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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Gender Wars!

Most fiction readers are women.

From a consumer's perspective, I can guess that most historical fiction is geared toward women.

First clue: Almost all the protagonists are women.

Second clue: There is always some sort of romance.

I've had both men and women read HATSHEPSUT and it's interesting to note the differences in their comments regarding their favorite parts. They are pretty much polar opposites. My favorite part is the romance, but I had a ton of fun writing the war. Hatshepsut gets to cut off the hands of her enemies- what's not to like?

My women readers adore the love angle while the men tend to like the politics and the war. I've tried to balance both, but there are definite sections that will appeal to women more. And they're my target audience so that's okay.

I've also get a male POV that gave me fits to write, but seems to be part of my strongest writing. Go figure.

What about you? Do you write more to one gender or the other? Do you stick to one gender's POV?

And here's a preview of Friday's blog topic: Do you have issues when men try to write female protagonists or vice versa? I've got a definite stance on this one, but I'm curious to see what you all think!


Dominique said...

While I tend to have female MCs, I have noticed that the pieces I felt most passionate about and devoted the most time to do tend to have sections in a male POV, and there is almost always a Male Lead to work opposite the female MC. I think it gives a balance to the work.

J. L. Jackson said...

I also tend to have female MCs. I don't have trouble writing the male character, but I do look forward to seeing a male perspective on my novel. I wonder if I can pull off a male MC. It's something to think about.

Stephanie McGee said...

I tend to write a pretty good mix of male and female characters. Whether I do a good job at making their POVs seem real is something that is yet to be determined.

I also mix up the POVs in my books. I'll jump around chapter to chapter if necessary. For the most part, I'll stick with the MCs POV but if there's something that needs to be shown but that character isn't there and there's no logical way for him/her to be there, then I break for a chapter and switch POVs.

I have issues trying to write a male POV, being a girl. But I hope I've done a decent job of it so far. Honestly, though, if the character is believable and convincing, does it matter whether it was written by a man or a woman? To me, no.

Amalia T. said...

I feel WAY more connected to my male MCs than I do the female-- the sequel to BoG is 2/3rds male PoV and only 1/3rd female, and it's probably a better book for it. I keep forcing myself to write women, because I feel like I'm supposed to, being a woman myself, but the men always end up being stronger voices. So, I don't know. I don't know what to make of it!

As far as men writing women goes, if I'm writing men I guess I can't complain! :)

Mason Canyon said...

I've read a number of books that were very good and found out later they were written by men using pen names. As long as the writing is good, I don't think it matters if it's a male or female writer.

Thoughts in Progress

Matthew Delman said...

I write female POVs because it's more of a challenge to write from a woman's perspective than from a male perspective (being a guy and all).

That said, I agree with the commenters who said who's writing it doesn't matter so long as the writing is good. The Nancy Drew stories were originally written by a man, if I'm remembering correctly, and I've met dozens of women online who loved the stories as girls. It works. Who cares?

Jemi Fraser said...

I tend to have 2 MCs - one male and one female - as there is usually a bit of romance in everything I write. I enjoy writing from the male pov. I think it helps being a teacher & having a son.

Piedmont Writer said...

In my historicals, for some reason, I tend to write from a male POV. In my contemporary, I wrote from a female POV.

I like writing from a male perspective but I think that's due to growing up with brothers. Their take on life was so decidedly different from my own.

L. T. Host said...

I flutter around on which gender I write. I was nervous writing from a male protag's view in V, but surprisingly the one comment I HAVEN'T heard is that it feels like a woman writing a man. I was sure that was going to be the big hang-up, but no one's brought that up as an issue yet.

That made me more comfortable to write from a male's POV in my 3rd book, but in my 4th and a recent short story I've gone back to a female.

No rhyme or reason in my brain! :)

Mark Noce said...

Kind of a trick question, isn't it? I mean as an author you write from perspectives of people you are not, in places your are not, and of course sometimes genders you are not. Am I off base here? :)

Taryn Tyler said...

I have issues when some male authors write romance from the girl's point of view. She usually comes out as soppy and silly, overly swoony etc. but then I'm not crazy into romance anyways so maybe that's just me. I prefer it as more of a side dish to a great plot rather than the plot itself. I like books with multiple points of view male and female and I love it when I'm surprised by the gender of the author.
That said I have had complaints about the believability of the only manuscript I've written from an entirely male point of view.

Amanda Sablan said...

I think I'd enjoy the romance of Hatshepsut just as much as the cutting off of hands!

My writing is split bewteen the female and the male perspective. It's a fun challenge for me, and this way, both genders may find something to like in my story.

Lydia Kang said...

Hmm, I can only seem to write from a female POV. But as I venture into female characters that are very different from my as a person, and stretch my imagination a little, it might be easier for me to write a male POV then.
Great post!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Stephanie, you're killing me. I am DYING to read Hatshepsut - dying! :-)

I don't have any issues with men writing female protags. In fact, James Patterson is masterful at female POV. :-)

dolleygurl said...

As a reader, for the most part, I like to read a female MC - but there are definitely times I want a male perspective. I have found that the good ones are few and far between in Hist Fic. As for men who write women lead characters - I have had a 50/50 success rate. Sometimes they can be spot on - such as C. W. Gortner's books, and sometimes they are not really on target. Great topic!


My MC is a male. There are so many female POV's out there. Sometimes I really want a change and that's why I write in a male POV.

I don't think there is enough of them out there.

Janet Johnson said...

My current WIP, my MC is female, but the one I'm fine tuning, he's male. When I started writing, I never thought about it, but writing male wasn't always easy. Things slipped in that I had to edit.

Vicki Rocho said...

My current book is intended for women. Men are welcome, but I just don't know that there's much there for them.

When I read a book, the last thing on my mind is who the author is. I don't pay much attention to male author writing female protag or whatever the combination is. It either works or it doesn't. Maybe it is due to the gender of the author, I just don't think like that.

VR Barkowski said...

I prefer writing from the male POV. So much so, that in my current WIP, I dropped the feminine POV and added a second male. There are too many preconceived expectations that go along with female protagonists in mysteries and I don't enjoy writing stereotypes. I didn't realize this until after book 1 was complete, and every woman who read it hated my main character because she was "weak." What she was, was *real*. C'est la vie. Still burns me a little bit, though. :)

Paul said...

I write with a male audience in mind but hope my books will appeal to all. So far, my POV characters have been boys with one exception in a multi-POV story.

Aubrie said...

That's great that men enjoy your book as well! I think they'd hate mine.....I have no male beta readers, so I wouldn't know for sure.

Maybe I should find one...?