Monday, March 14, 2011


Well, if you didn’t know it, I’m a female writer of young adult novels. My debut novel, Explorer X – Alpha’s main character was a male. A boy named Aadi that was fourteen years old is a stretch from a grown female writer that created him. For me though, writing a male was much more exciting than writing a female. My novel, The Pack has a female, blind vigilante as the main character. Shamira was a lot harder for me to write than Aadi, simply because I take being female for granted. But, now my upcoming book, BANDITS has a main character named, Daniel, who's a thief.

Many authors I’ve met write female main characters, because they feel as though their understanding of the male psyche is vague. Also, they think that girls are the larger reading audience and that it’s a lot easier to sale a book written with females in mind than males. I personally disagree. As a girl, I liked reading books from a boy’s point of view. I felt that it allowed me to delve further into boy’s thoughts, and enjoyed reading about both sexes.

As a writer, writing something totally different than I am everyday is like living out an adventure of my own making. Picture a writer as an actor, playing a part out in their head as they write. In order to feel comfortable writing a character – you have to study people that fit that character’s profile.


Although my initial inclination is to write as a male, I still have tons of challenges trying to portray male characters correctly. Since my career as an engineer is a male dominated profession, it’s been a great source of subject matter to use when writing.

Male character’s experience emotion, they just show it in different ways than females. Not to mention their dialogue is different from most females. Those subtle differences a writer has to take the time to notice. Society has certain expectations and rules for males and writing as a male should fit those boundaries – otherwise, the reader will notice.

Aadi was easy for me to write, because I have a son that’s the same age as my main character. My kid somewhat fits Aadi’s character profile because he’s a jock and a good student. Most writers pull their character profiles from someone they know, researched, or imagined.

Writing Daniel was sooooo fun. He was bad, had attitude, a chip on his shoulder and got to fall in love, and seduce a girl - just the way me (a girl) dream of a perfect guy falling in love with me.

When I write in boy, it’s like I’m acting out that character’s adventure and it becomes my own. Writing Aadi was exciting to for so many reasons. I was able to shed my daily makeup as a girl, and for the months it took me to write him – I was able to be young again, strong, and powerful. Not just young, but be a boy.


Writing a female main character allows me to express deeper emotions, to be what I am everyday – a girl. You know what? For me, it’s difficult, because writing as a boy I get to imagine a totally different persona. I’m a girl, and being a girl in my writing isn’t quite so exciting. So I cheat, I make her into a tough girl.

My main character in The Pack, Shamira, was especially challenging to write. I had to make it fun, because if my characters aren’t interesting, it’s hard for me to write them. So, I gave her it all - cool girly clothes, a motorcycle named Pearl, and a too die for hottie on her tracks. She’s a girl – but she kicks major booty and is somewhat cocky. I gave her outer appearance a feminine softness. However, she’s a trained fighter that carries herself with the sureness of a male that can protect himself.


All of my books are composed of a strong array of male and female characters. I love to write with multiple lead characters. Why? Because when I was a kid, I loved to have friends around. Also, it allows me to write characters that are both male and female yet bonded together in friendship.


Kelly Hashway said...

My MG manuscript has a male POV--a 12-yr-old boy. I loved the challenge of writing from a boy's POV. It was fun to get inside the male brain for a while.
I wrote my YA manuscript with a female POV, and that definitely came more naturally.
I really enjoyed both though.

Pk Hrezo said...

Interesting. I usually write female MCs but my new WIP is a 13 year old boy, so i'm really trying to find the right voice. It's a little bit trickier cuz guys aren't nearly as introspective as girls. You really have to think about it.

cleemckenzie said...

Creating believable characters of the opposite sex is a challenge, but, I really enjoy the process. You've tapped into it very well, LM. Congrats.

Dawn Brazil said...

I usually write all my stories as female mc's. But I have an idea for a novel and the mc is a boy so I'll see the challenges. I of course have boy characters in my stories but to actually be in their head and not just on the outside is going to be really different for me. I think that I may like it a lot, though. Great Post!

C.D. Reimer said...

I write mostly speculative short stories. As a male writer, I can go either way. But it really depends on the market.

If I'm writing a new short story for a themed anthology, and know that the editor is a female, I'm more likely to have a female main character to increase my chances of having the story accepted. Why? Because most of the submissions will probably be from male writers writing about male main characters. Female editors - probably more so than male editors - want variety their anthologies.

Catherine Stine said...

I've written my share of guy characters. I have two boys and my brother is one of my best friends and he has 5 boys. So, why wouldn't I? I know the male psyche pretty darn well. That said, I'm writing a female lead now. Good to switch it up.

LM Preston said...

I simply love the freedom and challenges of writing another sex besides my own. I love to hear other author's take on it.

Sayantani said...

Nice to read this! I really appreciate your post - particularly, as you know from my post earlier today (, I'm struggling a bit with my own male POV - trying to make sure I'm authentic and not simply falling into 'male stereotypical reactions.' Here's a question - does a writer writing across gender feel obligated to reveal the MC's gender earlier than if you're writing a character who is your own gender? (when writing in the first person "I" voice). I mean, lest the reader assume the MC is the same gender (if they can tell) of the author?

Anonymous said...

I've never seen either sex as a challenge to write. A short story I published was a male's perspective. The novel I'm working on is a female's perspective. If you look past culturally conditioned views of maleness and femaleness, males and females really aren't that different--only biologically, but not really psychologically, save for what's been culturally conditioned. The only difference between males and females lies in what society expects us to behave and act like. But, really, we don't think that much different from each other, which is why I don't have a difficult time writing male and female perspectives. I could be saying this in the wrong, because boys might read it and think 'this sounds like a girl,' but I could go on to a whole anthropological/literary critic spill about why a comment like that would be culturally conditioned and not a by-product of nature. I aim to break gender expectations and prove that boys and girls, frankly, aren't that different. We've been conditioned for so long to think this, but in reality, it's just not that true. In fact, the difference between boys and girls is so small it's insignificant.

Newbie Author said...

I enjoyed your post. I'm a male writer halfway through my first novel where the protagonist is a woman.

The story started as a writing exercise to see if I could write realistically from a female perspective. It's been fun circulating drafts to female friends and critics to keep me on track.

TheWriterStuff said...

I find that the voice the story comes to me in is what I'll write. I've written stories with male and female MC's. I'll write in whatever voice serves the story best. I will admit that having two sons helps when writing male.

April said...

I usually write with mulitple POVs as well, and many times, the POV flip-flops between male and female. Naturally, though, I lean toward female MCs. It's harder for me to put myself into a guy's head and have my characters truly think like a boy or man would. In fact, one of my earlier manuscripts had a male lead, and one of my male friends/critiquers noted that I probably shouldn't have a 19-year old boy use the word "yucky." LOL. But, all of writing's a challenge, and you've made some intersting points. Thanks for the blog!

Natasha Hanova said...

I want to write boy POV, but have to admit I'm not good at it. Yet. Not giving up. Just need to keep practicing. My twin boys are 7 now, maybe I'll nail male voice by the time they're teenagers. :-)

Thanks for the tips.

Adventures in Children's Publishing said...

I love your comment about surrounding yourself with friends. I think one of the things I love best about books done well with multiple POVs is the sense of a unique community of friends.


Lisa Gail Green said...

This is such an awesome post! My latest MS is from a first person male POV and I loved every second of it. In fact, don't tell the others, but he may be my favorite so far.

Unknown said...

Writing female characters engages me far more than writing male characters, personally - similar to yourself, though for other reasons than yourself, I'm sure.