I posed this question on Twitter a few weeks ago: Do you like male leads who are confident and impulsive, or do you prefer them to be sensitive and reserved? The responses showed that some prefer the former while others prefer the latter. The majority of responders, however, prefer the male lead to display aspects of both.
One bit of advice writers often hear: write what you know. I was reserved in high school, unsure of myself. I have gained some confidence over the years, but that awkward kid is still inside me.
In the first book I wrote, the lead was shy, quiet and introspective, and many of the main characters in my stories display these traits. But these are not the only types of characters I write. In a recent novel, the main male character is rebellious and sometimes a little obnoxious. This is not me. But if I’m going to develop as a writer, I have to push myself outside of my comfort zone.
Another bit of writing advice: your characters should grow as a person. A meek woman gains strength and confidence. An overbearing, cocky guy learns a bit of humility. We writers call it a character arc.
Take The Only Boy for example. Taylor starts off as awkward and timid. By the end of the book, however, he is changed by the events and by a desire to right the wrongs and stop the antagonist from hurting any more people.
Whether your writing a reserved male lead or a rebellious one, it’s important to make them well rounded. None of us are simple creatures. Seems as though few people want to read about a stereotype.
Tell me in the comment section: What type of male lead do you prefer?