The way towards writing enlightened fiction is to be constant in enlightening ourselves.
Recent research reading, an essential guide to women and men's brains...
If you want to be able to get inside the thought processes of the opposite gender then for me it's important to keep up with the latest research helping to explain it. It's also important to understand your own gender too. Gender-wise we are not alien species. We're just made different by our genetic construction in the womb. It's a matter of XX and XY that inevitably shapes us as males and females. That biological process is complex and not a matter of social conditioning (though it has a part to play as we grow). To understand how the genders respond, not only to each other but to their own gender, is essential for my understanding. It's invaluable when seeking inspiration for character motivation in a storyline.
One of the areas I'm keen to explore in my writing is what constitutes identity. Is identity a matter of mind alone? And is mind a matter of biological gender? Or is it even more complex leading In turn to question, what is the mind? This then leads to questioning how do we understand the mind in philosophical terms? In this process we can begin to unravel what and who we are while at the same time understanding what as a writer we do when we create our fictional characters.
One of the useful books I've recently dipped into has helped to sharpen my focus on the nature of identity. It's not the easiest read unless you've previously undertaken some academic study but it does contain much that is accessible even for lay readers. So I can also recommend 'Personal Identity' by Martin and Barresi. The way towards trying to write enlightened fiction is to to be constant in enlightening ourselves. I can recommend all three books for those wanting to get into the deep end. For those content to shallower but still enlightening reads then 'The Female Brain' will prove a worthwhile use of your time.