1. carsun1000
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    carsun1000 Active Member

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    Me: Male writer, Main Character a woman: issues and concerns?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by carsun1000, Sep 12, 2011.

    Hello,


    I am currently working on a Female Senator sent to Iraq to investigave the death of a soldier where she will uncover all kinds of coverups. I don't have a problem with the writing of the story, the dialogues or the actions (bunch of it!). My main problem is I am not so sure I can tranfer the right feeling or emotions to this character as a male writer. Is there any way to get around this and still be fair to my female MC. More importantly, I am writing her in the first person while everyone else is in the third person. Will my sexual orientation (Straight male) be a problem? Hints anyone before I get too far? I am in the early chapters BTW.
     
  2. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    ignore the man/woman issue and approach this character as any human being. put yourself in her clothes and try to imagine what she is feeling and how she will react to things that happen without the attitude that because she's a woman she must react in a certain way. I don't think it must be a problem you being a guy in order to write a female character, but you must be a little sensitive as a writer, maybe even more than If you would have been writing about a guy.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it can be a major problem, unless you're old enough to have known enough women well enough, and specifically high-achieving ones such as your character, to be able to get inside her head and write 'as her' believably... women readers will know immediately if you're faking it and not making it!
     
  4. Quezacotl
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    Quezacotl Contributing Member

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    Character first, gender second.
    Add to her your experiences to flesh her out as a character, to make her character come alive. You sexual orientation may have influence on the story you write, though that is true for everyone.


    A qualm of mine: Why would a Senator be sent, of all people, to investigate a soldier's death in Iraq?
     
  5. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    I say, 'get too far' and see if you can actually do it... that's the only way to find out.

    I create female characters using mostly the observations I have made over the years in real life, and observations from movies, TV series, and even good romance novels.
     
  6. carsun1000
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    carsun1000 Active Member

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    She is sent to iraq as the member of a congressional committee. is that not plausible?
     
  7. carsun1000
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    carsun1000 Active Member

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    My mood will be a little dampened by this. i really would be pissed at myself if i can't finish this because I can't think like a woman. I feel like i have a great story to pen and i am not good with co-authors (never used one actually). I have been around women for at least the past twenty five years of my life. i will be damn if by now I can figure out a thing or two about them (lieing to myself lol!!!)
     
  8. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Write your character as you see her. Being a woman, I know that there are no two women who will act/react the same way to the same things. And women (like other people ;)) can contradict directly the way one thinks they will act/react. Personally, I can deal with bloody messes without any emotion - and fall apart at "adopt a pet" advertisements. Try to write her like a woman and you'll fail. Try to write her as a human being and you'll succeed.
     
  9. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Don't worry. People are individuals, so I don't believe there is a categoric 'think like a woman' v 'think like a man'.
    Yet basic emotions can cross all boundaries.

    Write her as you like.
     
  10. Raki
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    Raki Contributing Member

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    Hmm...just make her decide opposite of any decision you'd make...kidding. Honestly though, women tend to be more emotional than men, and letting said emotions drive their decision-making process. But that's certainly not true for all women. Some are as rough and tough as the guys, some even pretend to be guys, as some guys pretend to be girls, and some will cry at every little injustice in the world whether it's starving children or dirty dishes. The same can be said about men, which I don't know if it means we are the same (definitely not if you look at the anatomy and take the hormones into account), but it does mean we aren't so different. We're humans. Like snowflakes, each individual is unique, just like everyone else.
     
  11. carsun1000
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    carsun1000 Active Member

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    good insights from everyone and I am taking it all under advisement !!! Thank you all for your input
     
  12. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    As a woman (for what it's worth), I don't see that there needs to be a problem. While there are differences between the male and female experience of life, _on average_, I don't see why a female character would necessarily need to be so different that you can't write one. My main concern would be over-correction - that you might have a good gut feel for what your character should do, and then start to doubt yourself and make her actions more "feminine". That's what I'd watch out for.

    And, yes, once you have a readable draft you may want to beg a few female friends to read it. But, again, I don't see that there will necessarily be any fundamental issue.

    ChickenFreak
     
  13. A J Jaafari
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    A J Jaafari Member

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    I think it's worth mentioning that a Senator is mostly in a man's world, and has to adapt to that in order to be respected by her colleagues. Furthermore, if she's investigating (and gaining the trust of) people in the military, she's going to have to be able to set aside any natural femininity she might have, because in that environment, it's just not respected.

    I'm speaking from what I've learned from talking to my sister, who spent 26 years in the Navy before recently retiring. In her private life, I find her a fascinating study in the dichotomy between a dutiful Christian wife and an assertive and competent officer. Sometimes I think I should just write a book about her because it's somehow seamless to her, rather than schizophrenic.

    And BTW, as a gay man, I don't think I have a better understanding of women than straight men do! Sometimes, yes, but other times I wonder if we're really from the same country! :)

    A J
     

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