1. Lily
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    Lily Member

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    Male characters vs. Female characters

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Lily, Oct 25, 2007.

    Just something I've noticed about myself, I have a hard time getting into my male characters' heads. I believe this is due to the fact that I'm a girl. How do you overcome this and become equal on both parts? My female characters are always a lot more fully developed and have more personality (it seems) then their male counterparts.
    AND I usually have less female characters (though they are typically stronger characters) then male characters in my stories.
    Help me understand the male psyche so I can become a better writer for my males! :)
     
  2. Weaselword
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    Weaselword Banned

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    ....
     
  3. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    I'm a girl, and I have never had problem doing with any one of them. Many stories I write have male as main characters, and the only few things you need to know if you're writing about a male character is: he's egoistic. He doesn't like to be told he cannot handle things. He tries to do everything and when he's upset he likes to be told you're with him. He's more sexually active, and like Weasel said about women and beer. But your character could always be an exception, since not all men are like that. I only remember the cultural values of men in my setting, so that some relation could be derived. A male in Iraq wouldn't go walking in the streets wearing his swimsuit. You wouldn't see a man gossiping (normally) in Asia. You need to think of the fact that being a man is just the same - just you don't do crying, getting attentions, blushing etc. I guess it's easy for me because I condemn this girly stuff and am kind of not into these things. But let yourself explore your other side when you write this - NOT by following males but just thinking of what would i do if i were a man kind of thing.
     
  4. Funny Bunny
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    Funny Bunny Contributing Member

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    I'm the opposite. I'm a female and cant seem to get into female parts. I was raised by males in an all male household and took jobs dominated by males. If I am stuck in a female conversation or "world" for any length of time, I go nuts and want to escape as fast as possible, I just have nothing to say about clothes, children, or love. I try to write them, but they end up a little masculine. In the book I'm writing I am trying to get into females.
     
  5. Lily
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    Lily Member

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    Haha! That's so interesting. I grew up with five brothers, so I can understand male humor, and that type of thing. I'm also married, and so I do understand a lot about men - like my husband, for example. But I guess it's hard for me to imagine being a man. I should probably try a story with a man as the main character.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If you write in third person, you show your character by his or her actions. These are the same actions you observe in the people around you.

    My suggestion is to be a people watcher, and be a listener. Observe the member of the opposite sex like Steve Irwin would observe a wild animal in its native habitat. There are still habitats you won't be able to observe, surely. A woman won't know firsthand that men don't, as a rule, chat in the men's rest room, and won't know firsthand how the conversation changes when there are no women in earshot - whether it becomes wink wink nudge nudge crude innuendo depends one the men present for the conversation. It may not be as lewd and disgusting as you imagine.

    But you can still get a pretty good idea of how the subspecies behaves by what you can see in the open herd.
     
  7. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    I've been brought up excessively as a female - all sisters, and mom, almost invisible Dad - female schooling, and to think I haven't met a new guy my age for 2 years now - but I still am able to do pretty good with men and women both. I wonder why.
     
  8. Skipdonahue
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    Skipdonahue Member

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    I tend to make my men very real, but my women squeaky, ultra feminine, and weak. I always, always, ALWAYS have to go back and tweak them. You're not alone!

    Don't try to get it right the first time. You can go back and make thhe men more real after you finish writing it.
     
  9. Funny Bunny
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    Actually the same happens to women, and people of other races, and like you say, it is not always crude. Men tend to harass each other a lot, make fun of each other and kid around. Men say things to each other that would hurt a woman if women spoke the same way (hey you, get your fat a** over here," would have a woman crying-- a guy would probably throw you the finger, and that would get a big laugh. (I had a lot of this in "the Steam Roller" story, not a lot of people "got it" though). It's funny, but my office abuts an area frequented by jawing work-men. (all men). They totally change what they are talking about when a woman, or boss-type comes through. I also knew about the men's bathroom rules. They are extremely involved, covering which urinal one can go to if another one is occupied and all sorts of things. Women seem to have less rules. Including being able to pass things under the toilet partition, and talk while using the potty. Even to the point of "recognizing shoes" and starting a conversation. "Hi Emily, I saw your feet and wanted to ask you if you are still going to the movies Friday night?"
     
  10. adamant
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    adamant Contributing Member Contributor

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    Whoa... guys would never do that. We have our privacy and respect that (keep away, no talking, no eye contact). I actually prefer to avoid urinals all together and go to a stall. Haha.
     
  11. EyezForYou
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    Rarely have I used a urinal. The majority of the times I find myself using the toilet, and locking the doors, just to take a piss.

    If you talk, people think you are gay.
     
  12. Skipdonahue
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    Skipdonahue Member

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    How about those guys that choose the urinal next to you out of 30 free urinals to your left or right. And then, to make matters worse, they groan and grunt when they piss.

    So gay :(

    Skip
     
  13. Domoviye
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    Domoviye Contributing Member

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    I have to make sure there is something blocking me from other people or I just can't go. At the least it has to be one of those little foot wide dividers. It threw me when I got to China, because talking while you go to the bathroom is expected. Sometime they don't even put up a wall for the actual stalls, because that would interfere with conversations.

    Anyways, the best way to improve writing about the opposite sex, is to listen to them, ask them questions if you know them well enough, and read books from their perspectives.
    Thats what I did to get an idea about women for my stories, and I believe it worked out well.
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Some of those generalizations about men are pure stereotype. Yes, those kinds of conversations do happen in some groups of men (and I've heard similarly raunchy conversations from women too!), but I wouldn't call it typical male behavior. The circles I run with tend to quiet conversation, clean jokes, discussions about TV shows and movies, and are likely to give a cold stare to men who carry on like the ones you describe.

    I've sat down and talked at the bar with men from other circles too. Guys who argue sports endlessly, and with good natured insults - about their poor choice of teams or players. I've sat down with war veterans who prefer to talk about shooting pool than their war experiences - until you get to know them, and if you're very lucky, you might get to her the occasional story, spoken in a low quiet voice. One in particular got to know my son well enough that he let my son read a few pages of his memoirs. There are men who light up when they talk about their new nephews and nieces.
     
  15. Aether
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    Aether Member

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    I shall help!

    Well, I'm a guy and I don't seem to have a problem with my characters, I guess I'm just perfect! (halo)
    Nah! Just kidding, I ask my best friend a lot of questions about everything (she's a girl) like, why girls in high school always go to the toilet together. I always thought it was a bit lesbiany and usually thought about it all through the rest of class. (typical guy thoughts, take note)
    Seriously, guys pretty much think about sex, girls, alcohol and games. Well that's what my bunch think about. Anyway, try to find a person who fits the type of character and base it off them, tweak it a bit and just go nuts.

    And as a record, I have no problem just whipping it out in the men's room, that's what it's there for. Seriously, you should only try to hide your shame (or glory) from little kids or girls, they'd probably get a bit of a scare. And my friends and I usually have some sort of wierd competition in the toilets. WIERD!

    But, yeah. Do the whole artist approach and ask some girl to get naked and sit on a table for you (just kidding)
    Just go home with them and install cameras into every crevice of the house... (just kidding again)

    Try to think about usual reactions, men and women are 90% the same all you have to do is grasp the last 10% and you're set.
     
  16. EyezForYou
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    EyezForYou Active Member

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    Women and men are 90% same?

    I beg to differ Aether.

    More like 10.0
     
  17. EyezForYou
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    EyezForYou Active Member

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    Yeah?

    I had one guy lean over and look down.
     
  18. adamant
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    adamant Contributing Member Contributor

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    In that situation, you can truly test your aim.
     
  19. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    :eek:

    That's just...strange, and creepy...
     
  20. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Let's try to keep the thread on target, regardless of whether the stream is, please.
     
  21. Heather Louise
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    Heather Louise Contributing Member Contributor

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    Lily, i tend to have the same problem as you aswell. my female charectors always have more depth and pizaz to them than the males do. i tend to sort of have a sterio-typical male, which aint too good. the best you can do is just keep working on them. remember, just with females, there is no sterio-type male. yu can make them however you want to be if you want. good luck with it. :)
    Heather
     
  22. Lily
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    Lily Member

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    I don't think my males are stereo-typical. They are all different, depending on who they are. They just don't get much deeper then the conversations they are in. There's not really any underlying truth to them. My main character's Father, for example, is a stressed out ruler who is good natured etc. - but I can never seem to bring out his inner qualities - what he's really thinking. I do suggest it in some of his actions, but it's never clear. Maybe that's how it should be though, some people are simply quiet, and work well behind the scenes. That's just not what I had originally planned out for this character, and I don't know how to make him be a more aggressive man. (Maybe I could make that side of him come out later, or something.)
     
  23. Heather Louise
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    Heather Louise Contributing Member Contributor

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    ermm, i;m not too sure wat you could do to help this i'm afraid. maybe just forced him to be more aggresive. don't worry if it sounds unrealistic at the moment, work on later. but for now get him to be angry or something. after all, he is your charector, there to do whatever you want with. work on making it sound better as you get more comfertable with having him aggressive i think. hope this helps.
    Heather
     
  24. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    You might want to compare then. If he were not a he i.e. a mother, what differences would be in your expression? Maybe you could write comparative scenes to see if you find something different. Is there an affect on the way you write? Or is it just in your head? If something is different, then what? Why? And how can you change it?
     
  25. Funny Bunny
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    Okay. So what about grocery shopping. Some guys hate it. They run into the store, grab the same things they always eat without thinking, then check out. Women tend to read the backs of packages. When shopping for clothing, I think it is about 50/50 whether men just grab something and leave. Some men are really in to clothes and others are not. In my case (a woman) I sometimes grab and go if it is a brand I normally get. Then if men are interested in a hobby or something, they spend way too much time jawing about it and acquiring new stuff. Main hobbies around here seem to be Hunting, and classic cars, a lot of men out here seem to fancy themselves "rock musicians" too, yeah, stereotypes, I know. You dont dare tell them they have no talent. I think most men have a much longer fuse than women, but once you actually say the thing they fear the most, they hate you forever. And of course all life stops when "the game" comes on.
     

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