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MC of the opposite sex

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How many authors out there whose MC is the opposite sex as you? I am a woman thing of writing a chapter book with a boy MC. What is the best way to get into a boy's head? Which popular books are out there (except Harry P) where the author is a woman and the MC a man or boy?
#1 - March 01, 2014, 09:40 AM
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I love the False Prince and that had a main character who was a boy but the author was a woman. Very well done.
#2 - March 01, 2014, 11:29 AM
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I have a male MC in two of my manuscripts. And I've been told I've done it well, for the most part. For me, the trick is thinking of them not as male, but as a character first. Every boy doesn't sound the same any more than every girl sounds the same. If you think of him as a person with a voice, and really dig into him as a character, his voice may just come naturally to you.

After that, rely on beta readers. My crit partners let me know when my male characters said or did something that didn't work. And I fixed it. Same as with everything else in writing.

You can do it!
#3 - March 01, 2014, 11:34 AM
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Yes, I have to agree that Larissa does do it well. I on the other hand could never pull it off. :-) You really have to have a ear for it and also understand how a guy might think too.
#4 - March 01, 2014, 11:56 AM
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What an interesting question. I often write books with male MCs and I never give it a second thought. I think it's easy for me because I grew up a tomboy; I was much more interested in boy activities than typical girl activities. Did you have a male friend or relative as you were growing up who you can use as inspiration? BTW, NAVIGATING EARLY by Clare Vanderpool is another popular book that meets your criteria. And REALITY BOY by A.S. King.
#5 - March 01, 2014, 12:59 PM
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I think Beverly Cleary does a wonderful job creating male characters.  A good example is Dear Mr. Henshaw.  It's a very male story, including the adult characters.  From Leigh to his dad to the title character, these characters all feel authentically male.

BTW, I always have trouble with girl characters.  I don't think I'd ever have a female MC.
#6 - March 03, 2014, 05:37 AM

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If you mean specifically chapter books as opposed to middle grade novels, my MILO AND JAZZ MYSTERIES series is written from a boy's (third-person) POV. You could also look at Francesca Simon's HORRID HENRY, Megan McDonald's STINK, Sara Pennypacker's STUART, Jennifer Richard Jacobson's ANDY SHANE, Lenore Look's ALVIN HO...I'm sure there are many more!
#7 - March 03, 2014, 07:03 AM
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I love this question because my MG has a 13 y/o boy as the main character. I often find it difficult to get inside his head which is I think one reason why I wrote it in third person. But I tend to write both boys and girls, and I've noticed I definitely have an easier time getting into a girl's head since I am one. That said I've found when I write boy MC's it's really helpful to have at least one or two male critiquers so they can point out if the MC is getting girlie or acting out of character.

Some other things that help me, boy's dialogue is very short and too the point. It's very snappy and often witty. And to that end, they don't often over think things, where girls might take time to consider their actions a lot of boys are impulsive they act in the now and deal with the fallout later.

I think it also helps to think about what your character wants in every scene, what are they really trying to accomplish. If I can drive down the character to their motivations, what's really driving them forward, then I find it's easier to get inside their head, figure out what they really want, and what they might be thinking at that moment.
#8 - March 03, 2014, 07:31 AM

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I'm currently writing a manuscript with a female protag, and I have to say that I really disagree with the idea that boys' thoughts, dialogue, and behaviors should be written in a way that's categorically different from girls' (and vice versa). I do run my pages past female critique partners because there are clearly some broad differences in the way boys and girls are perceived and treated on a societal level - standards, expectations, assumptions, etc. But in terms of the characters themselves? I can take every single prefab gender-defined characteristic in existence and name a person I've known who completely upends it, starting with myself, my wife, and my children. If you've written a character of a different gender who doesn't fit the preconceived notions attached to that gender, it may not be because you've written that gender inaccurately; it may be because you've written a character who doesn't fit the preconceived notions attached to their gender. Which is another way of saying you've written a character who's a unique individual, as all characters should be.
#9 - March 03, 2014, 09:19 AM

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My first YA novel, Storky, is from a first-person male POV. My Zeke Meeks chapter books are from a first person male POV. I think having two brothers and some close male friends as well as having a husband/best friend makes it easier to write from a male POV and also made me realize that gender is just one small factor in defining a person's character. For Storky, I had two guys in my critique group and a male editor, so that helped too.
#10 - March 03, 2014, 09:42 AM
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Totally agreed that it depends more on getting to know the individual character. My first book has a male protagonist, and my next one does, too. If anything, trying to find a male character's voice makes me MORE conscious of avoiding gender cliches. Trying too hard to give boyish (or girlish) traits would probably have the opposite effect and make the character seem inauthentic.


Maybe try one of the character worksheets (like this one) to brainstorm different traits, if you haven't yet. Those kinds of things help me to get into the characters' heads.
Hope that helps!
#11 - March 03, 2014, 10:32 AM
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[quoteTrying too hard to give boyish (or girlish) traits would probably have the opposite effect and make the character seem inauthentic][/quote]

I agree, Kim.
#12 - March 03, 2014, 11:20 AM
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What Mike and Kim said. Write a unique individual. Get to know that character. The rest will follow.
#13 - March 03, 2014, 11:29 AM
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My current MG is first person POV with a male MC. I really rely on my crit buddies to let me know when his voice isn't true. I do worry more about my characters sounding too much alike. In my next revision pass, I might need to add more verbal cuing.
#14 - March 03, 2014, 11:35 AM
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I stumbled across this post this morning that I thought might be useful as well http://penandmuse.com/ask-muses-how-to-write-the-opposite-sex/
#15 - March 07, 2014, 06:03 AM

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Oooh! Thank you, Jamie. Can't wait to read it.
#16 - March 07, 2014, 06:10 AM
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