Monday, April 14, 2014

30-Week Writing Survey: Week 2: Protagonist gender



Today's question: What gender do you prefer to have as a protagonist? If you have no preference, what gender do you most often have as a protagonist?

It's hard to say what gender I prefer writing. It's easier for me to write from a female point of view because I'm pretty feminine. My novel Bad Fairy has Delia as its female protagonist, and my novel Finding Mulligan has Cassie/Dia as its female protagonist. My early "learning" novels had female protagonists Crissi, Skyler, and Ivy. But I do have more than just a token few male protagonists.

Nick from my science fiction romance Stupid Questions is the only male protagonist I have in a completed novel. He's a pretty atypical guy, too, though he says and does certain things that are very typical guy-ish. He's in a romantic story, which is a little unusual for a male protagonist, and he's unusually aware of other people's motivations and emotions so he operates a little differently from the other dudes I've written.

I also have Bay from my unfinished MG novel Joint Custody. He's an introspective kid who likes animals and is secretly a vegetarian because he doesn't want to eat animals.

And then in my webcomic, two of my five point-of-view characters are male. Dax and Weaver are from other dimensions, but they both have qualities people from this world would recognize as masculine.

From the short stories, I have the following guy protagonists:
  • Thomas from "Wind," who falls in love with a fairy
  • Chris from "Clouds," who spends the entire story talking to Shannon about the sky
  • Zarry from "The Curse," who either caused or saved people from a catastrophic event because he knew when it's okay to beat an elderly man in the head with a stick and set him on fire
  • Jamie from "Dear God," who's asking the Lord for guidance on how to ask a girl out
  • The protagonist of "Final Verses," whose role in the story is dying on cue
  • George from "Just Like Stephen," who spends most of the story hiding in the bathroom
  • The protagonist from "The Mother," who gets covered in space dust while thinking about Earth
  • Hendrix from "Mother's Day," who never met his mother because she died 400 years before he was born
  • T.J. from "No Longer Junior," who is wondering whether he can really be the man of the house if his dad dies in the war
  • Cat from "Protector Cat," who protects his gang members but can't remember their names
My other short stories--"Baby Talk," the original "Bad Fairy" story, "Bloom," "Brady," "Derika & Emily," "The Escape," "Glass Dawn," "Grace," "Her Mother's Child," "In Love With Love," "Modern Goddess," "Moonlight," "On the Inside," "Problem Recipe," and "Uncle Avery's Garden"--all have female protagonists. ("On the Inside's" female protagonist is transgender.) And I have one short story with a protagonist whose gender is indeterminate and never revealed--my latest short story, "Hope Came Out."

I can't say I really "prefer" lady characters even though I'm sure I choose them more often. It's just different--and if it seems natural to have a male protagonist, that's who walks up and takes the microphone. I've had several guy readers say I write guys well, which has made me figure at least I'm not getting "ur doin it rong," so I'm not afraid of trying to step into male shoes to write. I've never felt uncomfortable with it. It's sort of a tough question because whenever I've had trouble with a male protagonist I never felt like it was BECAUSE of anything to do with their gender.

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