Sunday, July 27, 2014

He's Not That Into You by Betsy Ashton

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.


Margo Hoornstra said...

Nothing better than conflicted characters. But then, how else are they going to grow?

Jannine Gallant said...

He sounds like a great character. A tough guy with a sissy name to overcome. I like it! It'll make him stronger. Your serial killer sounds very interesting. Way to think outside the box, Betsy!

Diane Burton said...

A Boy Named Sue. That song hit me as I read the end of your post, Betsy. I want to read that book! He sounds like a great character.

Alicia Dean said...

Hmmm....what is your problem with male characters? That's very interesting. I love the idea of the first person female serial killer. Wow...that must be so interesting to write. It sounds like your connection with your first male main character will be a great one. I'm interested in him already!

Betsy Ashton said...

Alicia, I'm not sure what my problem with male characters is. That's why I'm working on the outline for one right now. He fascinates me. A stranger in a strange land who looks different. We'll see where this takes me. But first, back to the serial killer. She's delicious fun to write.

glenys said...

"All but one of the male characters are insignificant until they end up dead." Nearly choked on my coffee at that one! Yes, I can identify, but wonder what Freud would have to say about us? Great blog, and look forward to seeing what you do with a story featuring a guy in a more important role :-)

Barbara Edwards said...

Your male sounds pretty rounded to me. maybe you're doing better than you believe.
I Like your serial killer.I always wanted to be one, too. I just don't do first person.