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Male Characters: Confident or Reserved?

// Author: Jordan Locke // 7 Comments

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?

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  1. Jordan Locke - May 24, 2014 7:15 pm

    Please post a comment.

    • Janet - November 8, 2016 3:11 pm

      Great advice. Thanks for posting this article.

  2. Kelly - August 12, 2014 1:50 am

    The male lead in my book i’m working on is sensitive and reserved
    He starts that way in book 1 but my the end, he’s going to have become stronger due to what he has to do and go through.
    I have other males in it that are confident and rebellious but it’s because it’s in their personalities. My lead has always been reserved but grows in character.

    • Jordan Locke - September 20, 2014 3:03 pm

      I tend to like reading about characters who struggle to overcome their timidness. It’s something I deal with every day.

  3. Fiona the Great - August 23, 2014 5:30 pm

    I would prefer to write from a rebellious boy’s perspective than a sensitive one’s perspective, but that is just because I have a hard time writing “afraid”. I like to read sensitive, though, because it helps me relate more to the character. My favorite is a mix of all the traits, however.

  4. Jordan Locke - September 20, 2014 3:10 pm

    The last book I wrote had a rebellious male for one of the main characters, and the female lead in The Only Boy is a bit of a rule breaker. It can be fun writing from a rebel’s point of view.

  5. Happy Hanukkah 2016 - October 16, 2016 11:42 am

    Thank you so much for the information.


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