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The other gender/sex voice (1 Viewer)

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KeganThompson

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Board Moderator
So a bit of an interesting question. (and hopefully NOT controversial :rolleyes: 😬 )
How often is your main protag the "other" gender? And do you find it harder to write them/ about them? Whether that be in the first or third person. I'd say first would be harder than third out of the two but regardless, is it something you do often or at all? Why or why not? And is it more challenging?
 

Mark Twain't

Staff member
Board Moderator
My protagonist has been female in everything I've written, both 1st & 3rd person. I actually find it easier but I couldn't for the life of me tell you why.

Have you tried it yourself?
 

KeganThompson

Staff member
Board Moderator
My protagonist has been female in everything I've written, both 1st & 3rd person. I actually find it easier but I couldn't for the life of me tell you why.

Have you tried it yourself?
Maybe you just find it more fun and that's why it's easier?
Yes, sure have. I enjoy it but I do feel like maybe a piece of my character is missing because I am less likely to "put my ways" into their pov because I don't want them to seem "off."
But maybe I am over thinking things like I do everything. Lol
 

Mark Twain't

Staff member
Board Moderator
Maybe you just find it more fun and that's why it's easier?
Yes, sure have. I enjoy it but I do feel like maybe a piece of my character is missing because I am less likely to "put my ways" into their pov because I don't want them to seem "off."
But maybe I am over thinking things like I do everything. Lol
It's very easy to overthink these things. I always say go with your heart.

I do it because it feels more natural, maybe I'm just in touch with my feminine side. ;)
 

Foxee

Patron
Patron
I like writing from a male perspective a lot of the time and my theory is because I have observed men more than I've observed women. In family gatherings I preferred hanging around with my dad and grandpa and uncles while they chatted about cars and fixing things more than I liked being put to work in the kitchen with the ladies of the family who had shooed the men away so that they could gossip over washing dishes. In youth group I was friends with the guys because they said what they thought and the girls were more complicated to get along with.

Too bad things can't stay that simple into adulthood.

I do have to listen to critiques about whether my male characters come across right, though, because I'm very aware that my experience is limited to how males act when a woman or a girl is around them - so my guys might not come across authentically when they're in all-male company for instance.
 

KeganThompson

Staff member
Board Moderator
I like writing from a male perspective a lot of the time and my theory is because I have observed men more than I've observed women. In family gatherings I preferred hanging around with my dad and grandpa and uncles while they chatted about cars and fixing things more than I liked being put to work in the kitchen with the ladies of the family who had shooed the men away so that they could gossip over washing dishes. In youth group I was friends with the guys because they said what they thought and the girls were more complicated to get along with.

Too bad things can't stay that simple into adulthood.

I do have to listen to critiques about whether my male characters come across right, though, because I'm very aware that my experience is limited to how males act when a woman or a girl is around them - so my guys might not come across authentically when they're in all-male company for instance.
I was told once when I started writing again that word choices sounded "girly" 😆 so I try to be careful when writing the male perspective. I like to write it though, especially when you want to describe the beauty of a women lol.
So I wonder if I write in a female voice if the character will automatically have more personality...🤷🏼‍♀️
 

Foxee

Patron
Patron
I was told once when I started writing again that word choices sounded "girly" 😆 so I try to be careful when writing the male perspective. I like to write it though, especially when you want to describe the beauty of a women lol.
So I wonder if I write in a female voice if the character will automatically have more personality...🤷🏼‍♀️
I don't think there is an easy-default way to write characters (not if you're me, anyway). I've tried writing women "because it'll be easier" only to find out that the character is flat and uninteresting even to me. I guess there are no shortcuts.
 

KeganThompson

Staff member
Board Moderator
I don't think there is an easy-default way to write characters (not if you're me, anyway). I've tried writing women "because it'll be easier" only to find out that the character is flat and uninteresting even to me. I guess there are no shortcuts.
I will not lie, I find female characters less interesting to read sometimes. (And to write) personally.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
I was brought up by women and the men in my life pretty much took a back seat. It was probably why I ended up being a feminist for a while. I did nothing but watch interactions and listen, due to the fact 'children should be seen and not heard'. It wasn't until I started working that I truly started understanding men, watching them mainly, due to the fact 'children should be seen and not heard'. But then I discovered I was pretty hot (not my words!) and found out even more about women. I enjoyed that a LOT.

So, writing about women is easy. We're all the same.
 

Mark Twain't

Staff member
Board Moderator
I don't think there is an easy-default way to write characters (not if you're me, anyway). I've tried writing women "because it'll be easier" only to find out that the character is flat and uninteresting even to me. I guess there are no shortcuts.

I think I found similar when trying to write from a male pov.
 

JBF

Staff member
Board Moderator
So a bit of an interesting question. (and hopefully NOT controversial :rolleyes: 😬 )

I wouldn't call it controversial. I would, however, advise that everybody pick their words carefully. This can be a touchy subject.

How often is your main protag the "other" gender? And do you find it harder to write them/ about them?

Very seldom, and never for anything much beyond a short. It's an interesting exercise and a good way of stretching one's brain. That said, most anything I write concerning a female character is going to be gathered from my own observation. Male readers will probably find it passable accurate. Female readers may fairly take issue. I doubt I could swing any kind of novel-length work and effectively sell the story from a female POV. That may go double because I don't generally work in the sort of story realm where women have much of a presence. Hard to say.

I wouldn't say writing about female characters is especially difficult in the sense that working with high voltage or operating complex machinery isn't difficult. So long as you stay on your toes and be aware of the things that can trip you up you'll probably be fine.

Writing a male character and changing to the pronouns to female, for instance, is a piece of advice that staunchly refuses to die.


Whether that be in the first or third person. I'd say first would be harder than third out of the two but regardless, is it something you do often or at all? Why or why not? And is it more challenging?

First-person...never. Outside of a fairly limited type of character I'm not a fan - I wouldn't use it for a first-person female character any more write first-person for the perspective of a NASA engineer, a heart surgeon, or a champion athlete.
 

KeganThompson

Staff member
Board Moderator
I wouldn't call it controversial. I would, however, advise that everybody pick their words carefully. This can be a touchy subject.



Very seldom, and never for anything much beyond a short. It's an interesting exercise and a good way of stretching one's brain. That said, most anything I write concerning a female character is going to be gathered from my own observation. Male readers will probably find it passable accurate. Female readers may fairly take issue. I doubt I could swing any kind of novel-length work and effectively sell the story from a female POV. That may go double because I don't generally work in the sort of story realm where women have much of a presence. Hard to say.

I wouldn't say writing about female characters is especially difficult in the sense that working with high voltage or operating complex machinery isn't difficult. So long as you stay on your toes and be aware of the things that can trip you up you'll probably be fine.

Writing a male character and changing to the pronouns to female, for instance, is a piece of advice that staunchly refuses to die.




First-person...never. Outside of a fairly limited type of character I'm not a fan - I wouldn't use it for a first-person female character any more write first-person for the perspective of a NASA engineer, a heart surgeon, or a champion athlete.
I wouldn't call it controversial. I would, however, advise that everybody pick their words carefully. This can be a touchy subject.

I saw what happened with the skin color thread so I was like oh dang...I think majority of people did see eye to eye in that section. Things I think shouldn't be controversial somehow are, so that was be being of what could happen with this topic.

I wouldn't say writing about female characters is especially difficult in the sense that working with high voltage or operating complex machinery isn't difficult. So long as you stay on your toes and be aware of the things that can trip you up you'll probably be fine.

Are you assuming my gender now? Ha-ha (jk) I thought Kegan was a gender neutral name, I noticed its being used for both now,

Writing a male character and changing to the pronouns to female, for instance, is a piece of advice that staunchly refuses to die.

that's an interesting advice and an interesting way to put it lol. I haven't posted that much of my rough work but...so far it seems like I'm doin ok with the opposite gender. No glaring issues in regard to that aspect of my writing lol. I always write in first person POV so regardless of what gender/sex the MC is, my main goal is for them to feel authentic as possible. I want to write a novel in the opposite gender's voice so I need to make sure its authentic. So the exact opposite of what you like LOL
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
Having been married for 42 years, and having many women as friends over the course of my life, I probably COULD write a female PoV, but I almost certainly won't. Oh, I did do a few pages of a prospective story years ago, and I don't think it came out too badly, but it's not really on my upcoming list of projects to complete. It's not a challenge I consider necessary for my writing scope to be 'complete', and there is no shortage of female protagonists in the world of literature.

I do, however, have plenty of female characters in my novels, and they tend to be of critical importance ... but all their dialogue is spoken. :)

There are numerous enormously successful examples of men writing women and women writing men, so anyone who'd like to go there faces no boundary. If you do it well, you join the crowd. If you don't, people will drop the read and move on ... just like anything else.
 
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indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
Having been married for 42 years, and having many women as friends over the course of my life, I probably COULD write a female PoV, but I almost certainly won't. Oh, I did do a few pages of a prospective story years ago, and I don't think it came out too badly, but it's not really on my upcoming list of projects to complete. It's not a challenge I consider necessary for my writing scope to be 'complete', and there is no shortage of female protagonists in the world of literature.

I do, however, have plenty of female characters in my novels, and they tend to be of critical importance ... but all their dialogue is spoken. :)

There are numerous enormously successful examples of men writing women and women writing men, so anyone who'd like to go there faces no boundary. If you do it well, you join the crowd. If you don't, people will drop the read and move on ... just like anything else.
In my novel Redemption (due out next month) the story switches POV between a male and a female character, separate by alternating chapters. My (female) editor said I handled the FMC POV well, so there's that. Having been married for 42 years and raising two daughters probably helped, but I think just being observant was most important.
I like to challenge myself when I write - Redemption is about good and evil and whether the worst people can redeem themselves - having two negative characters with one be female was a challenge.
 

KeganThompson

Staff member
Board Moderator
In my novel Redemption (due out next month) the story switches POV between a male and a female character, separate by alternating chapters. My (female) editor said I handled the FMC POV well, so there's that. Having been married for 42 years and raising two daughters probably helped, but I think just being observant was most important.
I like to challenge myself when I write - Redemption is about good and evil and whether the worst people can redeem themselves - having two negative characters with one be female was a challenge.
I heard dual POV is hard to pull off, so congrats on doing that, and having a good female POV! I tried it when I was writing in the 8/9th grade. One character was a lot more dull than the other. But I defiantly would attempt it again.
Is it part of a book series or is it on its own title?
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
I heard dual POV is hard to pull off, so congrats on doing that, and having a good female POV! I tried it when I was writing in the 8/9th grade. One character was a lot more dull than the other. But I defiantly would attempt it again.
Is it part of a book series or is it on its own title?
Redemption is stand alone and will be released in early August.
 

JBF

Staff member
Board Moderator
Are you assuming my gender now? Ha-ha (jk) I thought Kegan was a gender neutral name, I noticed its being used for both now,

Heh. In my defense, when somebody poses the question at the start of the thread odds say it's usually a male author. In my experience amateur female writers tend not to ask about writing from a male POV.

that's an interesting advice and an interesting way to put it lol.

Usually with terrible results, though this may have more to do with a character so flat that it can flip back and forth with nothing more than Ctrl-F/Replace.

...my main goal is for them to feel authentic as possible.

That's the big one. A lot of young (male) writers will start by asking how you write women.

Well...how do you write a sunset? How do you write a dance? A gunfight? So long as you put the time in and understand what your moving pieces are and how they function, you're golden. Some authors can fairly claim to write either sex well. In those cases, what you're seeing is less a writer's ability to portray a man/woman than their ability to draw a character. Generally speaking, people have a broad range of similarities and a fairly narrow set of differences. Focusing too strongly on either will serve you poorly; you either bypass all nuance and paint so broadly that everyone's interchangeable or you exaggerate the differences until you wind up with two wholly alien factions.

Neither make for especially good reading.

So the exact opposite of what you like LOL

Them's fightin' words...I think. :p
 

KeganThompson

Staff member
Board Moderator
Heh. In my defense, when somebody poses the question at the start of the thread odds say it's usually a male author. In my experience amateur female writers tend not to ask about writing from a male POV.

Why do you think that is? and lool it's fine. Kegan isn't my real name anyway haha. I was playing with the idea of pen names and want something similar to my name and leaned more gender-neutral.


Generally speaking, people have a broad range of similarities and a fairly narrow set of differences. Focusing too strongly on either will serve you poorly; you either bypass all nuance and paint so broadly that everyone's interchangeable or you exaggerate the differences until you wind up with two wholly alien factions.
I think it's the voice/ style/ perception of certain things that would be the distinction, not necessarily what they do or like. I want my characters to be relatable and not a caricature. Regardless of what POV I am writing.

First-person...never. Outside of a fairly limited type of character I'm not a fan - I wouldn't use it for a first-person female character anymore write first-person for the perspective of a NASA engineer, a heart surgeon, or a champion athlete.

I first person because I like putting myself directly into another perspective. The types of stories I like most are the ones that focus the most on the characters and their interactions. I prefer a character-driven plot so to speak
So the exact opposite of what you like LOL

Them's fightin' words...I think. :p


You're the one who said you didn't like my POV of choice 😆
 
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