1. The Degenerate
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    The Degenerate Active Member

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    Writing women.

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by The Degenerate, Jan 25, 2011.

    Alright, I'm probably just having a little bit of fun with this thread, but this is the first time I'm writing a story from the POV of a woman. So I ask you, ladies, what the heck do you think about all day? Your answers might even help me in more ways than one.
     
  2. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Depends what's going on in my life a the time.
    At this moment it is 07:40 am - I am siting up in bed, looking through these forums, thinking that I'd better get up, shower, make breakfast, put the washing -that I done last night on the line before I catch the bus to my sister's at Durham, we're going together for hairdressing appointments - then shopping together in Durham City (what should I get for tea tonight etc) I need to buy some more artificial flowers. These are the type of passing thoughts that go through my mind off and on throughout the day. At the moment I have a cousin that is terminally ill that crosses my mind a lot. Being a writer I am thinking quite a bit about a play that I am writing.
    I have a seven years old grandson - he and the amusing thing he comes out with pop in and out of my thoughts.
    Somehow, what I have just written being so mundane and typical, I don't see it as being of any benefit to you.
    Good luck!

    I admire how Willy Russel (being a man) in his play/film Shirley Valentine manages to get into the mind of a woman - he does it so believably well. Being a writer and a woman, I wish I had that ability to get inside the mind of a man.
     
  3. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Why are the kids so quiet? Why are they so bloody noisy? Where are the shoes? Where did you put your socks? Why can't my husband put his dirty clothes in the dirty washing why do they need to lie on the floor of our sons bedroom ? When is 7.30pm so I can have some peace ? Is it really too much to ask that I can use the loo without baby sitting on my knee, two children talking to me - and why on Earth does dog think now is time to lick my legs?

    Pay the bills? Where is the laundry? Time to write have deadlines - child stop turning my monitor off? Give me the mouse back. You've had attention. Where are your clothes I have seen way too many bottoms, cleaned up too much crap today I do not want to see your tinkle - no leave the tatties alone and if you must pee out the back door don't do it when a train is passing and people can see you.

    Yes your cute, but do you have to be cute and under my feet at the same time. I'm tired need a nap. Thoughts I have had by 8am in the morning :)
     
  4. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    "How do you write women so well?"

    "I think of a man, and then I take away reason and accountability."

    Jack Nicholson in As Good as It Gets.

    Not true...but funny!
     
  5. Headintheclouds
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    Headintheclouds Member

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    The way men and women think is probably more similar than you think. While we have different interets, this also varies from individual to individual and well as from gender to gender. Certainly, women may have different roles to men, which can affect what they think about, though this is not necessarily true. What you've still got to do is look as your character as an individual, not just lump her with the rest of her gender. She'll think about various things. Her responsibilities (children, if she has any, spouses, housework, work, ect), her interests (this largely depends on the individual, though if you want to stick to cliche she's probably only interested in fashion, make-up, shoes and dieting. Of course, most women do think about these things to a certain extent, but contrary to what people seem to think, it's not all we think about. If you really want her to be interesting, give her original interests like...witch burnings, aztec mythology, jazz music...anything like that), her dreams and goals, and her fantasies. Of course women do have some differences to men. Generally, we are supposed to be more emotional and nurturing (personally, I can't understand this), less logical, and also more likely to plan a future (you know, thinking about our wedding day, about children's names, about what kind of house we want, ect).

    Anyways, I hope that helped at least a little bit.:p
     
  6. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    What kind of woman? Who is this woman? I'm a guy but I have three novels where the main protagonist(if not the only POV covered) is an adult female. (It's the pre-adolescent females I can't write well to save my life. xD) So the question is, who is this female? Is she a doctor? A cop? A housewife? How many kids, if any? '

    Just figure out who she is as a person and stop seeing her as a "female protagonist." Start seeing her as a protagonist who happens to be female, among other things.
     
  7. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Amen. We are all human, right? And individuals.

    What I think about lately - work, looking for a new job, hoping I can go on holiday this summer (it's been too long...), family problems, wondering if I will 'meet someone nice' sometime soon, and probably more than anything, I think about my music - the songs I'm working on & recording at the moment.

    Not really gender-specific stuff, I don't think.

    Just a small snapshot of a busy mind...
     
  8. Heather Munn
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    Heather Munn Member

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    I'll try a different tack. I'm a woman who's been writing a teenage guy protagonist.

    What I had to really keep in mind was: competitiveness (and lots of it), sensitivity to put-downs (and always an anger reaction to them), and a fear of not appearing tough. (These obviously would not be true for EVERY boy. But were true for my character and were, I think, believable characteristics for him as a boy.)

    So, one thing you could do would be to flip that around. Remember that these things are not as important to many women. And if you have a woman to whom they are important, she is unusual and doesn't deal with the same societal expectations. Like, people aren't going to *mock* her if she doesn't appear tough.

    Take me, for instance. I go out weekly with a crew of people who get firewood together for our woodstoves. Normally the women just carry and stack and the men use the chainsaws and split the wood. But I enjoy splitting wood and can do it fine, and honestly I enjoy showing off that I can split wood. I get extra attention and praise because I'm a woman who can split wood. But I can't split the bigger logs, and I admit it, because it's practical to do so; if all we've got today is big logs, I give my maul to someone else and let him do it. But I've never heard any of the men on the crew actually say out loud what size or type of logs they couldn't split--even the teen boys, who are about at the same level as me. And if I were a guy, I probably wouldn't admit it either, nor would I be respected for being able to split--it'd be taken for granted. So I'd probably be insecure instead of proud of my ability! See, societal expectations play in a TON.

    So, you have to imagine yourself dealing with a whole different array of societal expectations. Subtract the ones you deal with as a guy, and add... well, I'll leave that question to the others. I need to sign off and get writing.
     
  9. The Degenerate
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    The Degenerate Active Member

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    This is a very informative thread, thanks for all of your replies so far.
     
  10. JetMasta
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    JetMasta Member

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    I am glad that someone made a thread like this :D
     
  11. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    it is interesting like with my shower thread lol I learned a lot and totally changed my shower scene :)
     
  12. JetMasta
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    JetMasta Member

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    Shower...thread...?

    o_O

    Do I even want to ask?

    :p
     
  13. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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  14. JetMasta
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    JetMasta Member

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    lol thats funny.
    XD I love the part where someone stole his pants.
    classic.
     
  15. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    lol I didn't do that but did take a couple of other ideas I wouldn't have considered without it and used them.
     
  16. Heather Munn
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    Heather Munn Member

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    I'll try a different tack. I'm a woman who's been writing a teenage guy protagonist.

    What I had to really keep in mind was: competitiveness (and lots of it), sensitivity to put-downs (and always an anger reaction to them), and a fear of not appearing tough. (These obviously would not be true for EVERY boy. But were true for my character and were, I think, believable characteristics for him as a boy.)

    So, one thing you could do would be to flip that around. Remember that these things are not as important to many women. And if you have a woman to whom they are important, she is unusual and doesn't deal with the same societal expectations. Like, people aren't going to *mock* her if she doesn't appear tough.

    Take me, for instance. I go out weekly with a crew of neighbors who get firewood together for our woodstoves. Normally the women just carry and stack and the men use the chainsaws and split the wood. (Actually most of the women stay home!) But I enjoy splitting wood and can do it fine, and honestly I enjoy showing off that I can split wood. I get extra attention and praise because I'm a woman who can split wood. But I can't split the bigger logs, and I admit it, because it's practical to do so; if all we've got today is big logs, I give my maul to someone else and let him do it. But I've never heard any of the men on the crew actually say out loud what size or type of logs they couldn't split--even the teen boys, who are about at the same level as me. And if I were a guy, I probably wouldn't admit it either, nor would I be respected for being able to split--it'd be taken for granted. So I'd probably be insecure instead of proud of my ability! See, societal expectations play in a TON.

    So, you have to imagine yourself dealing with a whole different array of societal expectations. Subtract the ones you deal with as a guy, and add... well, I'll leave that question to the others. I need to sign off and get writing.
     
  17. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Again I think it depends. Guys do 'mock' women sometimes if they are acting scared, whiny etc.

    I always wanted to be seen as being able to do things 'just like the boys', i.e. playing football, climbing trees higher than any of them - especially if they happened to be watching. ;)


    As for the competitiveness - women can be extremely competitive I think. That goes for in the work place and outside. I see more 'tough' women (or those playing up to it) than guys probably, at least where I've worked. Not necessarily good.
     
  18. AxleMAshcraft
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    AxleMAshcraft Member

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    This is ironic because I posted the thread "Man Up and write this thing" a while back focusing on the other half of this question: How in the world do I write from a man's perspective?
    So here is what I have for you in insight to women:
    (Note: this is speaking personally..)
    I HATE steriotypes. about Men being "better" the women, about certain things that women aren't supposed to do ect. Note: I'm a little bit of a rebel but I would say this is pretty universal. Someone says you CAN'T do something. You do it.
    When I personally get mad I do 1 of 2 things. 1) I get super quiet and pretend almost like it doesn't affect me, but if I'm mad at someone else then this is also a brutal form of tourture (again, I'm a little weird like that) or 2) I go off on people, yelling, flailing, punching (once again I'm not your conventional girl.)
    If I don't like the way I look, no matter what someone says (my jeans aren't fitting right, my hair isn't to my liking ect.) I'm crabby the entire day. It has something to do with loosing self confidence I think.
    Compliments make me feel nice, yes, but sometimes they make me self concious about something I'm doing. Like "I think it's cute when you mess with your hair" the only thing I'll think about is if I really mess up my hair all the time, it spirals out of control once I notice I do and suddenly I feel super awkward...
    I probably should have read through some of the other posts before I wrote this so I knew what you were looking for but this might help :D
     
  19. tristan.n
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    tristan.n Active Member

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    Well, here is a little excerpt from the piece I'm working on right now. I don't want to speak for every woman, so my comments are solely my opinion...

    Mother once told me that the man of the house is the dummy, and the woman is the ventriloquist. When the man turns one way, it’s because the woman made him do it, and when he speaks, it’s really her words.

    I've always had a knack for being manipulative, and though it sounds bad, it's not like I'm out trying to dominate the world or anything... (or am I?) But I think that women in general have this knack, and perhaps it stems from the natural empathy that is wired into our brains from birth. I don't know about any other woman, but I know I'm great at telling people exactly what they want to hear, as well as what they need to hear, and in doing so, if I truly need something, I can usually get people to believe that what I need and what they need is the same thing, though it might not be. It sounds sort of cold when put that way, but it's a subconscious thing for me, so it's hard to put it into words... This probably won't help you at all, but hey I'm a woman, so I feel like I owe it to you to post something at least! :)
     
  20. Three
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    Three Member

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    What do you think all day? I couldn't tell you how girls think any more than you could tell me how guys think. Firstly, there are too many different kinds of people. Secondly, I've never been a man, so I have nothing to compare it with.

    It's fairly safe to say that no woman will read your story and think "that's not a girly enough thing to think". If anything it will be "That's preposterously girly. He's trying way to hard."

    This is the best advice on it I've heard.
     
  21. Cornys
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    Cornys Member

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    You know, I've ran into this issue more times than one, and I've been sure to read this entire thread in order to help me with my novel which will include High School girls as secondary characters. My novel is in 1st person POV so I can put a little less effort into this and get away with it, but I'm not going to slack off on that area, and try to make the novel as well as I can. Thanks for the input :)
     
  22. Peerie Pict
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    Peerie Pict Contributing Member Contributor

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    I heard that the quote a tribute to the views of John Updike. Yikes.

    LOVE that film though. One of my favourites.

    As for writing from the POV of a woman: I reckon we think about sex slightly less and think about social interactions (keeping in touch with people) slightly more. Other than that, i really can't think of a single difference. Put it this way - I don't think of men as a different species when I write from their POV.
     
  23. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I'm writing a sci-fi story where my protagonist (captain of a ship) is female. Yes, I based her off of my Commander Sheperd from Mass Effect, but don't worry. I'm aiming to make mine original and far from that series as possible. :p

    At any rate, my advice is to just write what you know. For instance, I don't have a romantic relationship yet, so neither is my female protagonist (although she does think that French-American navigator is attractive, and the way he talks just makes her want to melt). There are things I will never know since I'm a guy (like how it feels to be pregnant/give birth for instance). I either don't have her sleep with that sexy French-American navigator or rework the plot so a timeskip is allowable. That way, I can get past writing about the things I will never understand and Helen can still have her kid if she wanted.

    Like Peerie said, if you think it'll be difficult to write about romance from the perspective of a woman, don't do it. Maybe she's reserved? Maybe she just dosn't like guys? Or maybe it just doesn't even occur to her?

    Just because your character doesn't have a dangly thing between the legs doesn't mean it's impossible to write them. Stick with her personality and not her chest area and you should be fine.
     
  24. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    Well, I can't say I think all the time. I feel more than think. Like today for instance I was being trained at my new job for the customer service desk. The whole time I was practically worried about screwing up, not remembering the gazillion facts I was being told all at once, and actually trying not to seem so interested in the guy who was training me. (I'd seen him millions of times before, had never actually met him, and I like him. He's really funny. But I'm in a new job. I have to keep focused.) So the whole time I had this heavy bit of lead in my stomach that just made me feel all tense. Nervously tense. But eventually that feeling went away, and I pulled ahead.

    Does this help, Degenerate? Hope so.
     
  25. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    That sounds good if you want to go that way, but I think many male authors have written incredibly insightful female characters. Don't think you can't.

    I don't have children, so I know nothing about being a mother. But I've written about a couple and their baby, just by referencing what I've heard and seen about 'parenthood' in the world around me, and feedback has been okay. :)

    You can write anything, good writers have imagination.
     

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