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Is it normal for me to write characters of the opposite sex/gender?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Ewolf20, Sep 20, 2018.

  1. Ewolf20

    Ewolf20 Minstrel

    I just now realized that a lot of ideas i've written down tend to have male protags. only a few them have a female character as the lead. the funny thing is I'm a girl yet i barely write people of my own gender ( or even). maybe i jsut like writing out of my comfort zone sometimes.
  2. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Inkling

    Some people prefer to write about the opposite gender rather than the same. I prefer to write about female characters even though I am male because I find women more interesting to write about.

    I'm of the belief that people should create and write about characters that they enjoy writing.
  3. Insolent Lad

    Insolent Lad Maester

    I have found myself writing more and more female lead characters as I've gone along. Some of them even first person, which definitely has its pitfalls for a guy. I suppose it is no different than writing from the POV of anyone who is different from me—and ultimately, everyone is both different from me and like me.
    Night Gardener likes this.
  4. goldhawk

    goldhawk Troubadour

    The only differences between genders is in their attitudes toward sex. For all other abilities, behaviours, and emotions, there is no difference. Write whatever gender you're happy with but do get input from others (all genders) for your sex scenes.
    TheCrystallineEntity likes this.
  5. Ewolf20

    Ewolf20 Minstrel

    I don't do sex scenes. most of what i do is kid/ family friendly.
    TheCrystallineEntity likes this.
  6. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Auror

    I write opposite more then seventy five percent of the time. It originally started with me being tired of seeing what amounted to men (not exactly, but you can catch on with the standard fantasy protag) in a lot of Fantasy stories and trying to write out new.ways. I write a lot of opposites of me, really.
    TheCrystallineEntity likes this.
  7. psychotick

    psychotick Auror


    It's not about normal. It's about writing what feels right to you. If you feel that you are more comfortable writing male characters go for it.

    Cheers, Greg.
  8. ravenowl

    ravenowl Acolyte

    Since psychologically we are all the same (apart from cultural training to decide out preferences about just about anything from how often we want sex to how we like our toast) just write people you enjoy creating. Since that is who we all are :)
  9. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

    I've written characters; male, female, gay, straight and none of the above. I do my best to be "true" to what I feel each character is like and the story allows. After that its up to the readers to decide.
    If I'm going way off piste, in to area unknown to me, I will try to find out more about a given culture/approach/gender/role/identity [or whatever] so I don't make basic errors. This can mean having a chat with a friend or reading a heap of articles, watching video, whatever works and is practical.
    TheCrystallineEntity likes this.
  10. I write a fair amount of male protags, and often my characters are almost opposite to me in terms of personality.
  11. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    My last two books have had female leads. In one, I have no idea why. With my WIP it was a deliberate decision because it entails an adventure set in the 19thc, and I wanted to deal with some 19thc perceptions about gender, as a secondary thread. I didn't feel I could do that properly by having a male lead with a female member of the team.

    I differ in attitude from what has been expressed here (and which is widely expressed). I don't see us as all fundamentally the same. I see us as all fundamentally different. Every person. Or, to be clearer, the places where we are the same or similar are not the interesting places. It's the differences that are interesting.

    So, in my WIP, Gabrielle is interesting to me not because she's female but because she's interesting. She wants to be a scientific journalist--this in a world where magic itself is becoming understood as a science. She faced far more obstacles because of her gender, and that has shaped her, but it's her determination and her love of scientific observation that's key. What sort of person keeps going in the face of repeated roadblocks and failures? Who keeps going even though there's basically no one supporting her? How has she made of science a personal faith. What is she willing to do in pursuit of her scientific ideals? And how will she deal with other people who also love science but whose ideals are not identical with hers?

    Sociologists are preoccupied with finding similarities. They love grouping us by psychology or physiology or culture. Authors--this author, anyway--are preoccupied with the exception, the individual, the unique.

    Ewolf20, is it normal? Nah. None of us is normal. Normality is over-sold.
  12. Ewolf20

    Ewolf20 Minstrel

    it's that very reason i fear mt male characters might not seem believable.
  13. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

    If you write your characters as people first, you'll be fine. Where you can get into trouble is if you treat them as stereotypes. Don't ask if a male would act this way or say these things or if a female would act this way or say these things? Those are broad generalizations that don't apply to individuals. Ask yourself would your characters Bob or Sue act this way or say these things? To further that, would Bob and Sue do these things based on their personality and personal backgrounds?

    As Skip said, we're all unique. We have commonalities, but the interesting stuff happens with our differences, were ever they come from, nature or nurture.

    If we were to define a person using five traits, say A, B, C, D, and E. And say each of those traits could be either 1 or 2. No matter what combination of numbers you come up with, like 2-1-2-1-1, you'll be able to find a male or female with those characteristics.

    In real life we're way more complex than five variables. And even though we may be similar, we are unique, because we all have different life experiences and different attitudes based on our experiences.

    To worry about if you can write a character of the opposite sex believably is like worrying about if you can write a character with different eye color believably.

    Treat your characters as real people with real wants, and believable reasons for those wants, and you'll be fine.
  14. EponasSong

    EponasSong Scribe

    If its not normal then Im just as weird. Im working on a 4 book series with 4 different chacters. Only one is a female. *Shrugs*

    My thing is to stay way from gender stereotypes.
  15. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

    I write... from whatever POV seems to fit the story best. Eve of Snows is a multi-POV epic, female lead, but fairly balanced ink time when considering the number of POV's. Several of these characters weren't planned POV characters, they just turned out to be interesting and/or critical to the story... so!

    I once thought that writing a young girl would be weird...but with two daughters now, I find writing that POV entertaining as hell.

    As others have said, write them human. And yeah, that probably sounds easier than it is. It should be easy, but I've read some very clunky humans over time, LOL. If you write well, and write them human, you should be good.
  16. ShadeZ

    ShadeZ Maester

    Yup, totally normal. At least sure seems to be based on everyone's replies.

    I used to write both as well but found I can write the opposite much better. To be Frank, I often do not understand girls/women IRL and how they think despite being one myself and find it much easier to write guys as you have to be able to think like the character to a degree to write them. About 2 out of 7 of my characters are female and the rest are male. If you have difficulty with writing characters of your own gender I would advise having someone else who is good at writting that gender help you flesh out the characters more so it is easier to write them.


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