Friday, November 4, 2011

Writing From the Mind of the Other Planet

Are men from Mars? I've been married for decades and raised two stepsons and three boys of my own. I teach high school and interact with teenage boys all the time.  Do I believe men and women think differently? Do they see the world through a different lens? I bet everyone knows the answer to that, be they male or female.
From FB

So how do you write from the POV of the opposite sex? Carefully. All my books have scenes from the POV of male and female.  Am I making my men to 'metrosexual.' How's that blast from the past term? LOL.  In epic fantasy, the men need to be manly men. Does that mean he must not only be able to ride wild horses, slay dozens with his sword and eat red meat for six meals a day?  Must he be confused by a woman's tears, afraid of discussing his feelings, reluctant to get deeply involved? 

How can I get this 'man' brain thing correct? I listen. I watch. I laugh. Teenage males are really amusing as they swing like a pendulum between being boys and young men.  One minute they're trying to impress the girls and the next minute they're arguing about some video game with their buddies.  And adult guys tend to do the same thing except the topics change a bit.

I often wonder if I'm doing it right. The real test is if men enjoy reading my epic fantasy books. I've had some positive feedback from the male audience, so I hope I'm doing it okay. 

Do male writers worry about the same thing? Have you ever read a book where the author didn't hit the mark writing from the POV of the opposite sex?


  1. I certainly worried about it. CassaFire boasts my first female character. Did I get it right?
    And I'm sure women think all guys want is sex.
    All right, that's probably not far from the truth...

  2. It is a real challenge to write from the opposite sex POV! I think you make a good point about exposure. I seems that it would be a whole lot more difficult to write the other sex if one were just out of puberty! But once we've been around for a while--especially if we've had a lot of intimate contact with the 'other', it's easier to be convincing. At least that's what I'm telling myself, having written in 32 year-old male POV as a 51 year-old woman, twice married. I guess the proof will be in the reading!

  3. I worry about this too. I don't actually write from the male POV, but I still worry about their actions and dialogue being authentically male.

    I guess you're right, after you live with men awhile and observe their behavior, it's pretty easy to mimic. Or like Alex said, just make them think about sex all the time. :)

  4. I'm writing from a male POV for my NaNoWriMo novel, and while I've done it before, for this particular character I'm worried he might come across wrong . . .

  5. I tried to read James Patterson's books The Women's Murder Club 1st To Die. It was difficult. It was a very good book. But just knowing he was writing from a woman's POV was difficult. Great story and well written. But a difficult read.

  6. "Adult guys tend to do the same thing except the topics change a bit" - too true! Yes, writing from the opposite sex's POV is a challenge, but luckily I have crit partners of the opposite sex to flag anything straying from accuracy. :)

  7. My WIP switches back and forth between male and female POVs too and I sometimes do find it difficult to write the guy's side of things. Observation has worked out for me in the past. I have a male beat reader who seems to like the way the male characters are crafted so I assume that means I'm on the right track.

  8. "The Blue Notebook" was written by a physician from Mayo, Dr. James Levine, from the POV of an eleven year-old girl who is sold into prostitution by her father in Mumbai. The inside flap describes how he found his voice for this undertaking. If you're interested, all proceeds from the sale of this book go to the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children and to the National Center for M&E Children.