Thursday, 13 October 2011

If I were a boy

I read recently that female writers and readers of YA literature significantly outnumber their male counterparts, and this got me thinking: how is the male perspective represented in YA?

Looking back over the last couple of years, there are some great titles I can think of where the male voice/perspective is strong within a book which I wouldn't necessarily think of as being aimed at a boys-only market. Here are a few which really stood out for me:

Gone (and sequels) by Michael Grant
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
The Maze Runner (and sequel) by James Dashner

Despite the fact that I read more than is good for my poor ole eyes, I freely admit that there are even more books around that I haven't read (yet), so forgive me if I've left out any glaringly obvious ones - and please let me know of any additions you'd make to the list in the comments box below.

What struck me about my list was that all of the ones which stood out to me as a reader as having this strong male perspective were written by - yeah, you guessed it - male authors. But maybe that's logical; I mean, they were once teenage boys, so I would say it's only reasonable that their take on being a teenage boy would seem more authentic, somehow...right? Or maybe you disagree.

So here's the weird thing: I find that I prefer writing from the male perspective, and have so far written them almost exclusively in the first-person. And, in case you are in any doubt, I was never a teenage boy. So how am I qualified to write from the male perspective?

Well, maybe I don't need to be 'qualified' (in the anatomical sense) to get the male perspective, but I'd say that I definitely need to work a little harder at it.

I find that when I'm writing, I have to stop and think a LOT about how my male protagonists react in different situations - more so than I would when writing from a female POV. I also torture my husband by asking him very detailed and intimate questions about how he used to respond emotionally and physically as a teenager, and El Husbo has been a massive help to me because of his willingness to endure this invasion of his privacy (I think spouses of writers are pretty long-suffering, generally).

So I'll throw this out there to the universe - am I alone in this? Or are there other female YA writers who have found their niche writing from the male perspective? Maybe you're a male writer whose groove is in writing from the female POV... let me know.

Kat out x

1 comment:

  1. You know I never really thought about it this way, but that's mostly because I've never written a story in first person either. I often wonder if I'm shooting myself in the foot by not writing my main character in first person. Who knows...I've just always felt more comfortable writing from a third person POV. I like the way I can dip and weave my way into the mind of any character I want, male or female.


    Not sure that I answered your question, but I enjoyed your post. ;-)


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