So... this is the first piece of my own writing that I have ever actually published publically. It's kinda strange, I have been thinking about publishing something for a while - if I can ever manage to complete anything. Most stories I start go only a few pages before I run out of plot... I'm probably doing it wrong.
Anyway, I wrote this in response to a challenge set forth by one of my favorite authors. The challenge was to write a story with at least two characters, and never mention anyones gender. I thought this might be a perfect chance to write some kind of short story, and just get it out there.
The basis for this story is firmly planted in reality, though the story is fictional - insofar as the events never actually took place, and they didn't take place for anyone inparticular. The main characters thoughts and situation are similar to my own past, and the "did anything interesting happen" bit comes directly from my mother. But that's just inspiration.
The challenge was to leave out gender - it's not really relivant to the story, and as it turns out, it's not really relivant to most things. The narator has not been assigned a gender, not even in my own head - that was the easy part. The parents were trickier, since one would normally rely on prnouns like "he" or "she" or sue words like "mother" and "father" - without them, I did struggle to distinguish which parent was talking. Then I realized... it's not a big deal. I do give some direction based on the physical layout of the room, but I don't think which parent said any given line is a big deal. I know some parents that are like oposing elements, but some (like this couple) are a unit. They can hold a conversation with you as if it's only between two people.
The result is kinda cool, this could be a man and a woman, two men, two women, or they might not identify themselves in any of those terms. Yet... it's not important. They are loving and caring parents, with a kid that is inteligent - with some behavioral problems - that they are doing their best to raise and support.
I also left exactly what the narator did ambiguous. Just like the gender thing, it's not something defined even in my head. I'm not sure what it could be, but I thought it was more interesting to make it ambiguous.
As another note, I went and edited all uses of profanity. I didn't think my adult-level uses of "damn", "shit", and "fuck" fit my protagonist... so decided instead to use softer words. I'm not sure how it comes across, I don't have enough distance from my own writing. But I think I like it.