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Sunday, September 20, 2009

What DON'T you ever see yourself writing about?

In the past 4 years I have read exactly 3 books with a guy as the main character. And those three books are all by the same author (John Green). Is that lame? Maybe. But here's the thing: I love reading about girls. I like when I feel like I relate to a character, that she could be my best friend or my enemy or even me.

And a guy? Well, I'll never be a guy. I can't even pretend to know what goes through a guy's head. In my book THE BOOK OF LUKE every chapter begins with a "Tip" for guys. Like Chapter Two: "Tip #3: Toenail clippers do not require hours of instruction, exceptional manual dexterity or an advanced degree. They're like scissors, but smaller. Use them." Or Chapter Twenty-five: "Tip #86: Bed head is not a hair style. Show a little effort. It can go a long way."
I had so much fun coming up with those tips, I got to rehash everything about guys that I don't understand and put them down on paper. It was like therapy.

I suppose I should be open-minded enough to admit that some great male characters come from women, and some men have written great books with a girl as the main character. But that's them. Me? If I was going to try to honestly and truly get inside the head of a guy I may as well spend my time trying to get inside the head of a nuclear physicist. They'd be equally challenging. (caveat: I love, love, love writing the male characters in my books, but would never ever want them to be the main characters)

So I don't think I'll ever write a book with a guy as the main character.

That said...

I am currently writing a book with a boy as the main character (RYAN PICKLER: BORN TO BE RAD). But it's a middle grade book and I'm writing it with my son, who is a fourth grade boy. And I know him pretty darn well enough to write a character that is the spitting image of him (and all the gross things a 9 year old boy does). I'm loving every minute we spend coming up with crazy stuff for Ryan Pickler to do, say and react to. I love Ryan Pickler, farts and all.

But as soon as Ryan turns 14, I'm done with him.


Danielle Joseph said...

I love Ryan Pickler already! Probably helps that I have a son in 2nd grade and another one in Kindergarten. We are all about farts and wedgies here, so bring it on! Can't wait for the book!

Jan Blazanin said...

Farts and wedgies are still big in middle school. Come to think of it, I know some 40-something men who haven't progressed beyond that stage. You might have a whole new market for your book.