Thursday, July 5, 2012

An Analysis of Jake's Paranoid Avoidance of Female Characters

Actually, to be specific, I usually avoid young female characters. Have you read The War Horn, or anything else by me, for that matter? Ever notice that there are no female characters under the age of thirty and above the age of ten?

Laugh if you want to, but I do have something of a paranoid avoidance of said characters. Don't take offense, ye y-chromosome-challenged, I really don't have anything against you. It's just a natural manifestation of my avoidance of anything to do with romance.

Inevitably, in almost every fantasy novel I know of, if there's a young male and a young female, there's attraction, and that's something I simply don't want to write. 'Sides, it's cliche and predictable. (That's what I keep telling myself, anyway.)

So I have this abnormal avoidance of female characters as a result.

However, my sisters have been prodding me to get over my weird writing streak and write some female characters. After all, they make up a full half (or more) of my audience! They say to write what you know (and that doesn't always include the opposite gender), but sometimes you have to write something that the audience will actually understand.

So I caved. Luckily for me, I was already thinking of adding a second character to my protagonist's supporting cast (see my previous post), so I decided to switch things up a bit, like, literally. I swapped the male character for the female, and viola! Problem solved, right? No romance, either; that, I can assure you. And to the realistic-ness of that romantic absence, well, I have that problem solved too, but don't ask. It has to do with a story twist. ^_^

Interestingly enough, I've noticed that writers of the female variety have no problem with writing male characters, or even male protagonists.

What about you? Do you avoid any aspect of writing consciously or subconsciously? Do you have any reason for doing so? Or do you just write what comes to mind?

And try not to laugh at me. Really.  


Writer4Christ said...

I don't have a problem writing boy characters and girl characters. For me, before, I had the problem of most of my characters being female.
And I wanted at least half of the characters to be male so that it would make more sense.
So at the beginning of my book, a young man and a young woman meet, but there isn't any romance because later in the book they find out that they're brother and sister. Now, I decided to write a prequel to that story, about their parents, because their story was really appealing to me, and then I realized I would have to put some romance in it. lol, so I'm figuring out how that will work while keeping it clean.

Anne-girl said...

I actually prefer writing guy characters. Weird right? Maybe its just because.... hmm can't think of a reason.

One thing I avoid like the plague in writing is children between the ages of 2 and 12. I have a horror of writing them all sappy and stupid. it always seems to me when i write about little kids they sound stilted and baby-talkish.

Does anyone else have this problem?

Eldra said...

Anne-girl - No, you're not the only one with that problem. Take heart.

I've written both male and female MCs, and I enjoy them both, although it's probably harder for me to get into the guy characters' heads, since females just don't think like males.

My biggest issues are good dialogue (mine is usually crammed with cliches) and solid inner journeys, although I have no problems assisting other writers with their characters' inner journeys. Go figure.

Yay for Jake finally writing a female MC!!!! May I say I'm really looking forward to this story now?

Hannah Joy said...

I have a tough time writing about female MCs for some reason. I can write female characters in, yes, but not MCs.

And yes--Anne-girl. I have that problem, at least with the youngest of young kids (as in, baby to 5 year olds). I always make them stupid or too mature. *shrugs*

But good luck, Jake, on your female MC.

Eagles Wings said...

Good luck! I think it will be great. ^_^

I'm actually writing a little romance this year. It's not that terrible, really.

I love writing children. It's awesome to be able to write through such a small vision. Like how they don't understand everything, but the reader does.

Leslie and Elizabeth said...

I tend to have lots of male characters in my stories/books, but I have trouble writing in their perspective. I can usually involve them and be quite comfortable with it, except when there's romance involved. Then everything I write sounds fake and cheesy, so I tend to stay clear of it.

I personally don't think there's anything wrong with writing without romance and young women in books. One should, yes, explore different things with writing, but I believe writers should feel comfortable with what they're writing.


Eruantien Nenharma said...

I'm a girl, but I haven't written any female characters until very recently, and that was Charlotte Rawlings in my pirate novel. Since then, I've slowly began using them more, but males still make up a huge part of my novels.

And as far as young girls, in their teens...I rarely do it. I have about...two female characters at that age. However, I want to try writing young, toddler kids at some point; it seems like something that would challenge and interest me.

Anyway, you're not alone! XD And you're a great writer, either way. ^.^

Jake said...

Great thoughts, everyone! Thanks for commenting!

And oops, sorry to burst your bubble, Eldra, but she's a SUPPORTING character, not a main character. I'm not even going to dare trying to get into her head. (OO) I try to limit my point-of-views. This novel only has two different point-of-views (both of them male) but that's enough.

And whaaaaat? You weren't looking forward to the story before? ;) I've failed before I've even begun!

Anne-girl and others: children are interesting characters to write. I've only attempted it once, in my Will Vullerman story "The Thirteenth Call" which has a seven-year-old girl in it. (I've never tried to write from a child's point of view, however.) According to one pre-reader (who has a seven-year-old sister) I managed to write her pretty well. :)

Like anything else, it requires research - I concentrated on showing the way that seven-year-olds really acted or talked. Same with dialogue, actually. A run-of-the-mill southerner wouldn't talk like he was a college "perfesser", would he? Finding out how people really talk and writing it down is the essence of good dialogue, and of good character.

Eldra, I think I'm just the opposite. I love dialogue (especially humorous dialogue) and inner journeys, but plot always gives me trouble.

Very true, Elizabeth. Still, when writing, one must concentrate on strengthening your weaknesses, and this definitely counts.

I am still, however, writing no romance, for the excellent reason that I know absolutely nothing about it. *laugh*

Y'know, what I find amusing is that all six of you commenters are females. Is it just me, or are the men outnumbered when you're counting writers? :P

Anonymous said...

Well, when I first began writing at 10 I always used a female p.o.v. since I'm a female. However, as my story ideas developed so did my characters and I began to use the male p.o.v. in middle school to try something new. Honestly, for me it depends on the story and how I want the story told. Sometimes it makes more sense that my character be male vs. female. The only thing I really stay away from in writing is 3rd person p.o.v. I'm better at, so naturally prefer, 1st person in the books I write and even some books I read. 3rd just seems impersonal/unrelatable to me at times. However, I will use it if its necessary for the story.

Ely G. said...

lol I actually right best for the other gender. The majority of my favorite MC's are male! Maybe that's because I'm such a tomboy and have more brothers than I do sisters...
My thing that I avoid is humor, which is extremely unintentional. I go through and reread what I've written and find that I'm soooooooo boring or sooooooo serious I'm putting people to sleep. But I'm getting better...I hope. :P
And I do not laugh at thee, Jake, for avoiding writing romance. Ick.

Ely Gyrate

Eruantien Nenharma said...

I think the majority of writers--teenage ones, anyway--tend to be female. The males either aren't interested are are way too embarrassed to admit it. XD

Pathfinder said...

I can't write children. At all.

Charlotte -Starsinger said...

Neither. I always make them too old for their age.

And I probably have more guy MCs than girl ones, even though I am a girl. I can understand guys so much more than I can with girls. Strange, I know.

Other than young children, I have a phobia of writing happy endings and light-hearted stories/books. I cannot do it, ever, full-stop.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post!! Yeah, I noticed that in The War Horn. (But I think I recall a girl... Maybe I'm wrong. Is there one?)

And I'm not laughing at you. : )

HA!! Female writers have no problem with male characters - NOT true!! (For me, that is....) One of my personal favorite books I've started, Aaron's Journey, has a male main character. I let one of my guy friends read the first chapter, and he said Aaron was too girly. Really?! He's supposed to be a wimp - character change, you guys - but not girly! : P Argh.

And on children - I was one once, so I think I kind of know how to write them. My problem is making them the more mature kids that you see in movies - those that have had troubles and should be because they've overcome them or whatever. (That doesn't make sense... Heehee...)