I'm thinking about the male characters I write. Some are strong. Some are weak. All, until now, are secondary characters.
In my Mad Max series. the main character has a boyfriend who is strong, funny and loving. Her son-in-law could be better drawn. If I had a chance to rewrite book one of the series, I'd flesh out the SIL better. I gave him short shrift. He gets better exposure in the second book in the series. From a shadow provider for his family in book one to a co-parent with his mother-in-law in book two, he grows and develops. I'm now comfortable more with him.
I have a work in progress with a female main character. All but one of the male characters are insignificant until they end up dead. What? They end up dead? Yes. The main character is a woman who is also a serial killer. She's complex. She's narcissistic, sociopathic and at times psychopathic. She is always interesting, according to my beta readers and critique group. Did I mention I'm writing in first person singular? Yes, from inside the mind of a conflicted serial killer. I'm finding it a tremendous challenge and worthy of a shout when I get a chapter balanced between conflict, coldness and elation.
For the past few weeks, one voice is growing inside my head. It's a he. You read that right, a he. Maybe the early male characters weren't into me enough to take charge. This one is. He is a single parent with a young daughter and a sister who helps raise her. He's all about the outdoors and team sports. His daughter is into fairies and tea parties. He's an alpha male; she's a girly girl.
He's a stranger in a strange land, in that he's transferred from where he grew up to a different city in a different state. He can't blend in, because he looks different. He's in law enforcement with a position of authority, but his team distrusts him due to his outsider-ness. He has to prove himself worthy of leading them.
His name has to say something about me, though. It sounds female. Letters are often addressed to him as "Dear Ms. ..." Am I just not that into male characters that I have to give them female names? Thoughts?
Betsy Ashton is the author of Mad Max Unintended Consequences available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The second book in the series, Uncharted Territory, will be released in June 2015. She lives for words and writing.