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Main Character pull

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Does anyone find themselves creating main characters of one gender than the other?

 

I found I my main characters for my past two novel to be male. (although I also had female characters as well but they were secondary).

 

I decided I wanted my main character to be female for my next WIP and found it difficult at first to settle on this. I now have a female main character and a solid male character but it was a bit touch and go at first who was going to have the starring role.

Anyone else had this issue?

 

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I usually tend to write female characters. It's just easier to get inside their head and portray them accurately but soon I do want to challenge myself to do a male mc

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I agree with Jasmine. Women are easier, because I am one. But I’m also married and the mother of two sons, so it’s generally not too hard for me to guess what a guy might be thinking, especially since often, it’s nothing. 

I’ve wished for years my brain had an “off” switch like that. I can never fully relax the way my shui can...

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I do multiple main characters. At least one of each gender.  I have to work hard to not head-hop, and to limit the cast.  There are just so many voices in my head!   

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I do write more guys than gals too, but I have good reasons behind it:

1. I grew up with mostly guys in the novels.

2. I  grew up with that, because I preferred it.

3. I still prefer guys to gals.

4. I've been around guys most of my life, so they make more sense to me than gals.

5. I did try to write chic lit, but, although I could get the protagonist enough to understand her, way too many other woman to come up with enough differences.

 

So, I don't consider it a problem. It's just me.

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Posted (edited)

Always prefer writing with female characters in mind. :) .

 

This conversation has gotten me interested. My protagonist is female, (perfect for my first novel and I am writing in first person :)). But, I think I am trying to create too many characters. I am trying to work with two male characters that both have pretty major roles and I am having so much trouble with one, though he was supposed to fall in love with my protagonist. But, I could switch them around, I am still planning. The second male character I can see him relatively clearly. The former, I have been trying to discover his motivations, but with little success. Maybe I should just stick with the one?  Appoint a more secondary role to the other? I would love to hear your opinions. Maybe I should put this in a new conversation...

 

Wow, writing this all out to everyone here is actually clearing my mind so thank you. 

Edited by CelticLady

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Two MCs in my WIP, both male, though operating two thousand years apart. 

 

One is a very minor character in the Acts of the Apostles. He doesn't even have a name in the Bible. 

 

The other is an academic based on my grandfather and a friend who was part of the Shroud of Turin investigation. He's part of many projects, and he's catching a lot of flack in this project because a manuscript he translated is declared a fake. 

 

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Posted (edited)

After my first book was released, I read a challenging article about the under-representation of important female characters in books - particularly by male authors.

 

The article proposed a litmus test:  Do you have at least one substantial (critical to plot) scene that features two women actually talking to each other?

 

This brought a smile to my face, because I did! 

 

I'm not sure if that's a fair test or not, but it did make me more sensitive (for the positive) about how I treated my female characters. Are they central to the plot, or just fleeting stereotypes?

 

 

Edited by Accord64
Too much distancing between paragraphs... ;)
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One of my two books is about two women crossing the Oregon/Bozeman Trail in a covered wagon. They are looking for Father, who left the year before. He's there, but only from the daughter's pov. 

 

The other started out as a woman escaping an abusive marriage, but it is turning out to alternate chapters with the abuser, who is going to sober up and "fly right."

 

I'm finding it easier than I expected to write his chapters.

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My first three novels had two men as protagonists, two men and and two women as antagonists, and one man who began as an antagonist and switched sides. However, I had numerous women as secondary characters, several in charge of important organizations in society. Because those novels were mostly set in the afterlife, there was almost no talk of romance, so the women got to have deep conversations. On top of this, I included quotes from writers and poets at the head of each chapter. Only in the third book do I reveal that those quotes are the poems that the true heroine of the novel is reading aloud while sitting at the bedside of her husband, who while in a coma is roaming purgatory, trying to escape. She is a Literature professor, and these are her prayers to return her husband safely to her. Also, in the third book I reveal that the most powerful organization in the afterlife is not the law courts or the demons, or other powerful factions of people, it is the House of Mourning, mostly led by women, and founded by Lady Wisdom (from Proverbs). By all these choices, I tried to show that unheralded, contemplative people of prayer and mourning can have just as great an effect on the course of events as people of action and reknown. 

 

My last novel was a fantasy romance. Both heroine and hero got equal time, though the heroine takes the lead. However, she is transformed into a dragon and plays a pretty assertive and self-assured woman. At one point I did introduce a throw-away, stereotypical brash woman cook as a foil to provoke jealousy. However, that character screamed to be heard and understood. She went from a one-dimensional, minor character in one chapter to a critical player, with courage, weakness, unrequited love, sorrow, forgiveness, and some of the best lines in the book. I even penned a haunting love song for her to sing that almost wins the heart of the hero. (I felt compelled to find a good husband for her. There is no arguing with Thedarra.)

 

The key is empathy and realism. In the novel I am currently working on (sort of - since I am taking a break to write a nonfiction book about Ecclesiastes), again a romance with hero and heroine, I respect the weaknesses and strengths of each. At one point, the heroine is distraught and unable to rescue the hero; her trauma prevents her from rising to the occasion. Instead, he is rescued by his mentally and physically disabled father. Later on the heroine will be able to overcome her fears, just not yet.

 

- Paul

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Thank  you everyone for pitching in with your comments.

 

Funnily enough I find writing from the male POV is often my first port of call. I will 'hear' the male lead character before the female lead character. 

 

I suspect a phycologist would put it down to my childhood. My mother died when I was very young and I lived with three older brothers and a father who was pretty traditional in his attitude towards women.  

 

Nevertheless I do write female characters but they are strong and down to earth.  So this time around I really want to see if I can develop a female character who are more rounded.

 

 

 

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Female here!
 

Honestly it depends on the genre for me. If I'm writing in a historical or fantasy context, my main characters are men - simply because of the lack of social limitations it provides the character. I recognize this does not have to be the case for women in fantasy, but I write pretty history-like fantasy, sooo... erg. I try to get very creative particularly with what I have my female fantasy characters accomplish and learn. They are strong and courageous and driven, but it's a result of their drive, not of the culture they live in. This tends to work better, at least for me, with them being (very important) secondary characters.

 

My sci-fi story is lousy with women. Main character, secondary characters, organization heads, villains. 

 

I think it's my subconscious getting back at me for all the other stories. Lol.  

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Posted (edited)

Although I tend to read more stories with male protagonists, as a female myself I find it easier to write female protagonists.  It's easier for me to write what I know about, and as a women I know how I think. 

 

However, my side characters seem to be male more often than female--I don't want my short stories to turn out too girly.  I believe that stories can become too female/male dominant, so I try to find a balance.  Finding a balance doesn't seem to be too difficult however.  I just try to write what I'd like to read, and everything may naturally just fall into place. 

Edited by Blue Minnow

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I always write male characters as I am male, and have yet to understand the female mind.  I mean, outside of their need for me to end all of my sentences with, "yes dear."

 

 

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