News: My thoughts are clouds I cannot fathom into pastries.

--1 June 2018--

Quote: Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest of hearts. --Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

The Fellowship

September 12, 2010

The Gander or the Goose?

The gander or the goose...which do you choose when it comes to a main character (mc)? In other words, do you choose a girl or a guy? If so, why? (ok, that last sentence was plopped in just for the rhyming effect, excuse my poor English skills folks, I'm trying to roll with the puns (pun intended)). Now, back to the topic; if you're starting a story, your brain is probably far from wondering what the gender of your mc should be. In fact, it is always the furthest thing from my mind as my brain hurries to plot the scenes, start the battles, and fix the glitches (yes, the glitches that begin at the beginning and never end).

Let's say you choose a guy. Are there any reasons why you should choose a male mc? Any good reasons? Of course; I have a couple:
  • Guys are stronger. No offense to the ladies, but guys just have the brawn. If you think about the average muscle mass of a guy compared to a girl, it's way greater. 
  • Guys are usually stereotyped to be great warriors and battle-planners. We can force girls into these positions, but to do so will result in a casualty to our readers. Readers like to keep things the same. If we introduce them to a topic slowly, they will warm to it, but if you introduce them too quickly (over the time-span of one book) they might get scared off. Okay, maybe that is a bit drastic. More likely, they will not get swarped into your story...they won't believe it. They'll hold it at an arms length and say "Nice story, but it's only fiction." They could be saying "Awesome book! Too bad it's not real! I thought it was!"
  • Guys are more straight forward than girls. Male characters don't have to deal with emotional ups and downs and zig-zaggers. Very rarely will you find a female character that has the disposition of a male (one example is Mindarin in the Binding of the Blade series).
Now perhaps you're a girl and you're shaking your fist at me saying, "That's not fair! The guys always get the good parts!" Well slow down there :P I have some good news for you; girls are awesome mc's too...
  • Girls are very dynamic. As mc's you can use them to add great depth to the story that probably won't be attained (at least to the same degree) as with a guy. 
  • Girls are fun to pick stuff for; just think of the great times you have choosing what colours they wear, their hairstyles, boots, etc. I have a blast! Just think of Kale Allerion in The Dragon Keeper Series by Donita K. Paul. Fighting in hot pink? Now that is stylish! XD 
  • Girl mc's are superb for giving the story some problems. Just think of the hard-headed characters they can be. Girls tend to forget things, misplace things, or stumble on things. They can also be very fussy and exasperating. In other words, if your mc is a girl, have fun trying to get her into and then out of danger. 

So what kind of mc should you choose if you're going to write a book? Well, first it depends what  kind of book you want to write. In this case, I'm talking about epic fantasy or earth-centered fantasy. Fantasy is always an experience for both reader and writer. As a reader, we learn about crazy things and enjoy ourselves. As writers, we begin to mold our own characters, learning from the experiences of our mc's and developing traits that are God-honouring and respectable.

Therefore, if you're going to choose a male/female mc you have several choices ahead of you:
  • Choose the gender that is hardest for you to write; at the end of your book you'll find you've learned something about guys/girls that you might not have known before, or perhaps you'll come to respect them more than you did before. 
  • Choose the gender that is easiest for you to write (most likely that will be your own gender, unless you're really really really weird). When you take this step, you learn more about yourself. 
  • Choose both genders...have two mc's...and get the best of both worlds :-)

That's all for now folks; I hope you have enjoyed this episode of Squeak's rantings :-)

Endurance and Victory,



  1. I have two MC's, one of each gender, in my WiP. The guy is more annoying, but the girl is pathetically weak.

  2. I have a terrible tendency to exclude female characters--mostly because I can only understand them to a degree, lol! :D I can't understand my sisters one bit. XD

  3. Great post, Squeaks! Normally when thinking of a story, characters pop into my mind pretty quickly. Since I'm a girl it's usually a girl MC; but in my current novel it's a guy, and I like writing as someone different. It's quite fun.:)

  4. Interesting points there! In my stories, the main character is usually a girl because I can easily write from what I know of being a girl! Though maybe I should try writing from a guy perspective next time. Like you said, it would be more challenging. Great post! I really enjoyed reading it! :)

  5. I love this Squeaks. You are spot on. When I first started writing I went with guys as the mc they were easy straight forward and got themselves in and out of trouble pretty easily. Must say I loved them. Right now though most of my mc's are girl and I am really enjoying the challenge of creating depth and emotion, rather than action; though I couldn't live without some action. My last work ended up having a guy and girl mc and that was a real blast though I kept fighting with the guy he was just exasperating, but I loved him anyway.
    Thanks for the thoughts they are really great.

  6. That's funny, Jake! I'm a girl and my mc is a girl, but I mostly have guys for my other characters. In fact, my sister was complaining yesterday that she wanted me to put more girls into my WiP.

    Since I usually write in first person, I tend use girls as my vp character, though I have had several scenes with guys as the vp. It's definitely interesting getting into the opposite gender's head.

  7. Humph. I must be really, really, really weird then... because I think I find it easier to write about guys. ;) But my stories are very character driven, and the guy characters are more persistent I guess - the stories I start about girls usually end up going nowhere. They're just not insistent enough on getting their stories told... Also, I get so sick of "I hate being a girl" type heroines who insist on going out and acting like guys that I just go with guys to start with and let them have all the adventures they want. :)
    Besides... I can usually see the world from almost anyone's point of view, and I've read a lot of "boy books," besides having three brothers, so it doesn't seem that weird to me to write from a guy's perspective.

  8. Hmmm... very interesting post. Usually when I get a story idea the gender of the MC is the first thing that pops into my mind. I have several stories in the process with both genders placed as MC.


    SOTD: male MC

    Star Kindler: Female MC

    Spinner's Apprentice: Female MC

    Dragon Portal Series: Male MC

    Eldrie: split between siblings: Male and Female MC's.

    But it is interesting to right from a different gender. I'm a girl, and if I'm not careful I tend to make my males a little brash, perhaps a little too serious, and sometimes a little to soft emotionally. I've learned to vary things like that, but it's still hard.

    However, on that same note, my female characters are a lot like that as well, except you are right... females are more fun to pick things out for! In Spinner's Apprentice my MC is hard-headed and stubborn, but she also likes colors and clothes... which turns out to be a problem since she isn't supposed to wear colorful stuff. :)


Related Posts with Thumbnails