developed because of MeToo moments. I hope you’ll be surprised and agree MToo moments can supply the motivation for many actions by characters.
Bio: J. L. Greger writes is a biologist from the University of Wisconsin-Madison who consulted internationally. The pet therapy dog Bug in her Science Traveler Series novels is exactly like her own stoical Japanese Chin. https://www.jlgreger.com
Marilyn Meredith says, Janet is my guest today, she's a good friend and Games for Couples is a fascinating mystery--Do give it a try.