Sunday, September 27, 2009

Over on the MTV Books Blog, Jennifer Echols posed the question: What DON'T you see yourself ever writing? Thought I'd repost my answer here (although in addition to this one thing, I also never see myself writing anything having to do with fantasy, vampires, angels, ghosts, special powers or historical fiction).

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.

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