1. shakespear57
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    shakespear57 Member

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    Woman writing from a man's point of view?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by shakespear57, Feb 3, 2012.

    I'm planning a story about (and from the third person view of) a man named Simon Fitzpatrick, but I don't know exactly how to go about it, without making him sound feminine, as I am more used to writing from a females point of view (and as I am one myself, I'm not sure how to make sure that my writing doesn't reflect it??
     
  2. krtr
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    krtr Member

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    I'm female as well and I really enjoy writing from a male's perspective. I think as long as you're aware of trying not to make him feminine that you're on the right track. He's a man, yes, but he's also just a person. His emotions will still be fundamentally the same internally, but externally they will be displayed in a different way. He probably won't be as open as a typical female character is simply because he's male.

    He's a boy, not an alien. :) You'll be ok. Just write him. If he starts going a bit nancy, you can always correct it as you go or later on in revision.
     
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  3. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    I have written short pieces where a character is a He and I am a SHE.
    I just go with the flow, I don't worry about anything, certainly not about wether he sounds very feminine or not. Many great men are in touch with their feminin side and would definetely have no trouble whatosever in reading male characters written by women.
    Just follow your instinct.
     
  4. Piankhy
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    Piankhy Member

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    I think you could get away with it, no matter how you describe the character. There are billions of people on this earth, no one has the same personality. Having said that, there are plenty of men who may think the same way you do, despite you being a woman. For a lol example, can you picture a squad of infantrymen in Afghanistan rocking out to a Taylor Swift song before going out on a mission? I mean singing along and everything? Lol, there are all shades of people out there. Write the character as you want them to be.

    But I do have one question. What type of person did you want Simon to be? Like what's his profession or role in the story?
     
  5. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    The first story I ever wrote (fanfic for a video game I was obsessed with twelve years ago) was told from a male POV. I have only written two stories that aren't told from a male POV (a 45k novella in 2005 and then a 4k short story in 2009) in this time - and I am female. In fact, I'm a complete girly-girl. :p But I find that writing about female protagonists fails to hold my interest.


    I think how you approach it should not depend on the character's gender, but on the type of story/character you are trying to portray. Eg: if you're going for a confident, independent character (male or otherwise) then I would personally see more straight-forward writing as more appropriate. I don't mean simple, but that there would be less time spent beating around the bush. I also see it as more certain - less "probably", "might" and "maybe"; more "will", "yes" and "no".
     
  6. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    You may want to do some reading. You might want to read a biography or two of men who have traits similar to the character you have in mind. You might also want to read a novel or two written by women with a male POV to see how they are portrayed. An excellent recent example is Helen Simonson's "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand". I'm guessing that a woman writing from a man's perspective will likely have more of a tendency to make him too stereotypically masuline than too feminine. Overcompensation, you see. Simonson created a wonderfully believable (and likable) character in Earnest Pettigrew.

    Good luck.
     
  7. jc.
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    jc. Contributing Member

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    I grew up around guys and have a lot of guyfriends, and what I've noticed is they think differently.

    The average guy doesn't think too much or over-analyze. Instead of dwelling on a problem they try to solve it. They don't like to sit around and mope; most guys will brood though and get really pissy and kind of aggressive if you try to coddle them. And they tend to anger instead of sadden.

    Also, guys don't read too much in between the lines... though as a chick you've probably already noticed this LOL. I'm always like, "gosh my husband is such an idiot." (Not really but every now and then.)

    Hope this helps. Good luck. :)
     
  8. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am a girl too and I enjoy writin from a male pov too. When you make him act and especially REACT to things around him, think about if a man would really have done that or if you're interfering too much with your female writer-pov. You have to step out of yourself and all your feminine ways of acting, especially the things that are typical for women, and put yourself in his head. it will probably take a couple of rewritings to get it right, but it's really fun:) I think I actually write better from a male pov than a female. I find it easier.
     
  9. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Most people, both men and women, have a mix of attributes. Think of personality attributes as slider switches, with "male" at one extreme and "female" at the other. Most of us have our slider switches set somewhere between the two extremes, and probably have at least a couple of slider switches set on the half of the other gender (regardless of sexual orientation).

    I remember my first year of high school, we were in class one day and our teacher asked us to name some desirable attributes for a man. Then he asked us to name some desirable attributes for a woman. He wrote them on the board as we listed them. At the end of the exercise, most of the attibutes for the ideal man were those that in a traditional sense might have been considered womanly (e.g. compassion, sensitivity) and most of those listed for the ideal woman were ones that would have been considered manly (e.g. decisive, strong-willed). And this was from a group of 14-year-old boys. As I said before, I think the most important thing is to NOT think in terms of stereotypes.

    BTW, I have written on more than one occasion from the POV of a woman as a major character. I actually think that all writers should try it as a way to stretch themselves.
     
  10. shakespear57
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    shakespear57 Member

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    He's an advertising photographer, really rich and everyone thinks he's hot
     
  11. louis1
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    louis1 Contributing Member

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    about that last name there's a character on a disney show named exactly like that ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maddie_Fitzpatrick ) but unless you write for kids, i don't thing it matter, i just wanted to say cause that's the first thing i thought about.
    Make sure he doesn't like to expose his emotions to everyone, most man don't do that.
    if he's not gay and not married to the absolute love of his life. he probably thinks about cheating a lot, even more if he's rich and everyone think he's hot.
    But if he's a photographer, something tells me he must have a sensitive side, unless he a photographer for a porn agency or something, which i doubt if he's rich.
     
  12. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    THIS ^^

    I'm writing from my male protagonist's POV, and I find he just kinda does all this stuff naturally, without me really having to overthink him. He does brood, gets angry when things don't go his way, but he always tries to DO something about it. If he can't solve the problem, he occupies himself in doing stuff to forget it. For instance, when he's pissed off that his superiors have overruled him, he gets on with carrying out their orders, then goes out and does some archery to blow off steam.

    He's not much for small talk. When his wife tries to engage him in mindless chat, he just switches off and gives her one word answers. But when he's arguing with another guy he's all about the talkng. I honestly don't know where he came from as he's not quite like any guy I know, but he's all there, fully formed. I just create the situations and he tells me how he reacts to them.
     
  13. shakespear57
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    shakespear57 Member

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    I've never heard of Maddie Fitzpatrick, but I'm not writing for kids anyway so I guess it doesn't matter :)
    And he doesn't expose many emotions, really. He's one of those people who are happy with being rich, loves his job, and actually cares about more than money. He doesn't have a steady girlfriend, but he could date anyone he wanted to. He's definately not gay, and yeah, he's not married. If he gets sick of a girl he dumps her, but he's not likely to cheat. He's a really nice-natured bloke and likes golf. He's not a photographer for a porn agency, he's a respected and highly-sought-after professional for modelling agencies and does a lot of advertising work (i.e. things like clothing store advertisement shoots and also things like watch and perfume brand advertising). I guess he has a sensitive side, not exactly on public display but not out of it either. He is writing something (a novel or a play I'm not sure yet), which he keeps secret.

    Anything else you'd like to know about him ?? :)
    Happy to oblige.
     
  14. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    Oh...dear. My first thought was that this might just be one of those insufferably perfect characters that you just want to kick in the nuts repeatedly by page 5.

    For the love of god, PLEASE give him a flaw, quick, before you make him totally unlikeable.
     
  15. Hysteria1987
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    Hysteria1987 Member

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    I've noticed these differences myself, and more along the same line. I've heard it said that girls would rather talk about a problem with other people, and to know that people are listening and supporting, whereas guys prefer to leap straight in to problem solving. I've seen girls have problems, and guys offer a solution, which to me (perhaps because I'm a guy, perhaps because of upbringing, who can say) seems to be a natural response.

    Once I was talking to an American girl over the Internet, who was having a few problems. This particular time, instead of offering a solution, I decided to try and reach her as I thought a girl might. I told her things like that I had heard what she was saying, and things that implied I empathized with her situation. It felt a bit unnatural to me, I didn't feel like I was really helping her, but I felt from her response that she got more out of it than previous times when I came up with solutions.

    I wouldn't agree that we don't think about these things though =P I for one spend quite a bit of time thinking of solutions to whatever problems come my way, I usually just prefer to keep it all to myself. There seems to be a bit of a difference in the level and nature of communication between the genders.

    A few of my main characters are girls, and I'm a male writer. When writing, I try to not see the differences between girls and guys too much, only where absolutely necessary, though given that survival is the main theme there's not much room for social niceties and the like. My lead girl is inventive, grumpy, fiery and something of a loose cannon, who will eventually be consumed by addiction, then crippling guilt- these are traits and such that are common to both genders.
     
  16. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    Hmmm....I am not sure about this. I think a lot men are actually better at showing and ahandling emotions better then women.
    Men rationalise better then women because they do not have that panick button to press like women do.
    Many men are in touch with their feelings and are I find are emotional and the same time under control.
    Women because of their metabolism then to over emotional if you like and tend to by that lose all rationality of what is going on around them.
    Men in that sense are better with emotions then women that is why one may think they don't show feeling, it is because they are natural at controlling then women.
     
  17. shakespear57
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    shakespear57 Member

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    It's okay he does have flaws !!!! He gets stressed, and however much he tries to hide it it still shows through. He is in fact searching for the one woman he can spend the rest of his life with because he's over thirty by now and wanting to settle down.
    IDEA! Should he be the father of an illegitemate child, which threatens to ruin his career?

    Oh no does this sound really cliche?????? !!!! Please no!
     
  18. shakespear57
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    shakespear57 Member

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    what other major flaws can he have to make him a more beliveable character??????????????????????????????????
     
  19. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    Honest answer? At the moment: yes. But it's something you can fix.


    These don't really sound like flaws IMO:

    • everyone gets stressed. It's something that can't be helped.
    • searching for a girlfriend/wife is not a flaw - it's more of a challenge. However, a character flaw can affect how much he struggles with finding someone to settle down with. Eg: being clingy, possessive and dependent could be flaws that would relate to this. As could being far too stubborn, quick to lose his temper and unwilling to compromise.
     
  20. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The average guy probably doesn't exist. Beware of stereotypes. Observe real individuals instead. My experience is that the differences among individuals is far greater than any real difference between the genders. Yes, there are social norms. They vary from culture to culture, though, and very few people truly conform to all social patterns.

    One of the expectations is that women are more inclined to wrap their attention around understanding the problem in all its dimensions, whereas men are goal oriented to find the fastest way to change a situation perceived as a problem. This is mostly social, and as more women are in positions of power in business, there is a corresponding shift in focus toward fast solutions and away from exploring the current state of the situation.

    As for the "guys don't read between the lines", that's just a gender-reversed version of the "airhead chicks" stereotype.
     
  21. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    A flaw is not something you just assign a character, it has to grow with him naturally. It has to be plausible. If you get to know him well enough you'll find his flaws too. And yes, the flaws you mentioned doesn't sound like flaws.
     
  22. louis1
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    yeah well that's what i meant, men don't go crying in front of people even if they've just been broken inside. they can keep it for later.
     
  23. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Don't write stereotypes. Write characters, by observing the range of human (or male) behavior.

    Writing from a stereotype guarantees a flat, uninteresting character.
     
  24. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    Well, i've found it to be pretty true of MOST men I have had relationships with. They listen to what you say but are absolutely clueless about what you DON'T say (even though the clues are there practically in neon). Then when you explain what the hell they were supposed to have realised (and what any girlfriend would have known in an instant) they just say 'well why didn't you say that in the first place??' and whine that women say one thing and mean another.

    That's what we mean by not reading between the lines. Maybe some men do, but if so I wish I could find one (who isn't gay)
     
  25. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm a guy and one of my main recurring characters is female. Your character is a person, who happens to be male. Write him as such.
     

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