1. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    I'm writing a YA with a female MC

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by funkybassmannick, Apr 13, 2011.

    I recently read a blog that stated that boys in middle school (and high school, but I'm writing more for middle school) don't like to read books with female protagonists. Hopefully girls will like my book, too, but my target audience is middle school boys, and I'm concerned this might affect getting published and making sales.

    I have three questions:

    1) Do you think this is this really true, that boys do not like to read books with female protagonists? I would especially like to hear from boys in middle school and high school, but I of course want to hear from everybody.

    2) If it is true, WHY is it? Is it because adolescent boys want to assert their masculinity, and that reading from a girl's perspective might make them uncomfortable? Or is it because most YA books with female MC's are written by female authors, and possibly written for a female audience?

    3) Even if this is all true, do you think me being male and writing for a male audience has any mitigating effect?
     
  2. Jonp
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    Jonp Senior Member

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    I am also interested in people's thoughts on this. My book is a YA fantasy novel with a female MC, but really, I'm hoping my book will have more widespread appeal.

    When I was a young lad I would not have a problem reading a novel with a female MC as long as the story was not overly girly.
     
  3. aimi_aiko
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    aimi_aiko Contributing Member

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    1) I have heard of boys reading books with female protagonist (willingly; not due to force from school assignments) but I guess it depends on audience. I've seen more young boys who actually enjoy reading read books with female protagonists.

    2) It's not necessarily true in my opinion.

    3) I don't find that necessarily an effect. I'm a female and I write for both. I write about male and female protagonists alike.

    So the overall answer for me, is it depends on the audience.


    I hope this answers your question...
     
  4. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    I agree with aimi aiko. It's just the audience. Us girls have different interests than you guys and vice versa.
     
  5. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    just give her breasts lol or do something that will spark middle school boys - make her attractive and fun etc And yes I am pandering to a stereotype :) That works both ways though - Mr Darcy, Mr Rochester, Teddy Laurence etc are popular for a reason. Dr Who usually has a female sidekick for a reason. Most of my male classmates went through a phase of reading Are You There God its Me Margaret by Judy Blume (its about a girl who is desperate for puberty).

    Or do what Enid Blyton did and have a mix - most of her books had boys and girls as major characters unless they were like the boarding school books.
     
  6. Lazy_Otaku271
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    Lazy_Otaku271 New Member

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    Wouldn't you like to know.
    I think that boys are more drawn towards characters that are more masculine and that they can relate to. For this reason, a girl character might not be as interesting to young male readers as boy characters, at least in the main character slot. Although, if you make the character so that she isn't really to girly than there probably won't be a problem. It's not like males are naturally sexist and refuse to read books with female protagonists.
     
  7. chacotaco91
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    chacotaco91 Senior Member

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    I agree, trying to bring myself back to my middle-school mentality, I enjoyed books that had at least some kind of masculine aspect to it.

    I'm afraid that since your books main character is female, boys will simply just put it down and look to another alternative that seems more relative.

    In the 5th grade I think, I read the heck out of the everworld series (still very entertaining for adults). They had multiple characters, half male half female. However, the female characters for me just spiced up the male characters, and probably vice-versa for a young female reader. I just think you need some kind of classic hook for a middle-school boy: a warrior, a coming of age story, etc etc. I'm not sure there old enough yet to really want to have to see the perspective of another female.

    Unless your female is some action character. They won't really mind that, seeing how its just a way to advance an action-oriented storyline; they will probably find it very cool. However, they still will relate best to a male MC.

    in the end though write what you like to write, that's the only way it'll be any good.
     
  8. Boriol
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    Boriol Member

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    Everyone above me is right. However, I'm a 17-year-old male and I've enjoyed reading about female protagonists since I was 12, i.e. Maximum Ride. I also write female characters, but I don't make them all girly and prissy like the stereotypes.

    Okay, the point: Most guys don't like stories about girly girls. But then, look at Maximum Ride. Female lead. Huge male (and female) fanbase. The main character wasn't a girly girl. She led a flock of bird kids and got in a lot of fights and saved people and stuff. I'm not saying to make a girl character a big hero(ine), but at least set her apart from stereotypical girls.
     
  9. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I can recall being a pre-teen/early teen and being keenly interested in stories in which the MC was female. Girls were such a mystery to me, and I wanted to know as much about them as I could. However, I never would have admitted to such a thing! :)
     
  10. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    Personally from what I recall from all the way back then, it's going to be difficult - but not impossible - for there to be a female MC in a YA targeted at a male audience. I think the important thing has been mentioned by Boriol, which is basically to not make the female MC boring and to somehow make her appeal to the audience, and, yes, that requires stuff other than making her hot, because if middle school boys really wanted to check out hot girls, they'd go to other places other than books, obviously.

    Currently the only story I can think of with a female MC that is targeted at a male audience is this anime (targeted at more of a high school and maybe adult audience, but still) I watched ages ago. Well, actually, it had multiple female MCs. It was a comedy, however, and I think that that served it really well.
     
  11. Silver_Dragon
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    Silver_Dragon Senior Member

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    Out of curiosity, what is it that makes your book is targeted at a specifically male audience?
     

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