I have often pondered why I prefer writing from the male POV. That has to be weird, right? As a woman, shouldn't I feel more comfortable speaking as a woman? Shouldn't I be more versed in what women think and feel?
Although quite girly in real life, for some reason in fiction, I'm a tomboy.
I can write from the female POV, and do in The Charge, which is told from multiple POVs. As a matter of fact, the original draft of the novel that would become The Charge was written from Lena's perspective, the leading lady in the story.
Deciding to change my main character from Lena to Warren was a big decision, namely because it meant re-writing most of the novel. But I also didn't trust that I could master the voice of an 18-year-old guy, especially one like Warren, who is not that much like me. However, I decided to make the change at the suggestion of some astute critique partners.
From a plot perspective, writing the story from Lena's perspective had been a mistake. She's deeply involved in the story, but it's not about her. It's Warren's story, and should be told by him. Honestly, I think I was stuck in the female-focused mentality of the YA/NA genre. I naturally started writing from the female perspective, just because it seemed like the normal thing to do, even though it wasn't right for my story.
When I stated writing the story from Warren's POV, it felt like fireworks erupted in my head. It worked better partly because it made for a better plot, but also his voice flowed so naturally. The prose came to life with color and texture.
My leaning toward the male POV didn't stop with Warren. The exact same thing happened with my next novel (which I hope to publish soon). When planning the story in my head and in outlines, I fully intended to write from the perspective of the main female character. But when I actually sat down to write, the main male character took the helm. I just started writing a scene from his perspective and he tumbled out for a whole novel. In retrospect, I am very glad I chose him as a MC. He's a deeply flawed character and making him into a likable MC added much more complexity than I would have had otherwise.
Who knows, perhaps I do have some deeply seeded gender issues, but my guess is that something else is going on here. I like writing from the male perspective because the voice is less like mine. When you're attempting to write from the perspective of someone who is not like you, you have to make a more conscious effort to create a strong and consistent voice, which at least in my case, improves the quality of my writing.
In addition, I find it more enjoyable to write as a character unlike myself. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge Sharon fan, but I live in my head 24/7. Stepping out of myself adds fire to my writing because it's fresh and different, and I enjoy the challenge. So, at the end of the day, I don't think it's that much about gender. I enjoy writing as someone different from me.
If you often write from the POV of your own gender, or as characters otherwise similar to you, I challenge you to a few exercises where you write as someone unlike you. If you're like me, hopefully it will help to enhance your voice and add fresh color to your writing.
So, what about you? Do you usually write MCs of the same gender? If so, why do you lean towards one or the other?