Friday, September 14, 2012

Gender Confusion

I just finished a book that has been getting some buzz in the book world.  I enjoyed the book, liked the concept, the writing was good, BUT it took me 70 pages to figure out that one of the MCs was male. 

70 pages! 

Now, before you all laugh at me, there were clues to his being a guy but he didn't feel like a guy.  To me (and maybe this is just me) he read like a girl.  Even at the end after constantly telling myself "remember he's a boy" I still couldn't quite get a feeling for him in my head.



What can I say?  We always talk about the subjectivity of writing and the reader/writer relationship. Maybe he came across as typically male to some people (though I can't figure out how)  I guess this reader couldn't see what the writer was trying to convey. 

Have you ever had this happen?

37 comments:

  1. Yes, I've had this happen before. You are not alone. :)

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  2. This has happened to me too a while back. I remember getting frustrated about it and I don't think I finished the book....

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    1. I almost didn't but I wanted to see what everyone was talking about.

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  3. Yep, this has happened to me before. By the time I figure it out I normally have to spend the next little bit constantly reminding myself if such and such character is male or female.

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    1. I had to do that too. Especially during the kissing.

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  4. Yes, it's happened to me as well. It's off -putting to say the least.

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    1. Off-putting is a good way of saying it.

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  5. That's why we have to get our men to sound like men and our women to sound like women. For me it's the voice more than the other descriptors. If the dialog doesn't click male and the character is in fact male, that's a problem. I read an article on this by a male on how to do it. Here's the link.

    http://writersinthestorm.wordpress.com/2012/04/04/women-are-from-venus-men-are-annoying-guest-post-by-rob-preece/

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  6. I thought Katniss was a boy the first time I read The Hunger Games :) Guess I should have read the cover copy.

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    1. Lol, You know, thinking back there might have been a little confusion for me too. It was so long ago I don't really remember.

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  7. I've been confused about gender a character is at first, but I usually stop and find out before I go on. Finding out by page 70 would drive me nuts. :)

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    1. There were clues, but I kept thinking, no, that can't be right.

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  8. I don't like when it takes so long, but sometimes it's good to know things later. Maybe the writer wanted to give a twist or surprise.

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    1. I don't think it was supposed to be a twist. It was just confusing.

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    1. I almost stopped but wanted to know why everyone had been talking about this book.

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  10. Now I want to know what book your talking about. LOl. This has happened to me but I did go back and read the blurb because I needed to know.

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    1. I should have hopped on the internet and found out.

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  11. Ok, this is going to make me sound super lame, but I thought Katniss from the Hunger Games was a boy for the first chapter, or at least until they said her name etc... Seriously, I'm not kidding. I had to go back and read the chapter over again, just to make sure. I understand. I've tried to hone in my male characters to make sure they sound like a boys. It's tough when I'm a girl to get them just right. haha

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    1. You're not the only one who made that assumption.

      I've tried to get not only gender but age right with my characters. Only time will tell.

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  12. Haha I can't think that I ever had that experience, although I can way how this could happen in a first person POV story. :-)

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    1. It was first person, and he was supposed to be a character shrouded in mystery so that contributed to how long it took.

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  13. When that happens I recheck the author info on the inside pages and more often than not it turns out the author is actually a woman, even though the name on the cover is a man's name.

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  14. I remember watching a movie once where I didn't know one of the characters was a girl until practically mid-way. She was a girl with a short pixie cut that could've been a boy's cut.

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  15. Hmm... was it written by a female? If so, then she prolly didn't capture the male voice well enough. I've read un-pubbed stories where I thought the narrator was a boy but was really a girl.

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    1. It was a female author and I'm assuming that's what the issue was.

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  16. I always write in first person unless it's required to write in third person. I find it easier to identify the protagonist, antagonist, etc. in first person.

    I write in second person in my film reviews because I have to. That writing subject is geared toward the "you", not the "I", "he\she", etc.

    I have to keep consistency in my writing... :)

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    1. It actually was in first person.

      You have to write second person in your film reviews? Second person is pretty irritating to me, I don't enjoy reading it.

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    2. Sorry, I didn't know that...it was written in first person. I might've read too fast and didn't catch the details :(

      Yes, I do write in second person for my film reviews. It takes a lot of practice and patience to write second person...it has to come naturally :)

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  17. Intriguing idea. I wonder what forces are working there? I have had this when creating my soft sculpted cloth figures, but I can't think it's happened in my writing. I have had characters whose names just don't fit and I eventually change them and feel better for it.

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    1. Do you have a blog? I can't find it by clicking on your name. I go to a google plus page.

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  18. I'm always worried that I'm doing the opposite - I hope my men sound like men!

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