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First Person, Different Gender (1 Viewer)

Mark Twain't

Senior Member
When I started writing, a year ago, I decided to write in the first person as I felt it easier to relay the lead character's thought and emotions. Being male, I took the obvious route and made my lead character also male but, for some unknown reason, it just felt awkward so I decided to have a go at making my lead character female and that seems to have worked much better for me.

Is this unusual or is it more common than people might think? Am keen to read the experiences of anyone else who has taken this route, including any female writers who write from a male perspective.
 

bdcharles

Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9
Staff member
Media Manager
When I started writing, a year ago, I decided to write in the first person as I felt it easier to relay the lead character's thought and emotions. Being male, I took the obvious route and made my lead character also male but, for some unknown reason, it just felt awkward so I decided to have a go at making my lead character female and that seems to have worked much better for me.

Is this unusual or is it more common than people might think? Am keen to read the experiences of anyone else who has taken this route, including any female writers who write from a male perspective.

I'm the same. Most of my protagonists are female. I don't quite know why either - possibly because I think about women more than I do men! Every time I "try to write a man" I make it too on the nose and manful, and it ends up sounding like s#%t. Though it has happened organically a couple of times and I enjoy it when it does.
 

Mark Twain't

Senior Member
I'm the same. Most of my protagonists are female. I don't quite know why either - possibly because I think about women more than I do men! Every time I "try to write a man" I make it too on the nose and manful, and it ends up sounding like s#%t. Though it has happened organically a couple of times and I enjoy it when it does.

Yes, I think that was the case with me, it came across almost as if it had been written by a 15 year old schoolboy!
 

Tiamat

Patron
I've never attempted first person from a male POV. Might be interesting to try actually. I did just finish a first person story where I specifically didn't give the character a gender though, so at least I'm branching out. Slowly. :)
 

Matchu

Senior Member
Delicious afternoon Agatha pops to Marks & Spencers immerse into character. Outfit selected the moment door slams squeeze into the yoga pants of hers and her lost brassiere secured in bungee cord across my spine, slippers. Little pink slippers on my toe. The anorak and a secret wig and click on again to find you guys all ready for friendship girls. Hello many girlfriends, my cam is buzzing, heh heh heh girl-jokes already. I have bath tap at full pressure steam against my balls, my clit-balls wah-wah, what am I like, girls? I love washing my pussies. Hello fellow writer-ladies of the I dunno, call me Arkela your princess and will you do your best for me? Look be quick I have ten minutes only Mmmh.

How about you?
 
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Foxee

Patron
Patron
When I started writing, a year ago, I decided to write in the first person as I felt it easier to relay the lead character's thought and emotions. Being male, I took the obvious route and made my lead character also male but, for some unknown reason, it just felt awkward so I decided to have a go at making my lead character female and that seems to have worked much better for me.

Is this unusual or is it more common than people might think? Am keen to read the experiences of anyone else who has taken this route, including any female writers who write from a male perspective.
I can often feel more secure in a male POV than a female one. Maybe this has to do with the fact that I've observed men more than I've observed women and so when writing from an 'observational' standpoint it feels like it makes sense. Whatever my fuzzy logic, the male perspective is often my go-to though not always.
 

Mark Twain't

Senior Member
I can often feel more secure in a male POV than a female one. Maybe this has to do with the fact that I've observed men more than I've observed women and so when writing from an 'observational' standpoint it feels like it makes sense. Whatever my fuzzy logic, the male perspective is often my go-to though not always.

You make a very good point. I have very few male friends and, having been married for 30 years, I've made a lot of female friends through my wife. It could be that I know a lot more about women that men.
 

Foxee

Patron
Patron
You make a very good point. I have very few male friends and, having been married for 30 years, I've made a lot of female friends through my wife. It could be that I know a lot more about women that men.
You sound a little like my husband, really. And perhaps those of us who are more quiet in social settings, maybe we're busy soaking up research.

Also, off topic, but the dog in your avatar picture is lovely. Yours?
 

vranger

Staff member
Board Moderator
When I started writing, a year ago, I decided to write in the first person as I felt it easier to relay the lead character's thought and emotions. Being male, I took the obvious route and made my lead character also male but, for some unknown reason, it just felt awkward so I decided to have a go at making my lead character female and that seems to have worked much better for me.

Is this unusual or is it more common than people might think? Am keen to read the experiences of anyone else who has taken this route, including any female writers who write from a male perspective.

It's not only more common than you think, it's MUCH more common than you think.

I've seen men writing women MCs in science fiction, and of course in mystery you had Agatha Christie famously writing dozens of novels and short stories with Hercule Poirot.

In contemporary fiction, Romance is the lion's share of the market, with a host of male writers using nom de plume which are either women's names or vague.
 

Mark Twain't

Senior Member
Also, off topic, but the dog in your avatar picture is lovely. Yours?

Oh, how I wish. That's Bertie, a colleagues Pyrenean Mountain dog. He gets brought to company charity events and gets more attention than anyone or anything there.

I have to make do with a couple of felines for now although I'm looking into the possibility of getting an assistance dog at some point in the near future.
 

Mark Twain't

Senior Member
It's not only more common than you think, it's MUCH more common than you think.

I've seen men writing women MCs in science fiction, and of course in mystery you had Agatha Christie famously writing dozens of novels and short stories with Hercule Poirot.

In contemporary fiction, Romance is the lion's share of the market, with a host of male writers using nom de plume which are either women's names or vague.

Ah, so I'm not that weird then, that's good to know.
 

Ajoy

Senior Member
I have comfortably crossed into writing male POV characters, but I find myself more interested in writing the female POV. In fact, my WIP includes a world where women play all the leadership, power, and hero roles while the men are most often at their mercy or acting on their behalf. In that work, my MC spends time with her consciousness in both male and female bodies, which is also interesting to write.
 

Takeaway Junkie

Senior Member
As an add on question... The WIP I'm working on is 1st person male, I find it very easy and comfortable in this voice but the part of the plan is to make this book into a trilogy whereby key events in this WIP will be central to the followikg two, but the last book is 1st person female.

I'm intrigued as how some find it easier to write with the opposite mind? Is the writing style vastly different? Longer sentences? Different approaches in dialogue? What makes it easier to write from an 'opposite' point of view?
 

Mark Twain't

Senior Member
As an add on question... The WIP I'm working on is 1st person male, I find it very easy and comfortable in this voice but the part of the plan is to make this book into a trilogy whereby key events in this WIP will be central to the followikg two, but the last book is 1st person female.

I'm intrigued as how some find it easier to write with the opposite mind? Is the writing style vastly different? Longer sentences? Different approaches in dialogue? What makes it easier to write from an 'opposite' point of view?

Truth is, I really don't know. Maybe it's as simple as being in touch with my feminine side. ;)
 

Foxee

Patron
Patron
I'm intrigued as how some find it easier to write with the opposite mind? Is the writing style vastly different? Longer sentences? Different approaches in dialogue? What makes it easier to write from an 'opposite' point of view?
Writing any character (for me, anyway) absolutely requires that I can hear them in my inner ear. No matter the gender of the character, clarity of that inner voice is essential. No different than if you have a friend or co-worker with a voice you can imagine in your head, like if they send you an email you might be able to 'hear' it how you'd imagine them saying it.

So if you know people, men, women, bankers, lawyers, bakers, moms, dads, coaches, principals, librarians, bus drivers, McDonald's window workers...you can start guessing how someone might talk.

Think of the drive-through restaurant window worker. Some exude boredom, some are very professional-sounding, some are impatient, some have all the time in the world and almost seem to enjoy the interaction with customers.

Ever get one of those waitresses or maybe someone serving behind a convenience store counter who calls everyone including the Devil himself, "Honey"?

Some say men use fewer words than women. I've seen this in action...
(example: my mom and I had been arguing about how to arrange to do something for about ten minutes before I said that, really, the problem belonged to my dad and my husband. We handed them the phones. My husband said, "Saturday? Sure. Yep."... and hung up!)
...and I've also seen men who gossip like old ladies supposedly do or enjoy holding forth on a subject they're knowledgeable about.

Kinda depends on the person.
 

vranger

Staff member
Board Moderator
The last two posts in the thread are taking a left turn into a different subject, but one that's always a good discussion:

Head Hopping

I've moved those posts to a new thread as linked above. Please proceed with that part of the discussion, and I'm going over there now to kick it off. :)
 

Serendipity

Senior Member
I don't necessarily imply gender in my perspective. Sometimes I do, but usually I don't. I would think that writing from a female gender (hope this doesn't sound stereotypical) would be more emotionally oriented. Of course, this is just my opinion and based on what I write only.
 

TheMightyAz

Senior Member
I don't necessarily imply gender in my perspective. Sometimes I do, but usually I don't. I would think that writing from a female gender (hope this doesn't sound stereotypical) would be more emotionally oriented. Of course, this is just my opinion and based on what I write only.

Naaa, I think that's fair. On the many writing courses I've been on, I noted the women where focused more on characters/emotion whilst the men focused more on characters/plot. We're talking generalities here but I think it's fine to generalise to some degree. Whatever rings true to the most people is the best approach. If focusing on outliers is what writers want to do, that's great too!

But let's not make the mistake of thinking not focusing on outliers is BAD. Oh ... the twitter pain that sentence would cause.
 

JJBuchholz

Senior Member
Being male, I took the obvious route and made my lead character also male but, for some unknown reason, it just
felt awkward so I decided to have a go at making my lead character female and that seems to have worked much better for me.

Is this unusual or is it more common than people might think? Am keen to read the experiences of anyone else who has taken this route?

I mainly write from the third person, and have normally used male protagonists (as I relate easier and can personify just as simple). I did however
step outside my comfort zone and write a few short stories with a female protagonist. I initially thought it as something that may break me as a
writer, but it actually helped me to learn a few things along the way. It also helped me to write my female supporting characters in other stores and
series a litter better with increased depth.

-JJB
 

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