I met Tracie Banister on Twitter and got to know her through our shared love for Chick Lit. Her debut novel, Blame It on the Fame, has just been released! When she said that she wanted to do a Guest Post on Chick Lit Goddess I was beyond excited! I am thrilled to share this awesome post and topic!
I won’t keep you in suspense anymore, so here you go…
THE MALE PERSPECTIVE IN CHICK LIT
In preparing to write this guest blog, I asked several Chick Lit-loving friends to give me some examples of male characters in the genre who were particularly well-written and developed. They all came back to me with the same answer, “I can’t think of any.” I suppose this is the nature of the beast as Chick Lit is geared towards a female audience and most of it is written in first-person, which means we don’t get to see inside the heads of male characters in these stories and they remain a bit of a mystery. All we know is how these men are perceived by our heroine, how she interprets their words and actions, how she feels about them.
When I started writing my Chick Lit novel, Blame It on the Fame, my intent was to focus almost exclusively on the five heroines (all Oscar nominees in contention for the Best Actress trophy.) The male characters would be adjuncts, there to support the stories of the heroines in varying capacities (husbands, lovers, business associates, caretakers, and children.) However, as I worked my way through the first several chapters, I noticed that there was another character who was on a parallel path with the five actresses, someone who not only had an interesting story to tell, but had the potential to be every bit as multi-dimensional and entertaining as the ladies were. That someone was Best Actor nominee Miles McCrea, whom I began to jokingly refer to as “the sixth heroine in Blame It on the Fame.”
As there’s a third-person narrative in Blame It on the Fame, I had the freedom to dig deep with Miles. Okay, maybe not that deep since Miles is a bit shallow and id-driven. But there were still motivations and emotions and a backstory to explore, and I got to flesh out the character and show readers how his mind worked, which made the relationship between Miles and his co-star/on again-off again girlfriend, Philippa Sutcliffe, richer and more complex because it could be seen from both sides.
Is writing for a male character more difficult or intimidating? In my experience, no. As a matter of fact, it was kind of refreshing to switch gears and think like someone with a Y chromosome for a while. The character of Miles wasn’t based on any particular male of my acquaintance, but I did piece him together, much like Frankenstein’s monster, using personality traits and quirks gleaned from men I’d observed (people-watching – it’s the best research any writer can do, be it at your local restaurant, on You Tube, or in your own living room.) What I ended up with was a fun, distinctive character I hope readers will connect to and find just as memorable as his female counterparts in Blame It on the Fame.
**Visit Tracie Banister on her blog!
Buy her book Blame It on the Fame: