Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I’ve been looking at my current Work In Process (which means books that I’ve written that I have to edit, or books that I’m writing now) and realized that I write a lot of MALE protagonist. I must be honest, it’s totally not on purpose, it is just what comes out of me. For me it’s fairly easy to write because I used to be a tomboy when I was little, but have always had more male friends than female. Not to mention, I’m an engineer who finds herself the only female in the room lots of times.


I’ve been looking at the 2011 upcoming book list, and I have to admit, the MALE POV (point of view) is scarce. Oh, there are beautiful covers for books for girls that make me want to salivate. But the dwindling boy books has me worried.


Since I do love the freedom and difference in writing in boy, all of my books have strong girls. I can’t help writing equally strong females. I personally don’t get warm and fuzzies reading about a girl that needs a boy to save her, or one that’s not that smart and finds herself in messes that she should have seen coming, or girls that are just absorbed in fashion and appearance. Since I don’t personally like to read books like that, I’m soooooo not like that myself, and don’t have many friends that are like that, writing a girl like that is quite a stretch for me.

So that brings me to think, should I re-evaluate my growing list of novels I want to write to include way more girls. I only have 3 out of the 22 ideas in my to-be-written folder with girls.


COLOR ONLINE’s list of books of People of Color coming out 2011:

GoodReads list of books coming out 2011: Seems to be a lot of paranormal, Dystopian, and Romance books:


Should I keep writing books with my MALE Protagonist with strong female support characters. Or should I go with the trends and write more FEMALE Protagonist?

As a girl, I do like to read books from the MALE point-of-view….but do other girls? Do guys even want to read these books…or do they just want to read Magna, Graphic novels or Comics?


Jeffrey Beesler said...

Write what you want to write. Don't write to trend, because the trend will die before you get your work published. If you write for reasons other than your own, your writing will reflect that. Play to your strengths.

salarsenッ said...

Hotheads go to Jeffery! True that! I'm currently writing my MG wip from the boy's pov and I love it. I do have three boys. It helps.

Hutch said...

I agree with with Jeff. Most of my main characters are female and I spend a lot of time writing through thier pov. But I also have more female friends than male, (my wife is getting jealous of my followers). For me it is comfortable writing from a female pov. My only male character (a PI) seems to be stuck on the first few chapters of about six different stories. (think its time for a sex change)

Kelly Hashway said...

My middle grade manuscript has a male POV, but my YA manuscript has a female POV. I worry about males reading YA, but the Percy Jackson series, the Alex Rider series, and also Peeps by Scott Westerfeld are all popular and have male POVs. So, it definitely can be done. I'd say write what you are dying to write. Follow your instincts because only you know what is going to work for your story.

Shannon said...

A good friend of mine writes ya fantasy from a boys perspective and she told me an interesting fact. Girls will read anything, boys persepective, girls perspective, cats persepective. But boys tend to only want to read boy books at certain ages. So in writing from a boys persepective, you are actually reaching the whole market.

LM Preston said...

This is refreshing to know. I pondered over this for so long, which is one of the reasons why my female book came out before my male one. If I couldn't write what I loved, I probably wouldn't write.

Louise said...

I would keep to your current point of view and what is most comfortable for you. I wouldn't write as a boy personally because for me it's much easier to write as a girl. I think you'll find though that quite a lo of YA writers are women so the protagonist tends to be a woman.

Krista Ashe said...

It's tough for me to comment b/c I followed my "voice" for a novel, wrote a male POV book, which landed me 3 agent offers. It also caught the eye of an editor who loved it, but then it died in acquistions b/c of the dreaded boy book factor.

I say write what you know and feel while maybe also working on something that is industry driven. It sucks, but the market is tough right now.

Good look!!

Pk Hrezo said...

I say go with what fees natural for the story. If you want to try writing from a girl's POV make her a tomboy. You never know til you try. But I wouldn't write anything for the trends. Be authentic and you'll be better than forcing something.

Michelle said...

Editors are asking for male POV MG books. Boys also tend to like to read first person (or so I've heard.) YA? That's a different story. Unfortunately boys tend to grow out of MG and hop straight into adult books. That's a trend I'd like to see change. (Both MCs in my MG books are male, btw.)

Michelle said...

SUPER cool book trailer. I love the music!

Catherine Stine said...

I totally share your angst, as I often write from the guy's POV. Look, I had a brother, and I have two sons, and my brother has five boys, and I was really close to my dad as a kid. So, what the heck!!??
The published YA I did has an alternating girl/boy POV. And I have a couple of as yet unpubbed YAs from a guy's POV (both with strong girl chars.
I'm writing a YA now with a girl protag.
Let's see which gets the best attention.
I can't afford to let it drive me nuts. I have to write to the story. Ya know?

Donna said...

I'm a lot like you in that the male POV comes more naturally, or a very strong-willed, independent female character. I wouldn't write for the trend because I know, whenever I read agent blogs, they're all looking for a strong male POV in YA. The thing with a male POV, not only will you tap into an under-targeted market but you'll get crossover appeal with females since they're more willing to read books with male POVs than boys are with female POVs.

I vote go for it. Write the male.

LM Preston said...

Thank you Michelle, the video was created by Shoshana Epsilon who's a gem.

Melissa said...

Write what you want to. Things will work out from there.

Laura said...

Please, PLEASE keep "writing in boy." Ever heard of Pendragon? Harry Potter? Gregor the Overlander? Percy Jackson? Ranger's Apprentice? Gregor the Overlander? Eragon? Paper Towns? These are all books very popular with boys AND girls, told from the male POV, with strong female characters to boot. And let's face it--the seeming flood of female POV's is due at least in part to the popularity of Twilight. And God forbid boys get the impression that reading is all about girls and vampires. :P What with schools' concern that boys tend to lag behind in reading, they need writers like you to justify liking reading and provide them with material they can relate to.

Erin L. Schneider said...

I absolutely love a good YA read from a boy's POV.

I haven't read too many that hit the boy-lingo spot on - but recently just finished reading I AM NUMBER FOUR, by Pitticus Lore. This is a great example of an amazing read, from a boy's POV - and one that I really feel, got it right (granted, the two authors, are both male).

So, IMHO, I say keep writing from the boy's point of view. It's different than what most of us write - and it's definitely something needed in the YA genre. Not to mention, will hopefully get more young male readers, to pick up a good book!

Great blog post!

Madigan McGillicuddy said...

Don't write to the market - I think there are readers hungry for a male POV, because, you're right, there isn't much of that lately. You'll set yourself apart by being unique.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's the voice that really sells it. I say write in the voice that you find most compelling and other people will find it that way too.
I have the same problem. All the voices of guys or girls who kick arse, and that's just how it is. I think there's enough readers who will relate to those voices.

Girl Friday said...

I do think boy POV is a harder sell in YA. Not in MG, there are plenty that sell extremely well(Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl, Wimpy Kid, Alex Rider) - but for teens, yes. Teen boys just don't read fiction as much as girls, and publishers have to look at their audience. Of course if it's fantastic, it will always break out, but I do believe it's trickier.

I saw an agent turn down a great YA pitch recently simply because it was 'too male' and wouldn't appeal to girls. If there's some romance in there, or a female sidekick, then I don't think it's as hard.

I like writing boy POV too, like you I was a tomboy - but I'm sticking to MG.

Kate said...

I'm writing a YA from a boy's POV, too. Just write what you write. I agree that the voice is the seller.

It may be harder, but hey. So?

Debra Baseden said...

Shannon's right about the girl/guy dynamic. I loved "Black Hole Sun" and "The Marbury Lens," although "Marbury" was way darker. (The creepiest, though, is "Unwind." Great book, but THAT SCENE will haunt me forever.) "Across The Universe" is on the cusp, so I'd be interested to know what guys thought of it. Right now two of my WIPs are from the guy's POV--I've often said I'm a 17-year old boy trapped in the body of a 40-something housewife (now THERE's a story idea). An NO WAY can I tone those WIPs down to MG. But to wrap this up, keep writing & keep us posted!

veela-valoom said...

As a girl who is a tomboy in her reading habits I can think of a good number of boy POV.

1. Current Printz Winner Ship Breaker
2. Books by Matt de la Pena
3. Maze Runner
4. Unwind (mostly boy 2/3 perspective)
5. Going Bovine (another Printz winner)
6. Chaos Walking trilogy alternates some but Todd is definitely the MC in my head completely

And that's without even looking (did not go to goodreads, just remembered the few that popped in my head).

So maybe they aren't as common but they aren't exactly non-existent either. Most readers of YA are girls for whatever reason so its understandable that they publish more "girl" YA (most of which I don't actually read lol). You may just be making a mountain out of a mole-hill.

Rusty B. said...

Write what seems natural to the story. When you do that, you will notice some interesting things: The majority of the characters in my book are boys. The strongest character is a girl. Yet some of the girls who have read the early copies identify with one of the boy characters. Why? Because he is the most knowledgeable. The girl wishes to be the most knowledgeable and so she identifies with the boy. Likewise, some boys identify with the female character because of her ability to control the people around her. Depending on your readers, some readers identify more with the skill of the character than the gender. In some demographics, kids have a more modern view that they just identify with the character containing the attributes they desire, not the gender.

Emilia Quill said...

My four all time favorite characters are:

Vanyel created by Mercedes Lackey
Falk created by Ursula K.Leguin
The Ilse Witch created by Terry Brooks
and Fitz created by Robin Hobb.

Except for the Ilse Witch, who was created by a man, all of the above are men or boys created by women and the stories are told from their perspective. Except for the Ilse Witch again, she's the antagonist.
I love all of the characters for who they are, gender didn't have much to do with it. It might be because I was a tomboy, but I had no trouble empathazing with them.

I have four stories in progress, my main has a girl protagonist, but I also write from non-human persperciive.
My other stories have a 11 year old boy, a middle aged man and a 16 year old boy as the protagnist and main POV. I couldn't write the stories if they weren't who they are and being a boy/man is part of that.

Like you the girls and women are strong willed. Even though I love clothes I couldn't see any of my characters wanting to dress up when the world's in danger.

Only Nancy Springer is YA, but I read all of those books between 13-17 and loved them.
I will likely love your books though I've grown out of YA age some years ago.