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  1. StormWarrior
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    StormWarrior Member

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    Male/female?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by StormWarrior, Aug 6, 2008.

    I am having trouble deciding what sex to make my main protagonist. At first, because of the nature of the story (alot of travelling, fights and politics in an old-fashioned world) I just assumed he would be male. All the characters so far are male. There's a problem with this though. I am female, and I'm not sure I can write realistically from a male point of view. To a man, the thoughts, etc that I give the character may not seem believable.

    Also, all of my favourite novels are written by women and are about women. So now I'm thinking I should make the character female. But then that throws up another problem: romance! It's kind of unrealistic that the female protagonist will be closely associating with men, travelling long distances with them, etc, and no romance crops up. But I am not a romantic person at all, I don't know if I could write about that!

    Now there is another problem too. I have just realised that the plot of my novel is becoming worryingly similar to Jean Auel's Clan of the Cave Bear. If I make my protagonist female, that magnifies the similarity even more!

    Not sure what kind of advice I want, I just thought a little rant might help me get thoughts a bit clearer in my mind!
     
  2. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    I know exactly how you feel. I've got the same problem with one of my stories. At first I thought the MC should be a guy and that there would be a girl in the story for a romantic element, but I just couldn't get him to work out right. Then I thought mabey it would be better to change to a girl, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that there just isn't room for any girls or romance in the book, so now it's got to be a guy again.

    As for writing from a guy's perspective, don't worry about it, just do your best if that's the way you take the story. If you get him a solid personality you won't have to worry if it sounds like a guy or not. That will come automatically.

    I see no reason why she has to fall in love just because she's around a lot of guys, but if you do write it that way make sure it's not just something you tack onto the side, otherwise you might as well leave it out. You could even make it so that she starts falling for someone, realize that she doesn't actually like him, and cut it off. There's any number of personality building tools you can use there.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    First, I wouldn't worry overmuch about a similarity to another novel, especially at this stage. Clearly, you didn't conceive it to capitalize on the other noivel's popularity,and there is plenty of opportunity for you to make your novel distinct through your own voice and perspective.

    If you aren't confident enoiugh to write your main character as male, by all means write the MC as female. You'll have plenty of opportunity to practice male perspectives in your supporting characters, and "write what you know" remains excellent advice.

    Meanwhile start researching. Read books by male authors with a variety of male protagonists, to gain more perspective on writing male characters. This doesn't necessarily mean you will understand the male mind, but at least you can lear\n to fake it a bit more confidently. :)
     
  4. StormWarrior
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    StormWarrior Member

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    I know that she doesn't have to fall in love, but from life experience I know that since she is hanging around with men all the time, sooner or later some or all of them will make a move on her!
     
  5. StormWarrior
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    StormWarrior Member

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    This is another problem. Apart from a very few exceptions, in general I do not enjoy books written by men at all and find them unbearably dull! I usually give up on them very quickly!
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Then consider books written by women with male protagonists, it that helps.

    But it certainly sounds like you should choose a female protagonist for this book, if fo no other reasonthan to hold your OWN interest through the arduous task of writing and revising it.

    Then you have a great source of conflict, if you decide she does not intend to accede to any of these advances. Much more fertile ground for plot development than if she pairs up with the alpha male! For example, you could add a fair amount of tension, even danger, if one or more of the men does not take rejection well.
     
  7. Talako
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    Talako Member

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    If she is a strong, independent woman, then it could it be the other way around also.
     
  8. Butler
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    Butler Member

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    If you choose the male MC, just go with the flow. Plenty of writers have MC's of a different gender. S.E. Hinton was a teenage girl when she wrote a bunch of books about teenage boys,and those were pretty convincing.

    If you choose a female MC, that might be better for you. Remember that she doesn't have to fall in love with anyone, even if one of them falls in love with her, and that complicates things further, making the plot and characters that much deeper.
     
  9. Fluxhavok
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    Fluxhavok Active Member

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    she could also be gay, that might be interesting. But since you're writing a book that only women will read (i'm assuming, since you don't like male authors you probably won't choose to write like them.) maybe you should throw in some romance. chicks dig that crap. Maybe she could be a ho-bag , sleep around and cause conflict.
     
  10. Mousie
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    Mousie Contributing Member

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    I had the same problem a little while back. I wanted my MC to be a boy, but I had no idea how to write from a guy's perspective. I kept trying to make him sound all manly and stuff, but then I realized...

    Girlie guys are just too cute!

    So don't worry too much about it. As long as he's not frolicing in fields of flowers with a unicorn, I'm sure you'll be fine. :D
     
  11. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    *Bangs head repeatedly on keyboard*
     
  12. Mousie
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    Mousie Contributing Member

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    What? They are. Shut up.
     
  13. then she said
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    then she said New Member

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    my mom is totally into strong female protagonists (see dr. brennan, t.v. show 'bones' or ziva, t.v. show 'ncis') and watching these with her made me realize that even though females are kind of expected to through themselves at guys, having something that keeps them from doing that is a great way to create a unique, complicated main character. she doesn't have to be a lesbian to deny a guy; she could be a virgin, watched her parents fight too many times to believe in love, she might have an established reputation as a woman not interested in romance and in the political world she's living in, breaking that reputation could possibly make her look weaker politically. your options are definitely not limited for a female pro, just think outside the box.
     
  14. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    *more banging of the head*

    Speaking as a guy, I have to say that the day a girl throws herself at me is the day the world implodes. In my experience it's kind of the other way around.
     
  15. then she said
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    then she said New Member

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    are we talking real life or fiction? i think the jonas brothers are the only guys these days who have girls throwing themselves in front of tour buses for them. the day that i throw myself at a guy is the day i'm drowning in the pacific and he's the one saving me, but unfortunately the day i pick up a novel and find a girl hopelessly in love is every day.
     
  16. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    You have a point.
     
  17. then she said
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    then she said New Member

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    as do you. 2 minutes is my microwave default, too.
     
  18. Ungood
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    In everything it depends on the MC.

    Some woman are VERY tough and men can sense that. They will back off from her once she has proven her mettle against them.

    As for romance. This is not required. Sure there might be feelings, but then again what is she looking for, what does she want, and what is looking for her.

    IE: Woman who throw themselves at someone are woman that want that person. Just as woman that don't are woman do not desire that man, but might "make due" with them.

    There is a vastness to emotion and I would say do NOT write a gender that you do not know.

    If you want to write a male, find out what men really think. Ask the guys that are married or not into you (Your male friends, are NOT the guys that are NOT into you, trust me) Go ask the guys that ignore you.
     
  19. Fluxhavok
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    Fluxhavok Active Member

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    i agree...
     
  20. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ditto...
     
  21. Fluxhavok
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    Fluxhavok Active Member

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    though they'll probably blow you off because they're not into you.
     
  22. then she said
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    then she said New Member

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    this is skeeving me out a little. and all the affirmations... guys only make friends with girls to get to her? weird. gotta think with the other head, men.
     
  23. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's not like that! (not always anyway) Dang, how to explain...I'll get back to you later.
     
  24. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ok, I'm back, and I can't explain it, but it's not like that! :p
     
  25. Fluxhavok
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    Fluxhavok Active Member

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    dude, be honest, it's totally like that. i mean at a certain age, it's kinda not like that, but it's still a little like that. <-- speaking in guy code
     

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