Guts and Gaps: Creating Male Characters
By Kersten Hamilton
Author of TYGER TYGER
I am a huge fan of the male gender. I have spent a lifetime studying guys – brothers, fathers, friends, a lover, and two sons. Like a field anthropologist, I have lived among them. After much up-close and personal study, I think that in our literary YA culture, we do not always give guys enough credit for what they are: male.
Like Rocky, written by and starring Sylvester Stallone. Stallone understood exactly how to create a male protagonist with a compelling and honest love relationship. Give them guts and gaps:
Paulie: [talking about Adrian] You like her?
Rocky: Sure, I like her.
Paulie: What's the attraction?
Rocky: I dunno... she fills gaps.
Paulie: What's 'gaps'?
Rocky: I dunno, she's got gaps, I got gaps, together we fill gaps.
In Tyger Tyger there are three very different guys, all with as many guts and gaps as I could manage to write into them:
Mr. Wylltson, gentle, literary man, who loves his wife Aileen, a wild Irish girl. Finn, a scrappy street fighter who has no words to wrap around his feelings for Teagan. And Aiden, who is only five, but is trying very hard to grow into a man.
Each one of them is as absolutely male as I can make them, and therefore completely loveable.
I must admit that the kind of book that I like best has a romance between two strong characters, equally matched but delightfully different from one another.
Characters who have gaps. Who need each other.
Tyger Tyger is that kind of book.
I loved each and every one of Hamilton's male characters, so it was great to hear her thoughts and feelings behind writing them!
Be sure to check out my review of TYGER TYGER here!
ALSO, to celebrate the novel's release, Kersten is giving away a Kindle e-reader! Check out the details here on the Teen Book Scene site and don't forget to collect the letter R from this post... you'll need it to enter!