by J(seattle)

Hi! So long story short, my main character is basically genderless and I can’t figure out how to convey that through POV and pronoun usage. any help would be greatly appreciated!Answer: Many people these days wish the English language had some gender-neutral pronouns (other than “it”). Unfortunately, while there have been plenty of suggestions, none has actually come into widespread use. “They” is probably the leading contender, though some grammarians hate it. That may change in another generation or so, but that doesn’t help you much today.I do note that the Oxford English dictionary has recently included the title “Mx.” as an alternative to “Mr.,” “Ms.,” “Miss,” and “Mrs.” However, you may find that many readers have no idea how to pronounce “Mx.” (I believe it’s “Mix.”)Many children’s books feature genderless main characters and get around the pronoun obstacle by always referring to the main character by name or some other neutral tag such as “the tree” or “the shepherd.” You might experiment with this approach.As for point of view, I think you could probably write in first person and never actually mention the main character’s gender. This would create a mystery in the mind of the reader, especially if the character’s sexual orientation is equally ambiguous. Of course, at a later point in the book, you could let the reader know how the main character views his/her gender. (Readers like to find out if their guesses are right.)Of course, gender identity is not just about how a character sees him/herself but how other characters respond to him/her (see, I have trouble with the pronoun issue too). You might consider having characters respond differently to your main character according to their judgements about whether this character is male or female.To take a crude example, one character could hold a door open for the main character, while another waits for the main character to open a car door for her. Keeping the evidence evenly balanced, would create ambiguity regarding the main character’s gender.If you don’t write in first person, or write from another character’s viewpoint, then your narrator will likely form an opinion about your genderless character, and that opinion may say something about your narrator.Sorry that’s not more definitive, but society is in an awkward phase right now.

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