writing problems

He’s a hero

I haven’t done a formal survey (yet), but I’d guess we get similar numbers of male and female queriers. I’d also guess at least 80% of protagonists I see are male.

One of our agents is active with #MSWL (Manuscript Wishlist) and one of her wishes mentions a type of boy story she’d like. A third of her queries begin, “you said you like boy protagonists who…”

Never mind almost every other wish of hers asks for strong girls. Everybody is writing about boys.

Centuries of history conditioned us to think men are heroic in different ways than women. We see men as more interesting heroes, and can picture them doing more things (or fitting more hero archetypes), because that’s what we’ve seen in books and movies and shows.

There’s a gap between our talk of equality and the actual execution.

For our mindset and culture to change, individuals must do their part in changing the narrative. Let me ask you: does your protagonist have to be male? Does the plot inherently require XY chromosomes, a beard, an inability to be pregnant, or a magical phallus that unlocks the sacred treasure chest?

I’d love to see more ladies. Our agents feel the same. This is why so much of MSWL calls for strong female protagonists: those stories still haven’t been told.

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