Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary with a trip to the movies and a bite to eat. Not very exciting for most people I realise, but certainly a welcome break from the children and some quality alone-time for us. Unsurprisingly the cinema was packed with people (mainly adults) anxious to see the final installment of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 2).
Now I really enjoyed the Harry Potter book series, but it's been a while since I read them so my memory is a bit sketchy when it comes to the finer details, although I could quite readily give you a broad plot overview. During the course of a pre-movie discussion I happened to mention this to my husband. He responded by listing off a series of events from the book, few of which I could recall with any clarity.
This got me thinking about the difference between boys and girls and what makes books memorable for them. As far as Harry Potter is concerned, it's certainly the relationship between the characters that made the books most memorable for me. While I'm unable to recall battle and horcrux details, I am able to vividly remember things such as who died, how other characters reacted to their death, and most significantly how their deaths made me feel. On the other hand it's the battles, unusual creatures, and action scenes that stuck in the memory of my better half.
So far I've been unable to find any research or anecdotal evidence to suggest that this is a common trend, but recollection of conversations I've had with the children in my class over the years suggests that I might be on to something. While it probably seems quite obvious and a mere matter of common-sense to others, the significance of this idea is monumental for my personal writing goals.
If I'm to achieve my goal of writing stories specifically targeted at boys - ones that will hook them and keep them engaged until the final word - then I need to invest as much time in creating interesting scenarios, gadgets, and action packed scenes as I have done in the deep development of my characters. And while this is something I hope I'd do regardless of the gender of my audience, it's certainly worth being conscious of during the writing process to ensure that I hit the bulls-eye when it comes to meeting the precise needs and expectations of my intended audience.