Friday, June 4, 2010

Gender Specifics

Being a female myself, I have always written from the female perspective--because it's what I know. My MC is always a girl. When I was younger however, I used to want to show what everyone in the story felt, so I would end up writing from ALL character perspectives--male, female, animal, name it.

Eventually I just stuck with the female POV because it made sense. But I like to know what everyone else is thinking too--especially the male MC and particularly if he is the love interest of my female MC. I always imagine how things are on his end of the spectrum in vivid detail, because even though readers aren't seeing things as they progress in his mind, I want them to be able to understand his actions and reactions.

It's not necessary to make your MC the same gender as you in order to write a good book. Look at J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter anyone? How about E.B. White and Charlotte's Web? Or A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. Also Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

I think you should be able to write from any perspective as long as you understand your character and know what it is you want to convey to your reader.

I am curious to know whether your MC is a male or female. From what perspective do you write and why did you choose the same or opposite of what you are? Which is easier for you?


Anonymous said...

Love this kind of discussion!

I tend to write in First Person, Past tense. Mainly first, because I love books that make me feel like I am them (that character). I am usually a girl as well, but mind you I think sometimes I may forget their weaknesses to show so readers can relate and see the dynamics. As for males, I've been told "mine talk to much to make it believable" so I'm working on that.

If you like to show everyone's perspective/thoughts--have you considered writing in third person? This way you could do that, and I think it works great with 2 or more MC's because some of their thinking/private actions from MC could be crucial to the storyline. This might be something that could be you niche!

Veronica Barton-Dean said...

My current WIP has two main characters. Both male and female, but honestly its the nature of the story. Most of my others...yeap...female.

Jemi Fraser said...

My current ms is told from the perspective of both the male and female MCs. I like getting both sides of the story - and there's a bit of romance in everything I write :)

I think having a hubby, a son & a ton of boys in my classroom over the years, make it not too hard for me to get inside the male persona.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for visiting my blog! It means a lot to me! :D

I have a few main characters, but really only two of them are male. But even though I'm a woman, I don't find it particularly harder to write in a male's POV. I just have to think more about how most guys would react in any given situation, ie, taking longer to show emotion.

WritingNut said...

Sara - I know what you mean - I really like to get inside the character's head as well. Thank you for your great advice. I find the majority of my books are now in the first person, but I'm debating whether or not to at least include one other POV in order to let readers see what quirky thoughts are running through my male MC's mind - he may be a little difficult to decipher otherwise!

Veronica - thank you for sharing!

Jemi - I always have a romantic element in my stories as well. And you're right, being exposed to so many different male personalities is very helpful.

Amanda - you're very welcome :). Our life experiences can help us with decoding our characters and determining how they would react in specific situations.

Thank you all for sharing!

notesfromnadir said...

Good question.
It's usually easier to write from the female perspective if you're female. Usually. But sometimes the story demands a main character that's male & then you can write from the POV. It might take a little more research & observation, but it's actually fun.

WritingNut said...

Lisa - I agree. It also gives you the chance to truly relate from a different perspective, because you need to get into that person's head.

Catherine Denton said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

I have written from both perspectives. I think writing as a "girl" mc comes easier for me but I enjoyed writing from both.
Winged Writer

WritingNut said...

Catherine - thank you for stopping by too and sharing! :)