1. PastPresentNFuture
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    PastPresentNFuture New Member

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    Male Characters vs. Female Characters

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by PastPresentNFuture, Jul 30, 2011.

    The novel I'm working on consists entirely of first person POVs. The POV characters are half male, and half female. So I wonder if there is a difference in the ways the males, and females think and portray their sorroundings.

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  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There are numerous threads on this already.

    I believe individuals exhibit broader variations from one to the next than any gender-centric variations. Focus on observing individuals in developing your characterizations. Note gender, but don't give it undue weight.
  3. PastPresentNFuture
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    PastPresentNFuture New Member

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    I see, thank you :)
  4. flipflop
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    flipflop New Member

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    Read Men are from Mars women are from Venus by john gray.
    Although it is a self help book on relationships it does provide very valid insight into the differences between men and women and there reactions to stress and stressful situations. (Any novel that doesn't have stressful situations in it probably won't do so well) Its worth a read i believe.
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Sorry, but I think John Gray's book does nothing but promote and legitimize a shallow and outdated stereotype. My recommendation is to stay well away from it.
  6. teacherayala
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    teacherayala New Member

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    I realize that you're writing fantasy and not crime fiction, but I found it interesting to know that there are, indeed, some differences sociologically between the motives/methods by which men and women commit crime. I also saw a recent BBC documentary on meth users in Fresno, and the woman working from the major rehab clinic who said that women tend to get involved in drugs/meth using due to a relationship, and it's usually those same relationships (usually dysfunctional) that trap them back into using again. On that level, there's differences.

    But, there's no blanket "men are like this" and "women are like that" mold. Myers-Briggs tests will show that there's a slight tendency toward certain personality types between men and women, but really men and women are speckled across the board when it comes to personality types. Women can be logically-aligned, introverted thinkers and less emotional. Men can be very emotional and socially outgoing. As long as your character's motivations and drives make sense, then go with it. Just be careful of not falling into a particular mold and spread your personality characteristics around.
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Just remember that a statistical difference, whether it is due to socialization or real biological factors, only applies to aggregate populations. You should be extremely wary about applying it to individuals.

    Gray made that mistake. Instead of saying, women are more likely to think in these terms, and men in these different terms, he said women think this amd men think that, and that is why they cannot communicate.

    Balderdash. Odious flup. Or whatever way you want to refer to steaming piles of male bovine excrememt.
  8. VM80
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    VM80 New Member Contributor

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    Ha love it Cogito.

    I think this and other such books always want to focus on the 'differences' (real or imagined), by painting every man with one brush, and every woman with another.
    Reality is not like that. Individualism is what should be focused on and celebrated.
  9. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I agree with Cog on this. Focus on how the individual's personality and experiences would cause them to think, not on their gender. Otherwise, the reader will see straight through it and think "Steaming pile of bullcrap" in neon red lights even if you don't consider yourself to be a sexist person. Especially if the woman is always timid and needy and the man is always assertive and dominant (or if there's an implication that every single woman on the face of the Earth will drop her independence at the drop of the hat upon meeting the "right guy" and that all normal women want a house full of kids or else she's a freak of nature, etc.). This causes me to put books down.

    Within my group of fantasy questmates, it's actually a girl (Tailey) who's the logical, detached, calculating one while her brother is the one who's warmer but often needs to be looked after. Defy stereotypes, but not in such a blanket-statement way that it tries too hard. Just focus on each individual.
  10. WriterDude
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    WriterDude New Member Contributor

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    Men think differently than other men, women think differently than other women. Simple as that.
  11. Domino
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    Domino Member

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    That's because you're a man. A woman wouldn't think that. :)p)

    I agree with the other posters. Try not to focus too much on your characters' genders as their reasons for thinking/behaving the way they do and more on their personalities, backgrounds, motivations etc.

    Your avatar is beautiful by the way.
  12. VM80
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    VM80 New Member Contributor

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    Yes of course, but I think always is the key word here. If someone wants to write or include those kind of characters, that should be fine too.

    It wouldn't make me put down a book, because I'm sure those character types exist. Now if all characters came from the same cookie-cutter, of course that's another story.

    That's why I think it's individuality that should count.
  13. Ice Queen
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    Ice Queen New Member

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    Yes. Having read a similar type of book called: Why men want sex and women need love' - By Allan and Barbera Pease... Well I gave up halfway through because I saw that they were being far too general. I mean they had a lot of negative things to say about men (even though a man helped write it). For thor's sake! They seemed to portray men as so innatentive towards feelings and suchlike; and women as so clingy and vapid. Eugh.

    In any case. Gender really doesn't matter. I behave somewhat like a man and my man behaves somewhat like a woman. We also behave like our own genders as you might expect...

    I think it was Virginia Woolf who said that no person is entirely male or entirely female. If you've read 'Orlando', you'll know what I mean.
  14. Trilby
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    Trilby Senior Member Contributor

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    Male or female - we are all individuals, with our own private, and possibly unique thoughts.

    Get to know each of your characters separately and tell each story to fit that particular character.
  15. VM80
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    VM80 New Member Contributor

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    The title alone is enough to tell me this is not my kinda read...
  16. g_man526
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    g_man526 Member

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    Hello folks, name's Gman (like from the Half-Life series, and in my opinion the most intriguing videogame character yet created). I've been writing on and off for around a decade, and have as yet only finished one story (and for that matter I was only fourteen and it was such a copout ending). For most of my writing "life" I've been a science fiction and fantasy writer, although last year I began to dabble in more realistic fiction, which is unfortunately slow going. I'm currently starting another sci-fi story, but that is not to say I've given up on my realistic fiction ideas...I'll just finish them later, or something.

    Anywho, why have I come to bother the creative writers? And why have I "necro'd" this thread? Second answer first: I don't like to create unnecessary forum space, and as the second post points out, there are plenty of threads about writing for the different sexes. My question however is a smidge different though (and here's the answer to that first question): for the first time ever, I'm going to try to write a story from the point of view of a female character. Granted I've entertained this idea before with one of my realistic fiction stories (I was going to switch between a male MC and a female MC...y'know I might just weigh that option again some time), but what brought it about this time was wanting to write a work that would contain a twist on the damsel in distress cliche, namely by making the damsel be a guy.

    I'm not going to simply repeat the question in the OP. My question is not necessarily how to write from the female perspective (bringing up the above questions about real and imagined gender differences), but how to do so such that my main reader complaints are not that I wrote a male MC with girl parts? Like what sort of ideas and things ought I be sensitive to? I've only written about boys and men up until now, so I really know nothing about what I'm stepping into here.
  17. suddenly BANSHEES
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    suddenly BANSHEES New Member

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    A male damsel with a female hero? I like where this is going. I like it a lot.

    I wouldn't worry about making her too masculine - in fact, tomboyish characters are pretty cool, if you ask me. As people have been saying to the last OP, we're all individuals, so there's no set "male mindset" or "female mindset", unless you're writing about boring old stereotypes.
  18. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt New Member

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    Interesting thread. Love your strong opinion Cog.

    Question - Some books definately have a stronger appeal to women and some to men, others seem to appeal to both. Do you think that is writing style, content, topic...? What can an author do to help their book be more appealing to both?
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