Today I just had a conversation with a friend of mine who had to read a book written about a man in the 1930s in a circus. My friend told me the book was terrible for two reasons:
#1= The large part of the book was about a pshyco being cruel to an elephant, and the writer got so lazy at the end about two supporting characters that she just kills them off by flinging them off a bridge.
#2= She's writing from the POV of a man and apparently, she wrote his love/sex life the complete wrong way. She obviously doesn't know what it's like to be a man.
Potential sexisim aside, I'm intriuged with #2. The friend has a good point. You'd have to be a masterful writer of first-person to convincingly convey the feelings of a MC that's of the opposite sex. For example, I'm a guy so for me to write about a girl, I'd have to be pretty damn smart in order to convincingly write about how she'd feel to another man, and how she'd experience child labor, or how she feels when she first comes home with her beautiful baby all wrapped up in a warm blanket and snugged in her arms.
Speaking of child labor, this reminds me of a book I once read where a male author had his female protagonist describe childbirth as easy, gentle, and painless. Now, I'm, again, a dude, so correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't childbirth hurt like heck? If I wanted to write about her in labor, I think I'd have to either skip the entire scene or have a friend who's also a mother write it. There's no way I'll ever be able to properly protray it. It's about intimacy, it's something that's so personal that no author will be able to grasp it unless they themselves experience it.
Basically, I've just learned that when I write in the first person POV, there are certian aspects I will NEVER, EVER know. It's possible to write from the POV of a person who is blind or deaf or in a wheelchair, or hungry because you can actually go out and see what it's like. (I'm half-blind and deaf myself, so that's two things off the list.)
However, describing what it's like to give birth, that's only for the women, and describing what it's like to have a (ahem), that's only for a guy.
Funny how one learns about writing when they're not activley searching for it. XD
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