Hi All,


Okay, get your minds outta the gutter, LOL! I mean in terms of what you read and write, does the gender of the main character matter to you?

Since we're all crime fiction writers, I'd love to see what you think. As readers, do you prefer the MC to be of a certain gender for you to be interested in the book?

As writers, do you prefer to write your MC as a certain gender? If so, please explain why.


Now to answer the questions, sex doesn't matter to me when it comes to the MC. I like female and male main characters. As long as the books are written in 3rd person I'm happy. Sorry, just not a first person chick, LOL.


I also write male and female MC's. It all depends on what I think fits the story best. I have the best of both worlds with the detective series I'm doing. The MC's are a female and male cop team and so they both get plenty of attention in the book and at times is shown from each other's eyes.


How about you guys? What do you prefer or does it not matter?


Best Wishes!


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Get my mind out of the gutter? You're kidding, right?
I knew Loomis would be the first commenter just by reading the title of the discussion.
I would like more female characters and more female main characters in noir fiction.

It's like comedy - for me a show like Saturday Night Live is only as good as the women on the show so I miss Tina Fey and Amy Poehler a lot and the show isn't a good as when they were on it. When they co-hosted Weekend Update it was the best it had ever been.
Now for an actual answer to your question.

As a reader, i don't much care whether it's a man or a woman, so long as either is believable. If the woman is going to kick ass like a man, act like a man, talk like a man, then make her a man. Don't put her into situations where she eventually has to depend on divine intervention, her own kick-assedness, or some big, strong, man to come and save her. That doesn't mean she never gets help. Everyone needs help from time to time. (After all, even Elvis Cole has Joe Pike, and Jack Reacher occasionally needs a ride.) Just don't get too "Perils of Pauline" on us and use the fact she's a woman to artificially ramp up the suspense.

As a writer, I've written scenes and flash pieces from a woman's point of view, but nothing longer, at least not yet. Not to say I wouldn't ever do it, but I'm more comfortable telling stories from a man's POV, and the story ideas I get tend to lend themselves to a man's POV, anyway.
Wow. This may become a potential minefield waiting to explode. And I might be the idiot who stumbles over the trip wire with my comments. So let's begin the explosions by saying how remarkable I think we've seen the mystery/detective genre taken over by women. In the last thirty years women have (rightly or wrongly, I'm not judging this) laid a claim in this field in both writing, agenting, editing and in just about every area associated with this genre.

I'm not complaining here . . . mostly. I think its an indirect piece of evidence suggesting that equality has finally hit the gender game and we're acknowleging women as equals. In my opinion this is a good thing.

But. . . .

In this sudden infusion of femininity we've seen a subtle shift in tastes. We see a hell of a lot of cozy mysteries. Of malice-domestic stories. Of female characters acting like a Mickey Spillane characters. Rare (in my opinion) do we see a male Mike Hammer appear. Or another Steve Carello from the mind of Ed McBain. Too bad. I miss'em.

Okay. The wire has been tripped. Let the fireworks begin.
I prefer male characters and have a male protagonist in the series. My main reason for preferring books with male protagonists is that I'm pretty tired of reading about the feminist agenda and things that interest only women. Frequently, I watch characters go through contortions to prove they are better at this than men. To some extent, the whole body of work produced by some of the female authors has become one huge cliche.

Having said this, I've also written two historical novels where a woman is the protagonist alongside a male character. One is altogether admirable, the other has some serious flaws.
You guys cracked me up. You all made great points and I gotta say I agree.

I think the problem is when some authors spend too much time making a character "be a man" or "be a woman" and then in the writing you can tell it's like they don't understand the opposite sex at all. I guess I'd say some writers "try" too hard to write what they think a man or woman have to be like. I think some writers seem to be clueless about men and women. I've read books where some put too much emphasis on the sex of the character.

Just because there's a male character it doesn't mean he has to be insensitive, or rough and act like nothing effects him. He's still a person. The same with a female character, she doesn't have to always be "pondering" things about her ex or always self conscious about some of the things she does, LOL. She also can be strong without morphing into The Rock in a dress, LOL. The sex of any person is only the beginning. Men and women are people, period. People do different things and act differently The gender isn't the only thing about us that makes us who we are.

Dana, I agree with what you said. The fact is (and I love being a woman), but I can admit that hey, men are stronger than women physicially and it is ridiculous when you see a movie or read a book and the woman can outfight any man or beat up anyone that comes their way. Even when a woman is a cop, she's not superwoman. It should be realistic and I see too many female characters these days that are acting like men but without the testerone, LOL. This is an interesting point because in another writers' group they were talking about this and a male writer said women aren't stronger than men physically and of course some of the women didn't agree. We gotta be honest though, men just have that extra strength. I'm 6'1 and I know men who are way shorter than me who are way stronger, LOL! I can be as strong as I can get but, I wouldn't expect a man not to be stronger. That's just the way it is and with our characters we gotta be true. I love strong female characters but I also want them to be realistic. Strong women can still be feminine. I don't want a book with a man in a dress, LOL.

B.R., I gotta say I agree with you. I don't like cozy mysteries! In fact to me it's like this genre was invented so publishers could infringe on our crime/mystery genre and attract more chit lit readers. Please. They assume more women read cozies but women who like crime fiction and mysteries want the hard stuff. I don't get the cozy thing myself and it's not something I'd read. I need violence, guns, brutality, blood! LOL! I've never read a cozy mystery and don't think I ever would. It's just too soft to me. I want a "real" crime fiction or mystery novel. Yes, I said it, LOL. I want a plot I can bite into and not that "cute" stuff. I want police procedures, cursing cops and sadistic criminals, LOL. No, leave the cozies for someone else. If I wanna be cozy I'd pick a romance. If I'm reading a crime novel, that's what I want. I want it brutal and real and fun! (No offense to those who write cozies). I just don't like them myself. LOL! No, I want REAL action and hardboiled detective stories and REAL, hard-hitting crime!

Best Wishes!

I.J. said:

To some extent, the whole body of work produced by some of the female authors has become one huge cliche.

That's because those particular female authors are allowing folks to tell them how to write their women characters (or books in general) so they rely on cliches. These are also those writers who think it's easier to sale to readers if they give them the same stuff over and over. But people don't want the same old stuff done over and over in crime fiction. At least I don't. I think of those types of writers (male or female) as robots trying to make everyone else happy at the expensive of creativity.

Best Wishes!

The first girl I ever loved was a female detective named Nancy Drew!

I have written stories with both male and female protagonists. I prefer novels in 3rd person because it allows a variation in perspectives. I believe a writer should be able to write from either perspective. James Patterson writes Alex Cross novels, but he also writes novels featuring the Women's Murder Club.

My own novel The Banshee & the Archangel features the Reverend John Banshee and is written from a male perspective; but in future novels his niece Miranda Saint Claire might start taking center stage.
I'll read male or female protagonists. It's not a problem, as long as I like the character.

I'll write male or female in third person. For writing first person, I prefer female.
I like a back story, just not all at once. and only if it helps solve the crime.
LOL, Dan! Sorry I got your hopes up!

Best Wishes!



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