1. Welsh_Biatch
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    Welsh_Biatch New Member

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    Male POV

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Welsh_Biatch, Nov 1, 2009.

    Hi. I am a female trying to write from a male's point of view, I understand this is a challenge and at the moment it is proving to be exactly that. I was wondering whether anyone had any tips that could help me make my character's point of view believable.

    Thanks =)
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Concentrate less on the gender, and more on the person. Gender stereotypes can blind you to the charactersitics that make individuals unique and engaging as characters.

    And, as always, observe. Peoplewatching is a hobby every writer should indulge in.
     
  3. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    Research.

    I understand your problem, as a female writer who often tries to write from a male perspective. I find really observing guys I know, listening to them, talking to them to see how they observe the world does help a lot in trying to craft a male character. It's no different than a man trying to write from a female pov, he has to understand how women tick. It's the same for us.

    Men and women aren't much different when it comes to the situations we find ourselves in, what makes us different is how we cope with those situations, process the information in our brains, and react to the situations.

    Take for example a man and a women. Each one has a friend who is in need of comforting due to a bad break up. The female friends will comfort each other, regale their own bad break stories, supply a pint of ice cream and some sappy chick flicks. They hug and give a shoulder to cry on. They listen while the friend rehashes every little detail and try to figure out what when wrong.

    The male friends will do things differently. The guy will try to lighten the mood for his upset friend, maybe bring him out for a beer and try to take his mind off the horrible woman who broke his heart. They give pep talks. Shoot hoops. Play video games. They do fun things that are active. They don't talk a lot about feelings, though they might a little over a beer. They generally don't hold each other while the friend cries and snots all over his friend.

    Women are more emotional externally. While men are more emotional internally. The male who is comforting his friend might be thinking how he doesn't like to see his friend this torn up, but he might not express it. He might internally feel for his friend, but his expressions of it to his friend are subtle, not overt like a woman's. He might pat his friend on the back and tell him there are plenty of other women out there, rather than embracing his friend in a long hug while he cries.

    But there are also externally expressive emotional men out there. They do behave more like women do, but maybe not to the extent a woman might. So it really depends on the type of man you are trying to characterize.

    As I said above, it is best to just try and observe men in their natural habitat. Sometimes this is difficult because men do behave differently around women rather than just in a group of men. Watching bromance movies does prove to be helpful, though they are usually comedic and a little extreme, so just be aware of that. Read some books written from the male perspective. Talk to guys you know about situations you are thinking about putting your character in and see how they would react to the hypothetical situation. But be aware that males tend to dislike thinking about hypothetical situations in general...and may become annoyed with you for even bringing it up...also a common male trait, something that is different from women.
     
  4. ManhattanMss
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    ManhattanMss Contributing Member

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    In terms of character-building and storytelling, qualities, features, and viewpoints that are related to gender are very often stereotypical cues that are usually incidental at best (and uninteresting at worst). That said, nothing is more jarring to my read than to discover that I've misunderstood the gender of the significant character through whose eyes I'm filtering the storyline. I simply must experience the character somehow. And gender is the easiest way for a reader to slip into that character's skin. To be born into the wrong fictional "body," as a reader, just doesn't work for me. Other than that, though, your male, female, or cross-gender character can possess any personality qualities that are relevant to the story you tell.

    Genre fiction (like romance and chick lit, e.g.) may require a different approach than writing what you might call literary fiction, which is what I enjoy reading myself. But, with that in mind, my feeling is that it's not gender that defines character qualities that are compelling, but the experiences your character endures. As a writer, speaking in a voice that comes from a different gender might be difficult if you don't simply accept that the most interesting experiences (and plausible reactions to those experiences) actually cross gender boundaries. Sometimes, in fact, the dramatic departure of those experiences from gender-related stereotypes actually is the story (e.g., AHAB'S WIFE by Sena Jeter Naslund).

    So, unless you're writing in a genre that requires some stereotypical patterning, my advice is to make sure your reader is in the right gender fictional body at the outset and then introduce any experience you like.
     
  5. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    You want to consider the kind of man he is. Is he the kind of guy that would notice a lady has big breasts?

    Is he the macho kind of guy?

    The real difference, I think, between males and females are the thoughts that go through our heads.

    Ask some guys, "What goes through your head when you see a hot chick?"
    You walk into a store, and the clerk has big breasts and a tight shirt. "What goes through your head?"

    Here is what I would think. For the first question, because I have changed a lot since I was a teen, I would think, "She's pretty," and wouldn't give it much thought beyond that.
    2nd question. "Seeking attention."

    Now when I was a teen: 1. "I wonder if I could get her number. I bet I could. I should try. What should I say?"
    2. Nice rack. I should get her number."

    Yeah, my teen brain was faulty to say the least.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if you're young and don't have a wide range of experience with men, on a close, personal basis, i'd strongly suggest you not try it, till you do... just people-watching and contact with male family members won't be enough, unless the character you're writing 'as' is based on someone you know well...

    other advice given above is worth considering, if you have the requisite experience...
     
  7. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    Maia is right. I should have said that in my response too. You have to be able to have the experience with a wide enough range of male interaction, unless you are basing on a close family member or friend you have known for a while.

    I was always one of those girls who was more comfortable with the guys than with girlfriends, so I neglected to mention that in my response. I've known many different types of guys, plus I've lived with one for the last ten years.

    The key I think to writing good characters is really blending the personality types, not so much stereotypes, but personalities. Some people have well defined personality types, like quiet and calm, or high strung and anxious, or insecure and comedic, or insecure and loner/antisocial...and the list goes on. You can also incorporate some things found in psychology, different types of disorders that are caused by their relative backgrounds and personality types.

    For me knowledge of psychology really helps come up with interesting characters. A good portion of psychological issues are basically bad habits that can be fixed through relationships and self-awareness, which is always an interesting aspect of the male psyche.

    Just watching random people out there on the street probably won't do much for you, unless you really listen in to conversations people around you are having. I find the best places to do this are busy coffee shops and quiet bars, and (surprisingly enough) activity places, like bowling, paintball, and video game stores (mostly the employees.) It might seem strange at first, the listening to people as they converse, and you might get caught the first few times you try it and cussed out. But after a while you get the hang of listening to people without looking like your listing to people, reading a magazine, looking in different directions, acting like you are shopping...but after a while you'll get the hang of it. I know I've heard some interesting conversations between people I probably never would have heard from people I know by doing this.
     
  8. Welsh_Biatch
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    Welsh_Biatch New Member

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    Thanks for all your responses; I have found each and every one helpful in entirely different ways, as to Maia’s response I am young but like Bluebell I too have felt more comfortable with guys than girls for most of my life, most of my friendships being with guys.
    Since joining this forum and reading your comments to my post I have read through the work I completed prior and have discovered that I’ve mainly based my character on his personality rather than the stereotype of a male, which I found pleasing. Another thing mentioned was using psychology as part of his personality; my character has ongoing psychological problems which I have used to my advantage when describing his personality.
    Your comments have encouraged me to continue with the male point of view, but I’m now realising that they aren’t as uncomplicated as they like to think =)
    Another thing I would like to ask is, is there a way to help make sentences flow with ease, I realise that this is something that comes naturally to a writer or with practise but I always feel like I’m not doing a good enough job with the way I word certain things, even now writing this comment feeling vulnerable as it’s a writers forum lol

    Thanks again for your help, Leah =)
     
  9. KP Williams
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    KP Williams Contributing Member

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    Who says a male HAS to act a certain way, or CAN'T think a certain way? Make the character how you want him. It really doesn't matter what the gender is. Why? Because there are guys who act like girls, vice-versa, and every possible permutation in between. You don't have to know males inside and out to make a good male character.

    Now, if you want to make a male who's supposed to act like a typical male, then that's another story.
     
  10. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Welsh_Biatch, here are two sorces that have helped me, and continue to help me write better sentences.

    The first is free because there is no longer a copyright on it.

    How to Write Clearly by Edwin Abbott Abbott
    http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/22600

    The second is all about style.

    Style: Basics in Clarity and Grace.

    You can probably pick up one of his books on style at your library. Also you can find used copies on amazon for cheap. Writers have called it a modern, more indepth verson of "The Elements of Style."
     
  11. n.alum
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    n.alum New Member

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    I would have to say that in order to simplify this problem is to simply ask him "in this situation. what would a guy do" Trying to find people around you that you are comfortable talking about writing is tough. No one in my family knows I write because I am so private. You can message men on this forum to gain and insight. And I am sure the links people have posted above are very helpful.
     
  12. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just don't forget about hormones...unless your male character is an eunuch.

    I believe that hormones play the biggest role in gender differences. It's not stereotyping when it's true.
     
  13. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    Welsh, as far as making sentences flow, that is actually something to worry about after you write the first draft. Once you have the whole thing written, then go back and go through it line by line for a full edit. This makes it easier to just slam out the whole first draft, getting your ideas onto the page. Worry about format when you edit. There are plenty of books and online guides to proper grammar and sentence syntax to help you once you get into the editing stage. Trust me, not all writers are super great at Grammar and Spelling. I read plenty of published books that I find little errors here and there, like a was where a were should be, or run on sentences, or fragments that should be complete (not for effect or in dialog.) And published books have already been through publishing house editors too!

    I know when I started writing I had this picture in my head of a writer sitting there struggling to craft each sentence to perfection the first time it was put on the page, however I really think that is more just what is portrayed in the movies and not how
    it is in reality.

    The main objective with the first draft is getting the idea, the plot, and the characters on the page. Every rewrite after that is to refine, correct, and polish. And don't worry about your responses here, we all make mistakes. Just read some of Cog's post...his typo rate has to be the highest on the site...lol...(just teasing Cog *smiles)

    And guys...well they aren't as uncomplicated as the general stereotypical idea of them is made out to be. In fact they are just as complicated as women are and have as many strange little habits and quarks as women do. I do think those strange little habits are something that make characters in books feel more real. It makes me think of the sex and the city episode where the girls are talking about their SSB's...secret single behavior. Carry stands in her kitchen and eats crackers and jelly while reading fashion magazines. I know my husband likes to pick at his face privately in the bathroom...secretly uses my tweezers to pick the crud out from under his finger nails...and compulsively he stirs his cup of coffee 8 times before putting to spoon down (not sure why, but I've counted it on many occasions and it's always 8 times.) It's these little things that make a person unique, strange, and interesting...at least to me.

    Psychological disorders are becoming more prevalent in the entertainment industry. Look at the show Monk, or even the book series and TV show Dexter...both of these men have a psychological disorder. As many people in real life that there are who have real disorders, it is only understandable that characters in fiction will reflect this.
     

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