Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Hey! I know you.

Since we were talking about character last time…we were talking about character last time, right? Anyway. I love female characters. Intelligent, strong, multi-faceted, flawed female characters. I love reading and writing them. I love male characters. Intelligent, strong, multi-faceted, flawed male characters.

I tend to write from both male and female POVs. I think a lot of writers do. Roni over at Fiction Groupie had a great post on writing from the male POV.

But I’ve been thinking lately more about female characters especially and their evolution in fiction. And lo and behold, Sarah Rees Brennan has a really interesting post looking at and looking for girls in fiction.

So what I want to know is this. Do you prefer reading/ writing male or female characters? What makes a good female character? Who or what has influenced how you see or write female characters?


  1. I prefer reading female characters, I prefer writing male characters. Who or what has influenced how you see or write female characters? Believe it or not Scarlett O'hara. She was such a spoiled little brat and then turned into that strong independent woman; I can't help but LOVE that transformation. And I should confess now, that all my male characters are Rhett Butler. SSSHHHHHH don't tell anyone but I just totally gave away my writing secret.

  2. Hee! Your secret is safe with me. :) And I agree, that transformation is wicked awesome.

  3. I have never attempted writing a male character. That is something I need to attempt.

  4. Roni's post was awesome! Your post today rocks as well!!

    I love reading both POV, I can appreciate both sides, however I think I'm a better writer from the female perspective...well...because I'm a female, but I think I'll give the male POV a try sometime soon!

  5. Hi, Amy. You write so well I can't wait to see you try it. It is a very different thing to do. :)

    Hi, Jen. Thank you. You'll have to let us see what you come up with when you give it a try. It will be interesting writing from the other side. :)

  6. I actually don't have a preference. I have favorite books from both POVs.

    I generally write from a female POV, but some of my favorite characters are males who get their own POV too.

    I'm just wishy-washy, I guess. :-)

  7. Ah, good questions! :-)
    I have really no preference for a character's gender in my reading: as long as they are written well and with consistence...I'm game.

    As for a good female character... I agree with some points in the article from Sarah Rees Brennan, particularly when she says that some writers tend to make their heroines stronger, meaner, more intelligent and so on than their male counterparts.

    A good (either male or female) character should have some flaws, something that makes us readers reach out and feel a connection. As long as we can recognize something of us in them, we can *feel* for them, and with them - we can make them come alive.

    That same article mentioned Lois McMaster Bujold: she does have some good examples of strong, flawed, believable women that have no need to be stronger, meaner, etc. etc. to excel - they just have to be themselves. Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan being a good example of what I mean.

    Oh, and I love Scarlett O'Hara, too.
    Guilty as charged, Your Honor! :-)

  8. I don't really have a preference when it comes to POV. But to me, a good female character is one who is strong in her insecurities, absolutely 100% imperfect, and who doesn't need a crutch to prove herself (at least, not through the whole novel). I'm a huge Dean Koontz fan and I think how he writes his female characters has really influenced my own writing; most often, they come from painful upbringings but they've learned how to use them in order to survive in their current dire situations and in their normal lives as well.

    I agree with pretty much everyone's post above: Scarlett O'Hara is the ideal female character! And Rhett ain't not too bad neither, as far as the men go. ;o)

  9. Hmmm...I've written more female characters than male characters. I think, as a woman, the women's perspective is easier. In my WIP though, I have both a female and a male main character. It's been a lot of fun capturing each unique voice, so that going from Julie's chapter to Ray's chapter really sounds like a shift in gender as well as a shift in character.

  10. I tend to work from a female POV. I guess I just identify, but I enjoy writing all kinds of guys. I wish I were better at giving them flaws and keeping them lovable. Or giving depth to the baddies. Still working on that.

  11. I prefer writing and reading male characters. Odd as I'm a girl? Then again, my best friends are males - always have been.

    I have females in my novel but I always struggle with dialogue.

  12. Thanks for the links. I love Roni's blog! For some great posts on the male POV, go to Matthew's Free the Princess blog ( - AMAZING insight into the male perspective. :-)

  13. Hi, Summer. Not wishy-washy. I like reading and writing both POVs, too.

    Hi, Nym.

    A good (either male or female) character should have some flaws, something that makes us readers reach out and feel a connection. As long as we can recognize something of us in them, we can *feel* for them, and with them - we can make them come alive.

    That’s it exactly. All characters should make us feel for them, with them, on their behalf. Or else you run the risks of creating cardboard characters who are simply moved without care of concern to facilitate plot as nothing more than plot devices.

    And yay!Scarlett!

    Hi, Elle. I love your description of a good female character. It’s interesting to hear you talk about Dean Koontz as an influence. I have a friend who loves his work. And you’re right. Yay! for Rhett, too.

  14. Hi, Nicole. Switching between POVs sounds really interesting. I can’t wait to see how you do it. I’ve written both but not nearly in such a formal format. Have you developed a preference for writing one character over the other, or is your affection for them pretty evenly divided? Is one character’s chapters easier to write?

    Hi, LG. I enjoy writing guys, too. And yeah, it does take a lot of work to walk that fine line giving them depth and keeping them likable even when they’re not quite nice guys. :)

    Hi, Wendy. I tend not to struggle so much with females as I think I just don’t write them as much as I do males. And I tend not to struggle so much with their dialogue as I do with their characterization.

    Hi, Shannon. I love Roni’s blog, too. :) And thank you for the link to Matthew’s blog. I’ll check it out.

  15. I just finished a book written solely from a male pov. It was good, but still I prefer female, or at least a mix. I've written both, too, and enjoy it. It opens my eyes more to the characters and plot to include both pov, as each might see the same situation so differently.

  16. Okay, is it weird that I love the way "characters" lined up four lines in a row in your first paragraph? Am I completely mental?

    Oh, and I LOVE to write from the male POV, even though it's difficult for me. But I always love the way it turns out. For some reason, it feels more satisfying to me. Weird, huh? Still, I mostly write from a female POV--that's more common in YA, especially in the kind of YA I write, which has a primary audience of teenage girls.

  17. I love reading both POVs, but while writing, I find that I gravitate toward a female POV. It's just easier for me... probably because I'm female, maybe? Probably so. But I do have fun with male POV, it's just much harder to pull off.

    Great post!

  18. Hi, Joanne. Welcome. :)

    It opens my eyes more to the characters and plot to include both pov, as each might see the same situation so differently.

    I think you're right about this and it's a great point to remember.

    Hi, Carol. I'm sitting here LMAO! Because no, I don't think it's weird you noticed that. I love that. It's the OCD in me. :)

    I like writing male POV, it's easier for me. I actually have a harder time writing some feale POV, depending on the character. I"m glad it doesn't seem to matter much in writing literary fic. :)

    Hi, Kimberly. Thank you very much. :)

  19. I like reading and writing from both genders pov.
    But, I'm going through a first person, female MC pov phase, and loving it.

    Great blog!

  20. Hi, Lola. Thank you and welcome. Great minds think alike. :) While I've done both too, I seem to be in a phase of writing from first person, and I really like it.