I've written about 85 pages for THE FAKE MCCOY. They are not consecutive and most of them need more revisions, of course, but I'm pretty pleased with my progress. When I first started, I wasn't sure whether I could pull off the whole first-person male protaganist thing. I'm not done, so it is still yet to be seen. But, so far, I'm getting really positive responses from everyone who is reading.

My husband is my first reader. He tells me when I'm not being guyish enough or when parts of a scene start to drag. Then my coworker, Joyce, is my second reader. She is one of those super-supportive non-critical readers who makes me feel like the best writer EVER, but then she does often have some type of insight that helps me out.

Next I post it on the class message board and get up to ten short critiques from my classmates (the number varies depending on how many are in the groove in a given week). And finally, get feedback from my instructor.

For the first six weeks or so, a lot of the feedback from my classmates was along the lines of, "I am so impressed that you - a woman - can write such a realistic teen male!"

I was grateful for the kudos. Really. I never look a cliche in the mouth. But I did start getting a complex over it. Is it only good because I'm a woman? Or is it good because it's good? Will everyone ignore the story itself because they're too busy being shocked that a woman wrote it?

But gradually, the positive points they've been bringing up don't have anything to do with my gender. Now it's about my dialogue, characterization, and pacing. So, I am feeling much more confident!

When people ask me how I can possibly write a boy, I don't know what to say. I don't think I can write any old boy, actually. I can write THIS boy.

The thought of trying this again with another male POV character is even more intimidating than when I was first pondering ideas for this story. I look forward to writing a girl again, but I'm having a lot of fun writing Seth.