Author Topic: Sex, please, we're writers  (Read 221 times)

Jo Bannister

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1410
  • Kudos: 11
  • If this was easy, anyone could do it
    • View Profile
Sex, please, we're writers
« on: February 27, 2019, 09:07:59 AM »
A couple of generally acknowledged and possibly even true statements:

More women read novels than men do.
Women are more willing to engage with male characters than men are with women characters.

So what are the pros and cons of male and female leads?  Will female leads appeal to a greater proportion of the reading public?  Or will male ones be more likely to draw in new readers?  Should any of this affect your decision-making process when planning a book?

Thoughts, please.

hillwalker3000

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 139
  • Kudos: 6
    • View Profile
Re: Sex, please, we're writers
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2019, 08:45:44 PM »
As a man (last time I checked), I tend to write more books about strong female leads than male. This is purely a personal quirk - the way my stories generally turn out. And I've had nothing but positive feedback from male readers who enjoy watching my heroine(s) come out on top despite all the odds. Maybe times are changing at last.

H3K

Jo Bannister

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1410
  • Kudos: 11
  • If this was easy, anyone could do it
    • View Profile
Re: Sex, please, we're writers
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2019, 08:52:17 AM »
Excellent news, and exactly as it should be!  It ought to be the story which dictates these matters; but agents and publishers, cynical old things that they are, have often felt differently.  Perhaps you're right, Hilly, and the reading public is growing up.  That's very encouraging.

Lin Treadgold

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 194
  • Kudos: 2
    • View Profile
Re: Sex, please, we're writers
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2019, 03:58:50 PM »
Romance is very female led.  However, I've discovered of late that there are a lot more male romance readers and writers. Our local group is beginning to show that, due to two new male members.  I've also noticed through photos of the RNA parties that there are quite a few male members on the pictures, in fact, more than ever before.   So perhaps in a couple of years we shall see more of them.


Lin 

« Last Edit: March 07, 2019, 09:45:14 AM by Lin Treadgold »

geoffnelder

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 120
  • Kudos: 1
    • View Profile
    • Geoff Nelder Imagination Factory
Re: Sex, please, we're writers
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2019, 11:11:45 PM »
Like HillWalker I tend to write strong female MCs in many of my stories. In my scifi novel, EXIT PURSUED BY A BEE, a female pilot is smart, sexy and has to save the world. She initiates a romp onboard the spaceship - a scene that some readers think is unrealistic (mostly men readers) but liked by women :)

Gyppo

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5827
  • Kudos: 26
  • I've been writing ever since I realised I could.
    • View Profile
Re: Sex, please, we're writers
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2019, 12:15:29 PM »
Frances says she doesn't set out to be a strong female character, or to change the way the world treats women.  It's just the way she is ;-)

Probably stems from her writer having a family tradition of women who 'just get on with it' and do what they choose to regardless of whether it's 'girly' or not.

Annmarie

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 22
  • Kudos: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Sex, please, we're writers
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2019, 01:53:49 PM »
I gender-swapped a couple of characters in my WIP and now the cast is very woman-dominated. (And it opened up lots of intriguing story angles).

I told my husband this, and he immediately said "now it sounds like a women's-empowerment novel. Is that what you want?"

The exact same basic plot (blackmail/murder in a charged political environment) but majority women in the cast somehow changes everything...?

Made me even more determined to do the book this way.

So yes, I think there are still lots of gender assumptions out there, though things have gotten better.

Dansinger

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2926
  • Kudos: 8
  • Home is where the cat is
    • View Profile
    • EDS Diaries - Enjoying life with Ehlers-Danlos
Re: Sex, please, we're writers
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2019, 02:16:00 PM »
I think it's about fifty-fifty for me, though I do find it easier to write male characters than female ones. I do like my females strong, and romance is lost on me. Sex... yeah. I stay away from that as much as possible. It gets corny way too easily.
EDS Diaries - Enjoying life with Ehlers-Danlos
Work those fingers: write 250+ words a day
Write one poem a week

Jo Bannister

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1410
  • Kudos: 11
  • If this was easy, anyone could do it
    • View Profile
Re: Sex, please, we're writers
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2019, 08:44:50 AM »
I feel much the same as Dan.  I think I write about characters first, men and women second; and I find that what I think I've written and what people think they've read can vary.  My agent, for instance, thinks I'm writing a series about a young woman with close support from a male second-fiddle.  But I learned this week - in the chemist's, it's amazing where you can get literary criticism these days - that I've actually written a series about a man with close support from a strong female second lead.  In fact I wrote about a pair of mismatched friends, and sometimes one of them takes the lead and sometimes the other.  (Occasionally it's the dog.)

In contrast to Dan, I think I write better men than women.  But all my characters tend to challenge expectations - often the women are the action heroes while the men are more cerebral and frequently kinder.  It's these contrasts that interest me most, I think.  And perhaps it's less unexpected these days to find a strong female character than a gentle male one.


Dansinger

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2926
  • Kudos: 8
  • Home is where the cat is
    • View Profile
    • EDS Diaries - Enjoying life with Ehlers-Danlos
Re: Sex, please, we're writers
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2019, 08:56:36 AM »
And perhaps it's less unexpected these days to find a strong female character than a gentle male one.

And yet we have the word gentleman.

My males always have a soft core. It might be hard to find in some of them, but I assure you it's there. And my females are often tougher than the men, though that too, isn't always visible to the naked eye. It's the multi-layered personality that is most attractive.
EDS Diaries - Enjoying life with Ehlers-Danlos
Work those fingers: write 250+ words a day
Write one poem a week

Michael Marnier

  • Global Moderator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 139
  • Kudos: 0
  • Looking for Trouble On The Straits
    • View Profile
    • Michael Marnier - Author
Re: Sex, please, we're writers
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2019, 10:21:17 PM »
(Occasionally it's the dog.)

As new characters enter the Charley Manner series, I try to contrast their quirks with the MC's. Vicky, the female DEA agent, is tough but still plays damsel-in-distress waiting for help from the big, bad Navy SEALs. Not that she isn't performing a rolling karate-kick move like I have seen Gyppo's France execute when necessary. Adding females (as I mentioned, Vicky the DEA agent, and earlier in book 1, Charley's older sister) has helped me expand the dialogue, banter included, hopefully in a meaningful way.

While developing DEEP STRAIT, it occurred to me that Charley's Military Working Dog, Spirit, should have a broader role. Yes, you might have guessed, Spirit is a female Belgian-Malinois, fearless and loyal. And very smart. I have written several scenes from her POV and reader feedback has been positive. Who does not like a dog in a story?

BTW, I recall a note of advice from Alice from Dallas, our departed friend who is sorely missed: I had posted an opening scene from Hellhole in Khyber where Spirit is wounded when the SEAL team is ambushed by Taliban fighters. She advised, whatever I do, do not let Spirit die. Hmmm, Old Yeller from a Disney film I saw as a young boy was so traumatic. So no way will Spirit die in my stories, except from old age eventually.

Funny how our characters help us weave our tales, errr, tails? Well, you know what I mean.
Trouble on the Straits
Action-Adventure on the Florida Straits


Gyppo

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5827
  • Kudos: 26
  • I've been writing ever since I realised I could.
    • View Profile
Re: Sex, please, we're writers
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2019, 11:25:20 PM »
Dogs...

I recall a radio play I heard as a child.  It involved a hijacking/kidnapping at a country house dinner party.  The bad guy has everyone at gunpoint, bewildered, cowed, and submissive, until he mentions that he killed the dog to gain access.

At this point there were three or four light footsteps, the sound of a cupboard opening, the bad guy saying "What..." and a loud bang.  The daughter of the house had taken a shotgun from the cupboard, loaded it, and blew him away 'for killing her dog'.  Up until then she'd been happy to go along with his demands.

Gyppo