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  1. Accelerator231

    Accelerator231 Active Member

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    Is it normal to write a woman as a man?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Accelerator231, Dec 27, 2019.

    So here's the thing. I write various things. Ranging from fanfiction to my own original setting. Some is from 3rd person narration. Some from 1st person. I've noticed several things. For instance, I have a 1st person male story that couldn't get off the ground from, say, 4 chapters. And then my enthusiasm dried up.

    And then I have 4 different stories, with the 1st person POV it being a female, and they're all 8 chapters long, and inspiration and desire to write is still going strong.

    I have zero issues with writing 3rd person POV, whether for a technothriller scene or one of horror.

    Is this something ordinary? I mean, For writing, is there a requirement for the person you're writing to be somewhat different from you? For there to be a distance?
     
  2. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Active Member

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    I struggle to understand people who ask "is it ok if I do this", or "is there a requirement" in this instance.

    There are no set rules in writing. It's YOUR story. You can do whatever you like. The key question is, is it story that fulfils the goals YOU set for it, whether that is for other people to read and enjoy, or for your own personal fulfilment.
     
  3. Cephus

    Cephus Senior Member

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    People need to stop asking permission and just write. You do what you want to do. It doesn't matter if anyone else likes it, nobody else has any control over you. Just do it. I see so many people who are terrified to do anything. Honestly, people need to grow a backbone.
     
  4. Hammer

    Hammer Contributor Contributor

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    Hi @Accelerator231 - some writers will find it easier to get inside the head of a stranger, others will prefer to write from the heart and lay their souls bare. I think I am probably mroe like you and like to think that I am writing someone completely new, but I believe the truth is that all of our "creativity" and "imagination" is just a re-hashing of our life experience.

    Whatever we like to think, we can only base our creations on things we have seen or read, and the traits of which are characters are composed are all drawn from people we have known, read, or seen in a movie...
     
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  5. Steve Rivers

    Steve Rivers Member

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    Are you getting this type of thinking from twitter, Accel? I notice you're 21, and I hate assuming, but are you writing this because you're scared of treading a social-political minefield like Twitter, where you think you'll have all the feminist extremists trying to destroy you for daring to be a man writing a woman? If so then you need to get off social media for a while, because the majority of human beings are -not- on those platforms. The worst people in the cesspit that is Twitter, try and use the pretence of enlightenment as a form of social fascism, "Live in our Bubble, our way, or gtfo."

    Writing is FREEDOM. The freedom to express your story, your characters, your ideas how -you- want, and let other people take from it what they want.
     
  6. marshipan

    marshipan Senior Member

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    Yes it's normal.
     
  7. Accelerator231

    Accelerator231 Active Member

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    Oh no.

    I'm simply thinking: "Am I good at writing female 1st person POV, because I simply suck at separating out myself from male characters, thus killing my inspiration? So I simply write female characters?"

    I mean, I've been writing out characters for future use in stories, and I realise that most of them were female. Like, one is a female teacher that led her students through the wilderness, another was a resistance fighter, another was a businessgirl.... etc
     
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  8. Steve Rivers

    Steve Rivers Member

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    Ah, good. (That you aren't worried/screwed up about the first thing, that is. )

    Practical advice then - If you're wondering if you're good at writing female POVs, then post some of your work here is my best suggestion. Ask the people who know best, the women themselves that come here, if your work comes off well to them.

    I'm currently writing about a once poverty-stricken Indian woman, who has suffered heavily at the hands of racism and sexism. I'm going to post her scenes here because I want her to come across as authentic as possible, and, although i've researched heavily into all those topics, it's never the same as getting opinions from people who have experienced the real thing. That's the point of using these forums - so we can all come together and help each other with our work :)
     
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  9. Accelerator231

    Accelerator231 Active Member

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    Oh, well,

    1. I write in the fanfiction part.

    2. My character is a bit... shallow.
     
  10. Steve Rivers

    Steve Rivers Member

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    Neither of those matter. Some people are shallow in RL, and people here have experience of meeting shallow people, online or RL, and will tell you if your character comes off authentically as their encounters.

    As for fanfiction, again, people here read fanfiction, and will give you an honest opinion and any help you need. I started off writing fanfiction. Many folks do. It's a natural progression of getting into writing these days. You see your heroes on tv, write about your own stories of them, realize you like writing, start reading books, do it themselves - viola!
     
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  11. animagus_kitty

    animagus_kitty Senior Member

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    I started writing fanfiction for Lord of the Rings and the old Hercules series with Kevin Sorbo when I was sixteen.
    Then I wrote an original story about an assassin and her assassin bodyguard/friend/whatever--not that it was great, because I was eighteen and hadn't learned how to be any good yet.
    Then when I was 21, I wrote an Andromeda fanfiction (sci fi, early 2000s, also Kevin Sorbo) that ultimately was directly responsible for the novel I'm writing now.

    Fanfiction, and this is something I've come to terms with in the year or so I've been on this site, isn't the pariah-maker it used to be. It's...we'll call it a 'legitimate' writing outlet now. It's not something that's just for 16 year old girls anymore--if you think about it, everything that isn't the original run of a series by the original author is fanfiction.
    Star Wars, after Episode VI. Star Trek, after TOS. Dune, after the original author died. Fanfiction means something different these days, even though at the heart it hasn't changed a bit. It's just a way of sharpening the imagination of those who have the talent to write, but their inspiration isn't in the right place (at that moment) for original content. My best friend is a six-time author who regularly writes fanfiction--and we met because of that fanfiction.
     
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  12. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Active Member

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    The Dune followup books are a great example of why fanfiction should be killed with fire.
     
  13. Rockatansky

    Rockatansky Banned

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    Lol, it was funny, I have a sub series I like to call unfanfic stories. It follows a crew I'm bored of a transdimensional Starship, that go around destroying fanfics and restoring the balance.
     
  14. peachalulu

    peachalulu Member Reviewer Contributor

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    It's fine.
    I tend to write male povs and love the challenge. There is a bit of a different mind frame to get into but I've been observing men for a long time so I feel pretty confident. I blow it every once in a while and have my male mc talk too much about the looks of another character (male) and I know it don't sound right. But that's what good, trusted beta readers are for - you need the ones that shoot from the hip and say - is your character gay why does he keep mentioning the other guys curls? lol.
    That's the beauty of first drafts you can goof it up and fix it in the next draft.
     
  15. Bowie_the_Birb

    Bowie_the_Birb Member

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    Yes, it's normal. There are no set rules for writing. What one writes, how one writes, it's all up to the author. If there are rules, they're meant to be bent or broken. Nothing is "required" when it comes to writing.
     
  16. J.D. Ray

    J.D. Ray Member Supporter

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    I struggle mightily with the question of whether or not I, as a male, can competently write from the POV of a female character. I posted a question over on StackExchange and got some valuable feedback, though several people (there and elsewhere) have admonished me to write my characters "genderless" and let the story fall where it does. I see this as disingenuous, and ignoring the idea that men and women approach problems differently. At least some men and some women, and the answer may be that it has nothing to do with gender, and the stereotypes come from artificially-crafted ideals that don't really exist... see how I get myself wrapped around the axle?

    My character Celeste is rough, assertive, and charges into things without thinking. The other MC, Marko, is quiet, contemplative, and plans incessantly. None of these are necessarily male or female traits. On the other hand, Marko isn't very introspective (which seems contradictory to his contemplative nature), whereas Celeste is. My question stems from whether or not a woman thinks introspectively differently than a man does, and whether or not I need to learn what those differences are so I can write Celeste in a manner that has a ring of truth with female readers. For now I'm just writing what I know of her and letting it go at that. Time (and feedback) will tell me if that's the right decision.
     
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  17. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I write male and female characters - (and gay and straight, black and white etc and so forth). End of the day people are people and there is not one way for any particular gender (or whatever) to behave, there is a big variation inside every group which is in some cases larger than the difference betwen them
     
  18. Rockatansky

    Rockatansky Banned

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    To play off this,

    You are basically creating an individual. An individual who happens to be a woman, or happens to be a black person, or happens to be gay, etcetera.

    What matters, is the personality and traits of that individual character,. Ie your character is female but has stronger masculine traits as opposed to feminine traits. And enjoys more masculine Pursuits such as fighting, weaponry, excetera. It doesn't mean she can't have a feminine side either though
     
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  19. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Benevolent Ochlocrat Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Huh. I had a flash story I struggled with for years, off and on. POV of a father, and then it occurred to me to switch it to a mother's POV, and it just about wrote itself.

    Won my first medal for it :)

    Wrote another, longer piece where I consciously challenged myself to write a female lead (close third).

    Got another shiny.

    So yeah, it seems to work for me. And thanks for provoking the insight.
     
  20. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm of the opinion that genders matter less than some people think they do, in terms of personality traits. What DOES matter is society's attitude towards gender, however, and there isn't any way to get away from that.

    What our society thinks a 'good' female character should be like may well be in opposition to what many females are actually like. Some will conform to the expectations and stereotypes better than others. And what might be considered a 'good' characteristic in a male, might well be seen as detrimental to being a 'good' female.

    I'd say write your characters with whatever personality they have in your imagination. Then give some thought as to how their personality will be received in their society. Then figure out how they will adapt to their society's expectations/requirements, if they do adapt. Or figure out the problems they'll have if they don't adapt or refuse to adapt.

    It's one of the fun things about writing. Problem solving. You create problems for your characters, then figure out how to solve them.

    So ...if you're a man, you can write a female character who is just like you. Then figure out how that character would fit into the society you've created.

    In our society—certainly in recent living memory—a go-getter male who had great business acumen and ambition was seen to be on the sure road to success. A female go-getter with great business acumen and ambition was usually thwarted (overtly or covertly) and ended up trapped in a marriage and staying home and caring for children, when they would much rather have been out working.

    Ditto the male who would much have preferred a quiet life and a chance to stay home and raise children. I personally have a really close friend, married to my best friend in the USA, who fits this mold. Fortunately she is the go-getter type, so the role reversal worked beautifully for them. However, he took a lot of flack for many years, while he happily and effectively kept the home fires burning and raised the children during the day. House-husband and housewife didn't have the same cachet, when I was growing up. Thankfully that stereotype has eased a bit. But I suspect it still lurks.
     
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  21. animagus_kitty

    animagus_kitty Senior Member

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    As a female go-getter with big plans and a house husband, I can honestly tell you that it has eased a bit, and that it does still lurk.
     
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  22. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Very popular advice is to "Write what you know." There's also the corollary advice, "Know what you write." Both of these can be, and have been, discussed at length for decades or more in terms of leveraging your experience and feelings, and doing diligent research.

    But there's no similar push to "Write who you are." Writers are a curious lot, in every sense of the word. Writers seek challenges, and are junkies for understanding. It's quite natural for them to take a walkabout in the souls of others, and to find and explore the similarities and profound differences in those others, especially after becoming comfortable with the craft and nuances of writing.

    As for normal, bite thy tongue deeply! "Normal" is about the greatest curse to cast upon anyone.

    Now go thee forth and be extraordinary. Normal, indeed. May the mites of Mulgoria burrow in your buttocks for decades. May your ear hairs grow tangled and snarly. May your...
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2020
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  23. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Active Member

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    Writers are like actors, except we play the part of EVERY character in the story.

    A good actor can play any part. Scott Bakula played a black man, a woman, a child, a man with no legs, a chimp amongst other things in Quantum Leap.

    A writer should be as versatile.
     

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