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Wednesday, March 17, 2010
9:00 PM | Posted by Marnee Bailey | | Edit Post
Most of the time I love being a chick.
I love that I can match my clothing without assistance. I love that I can have an hour conversation on the phone and at the end say it was a great talk but not know what we talked about. I love that I can cry at cheesy movies/commercials/books and no one thinks I’m weak, least of all me. And I really love that I can communicate my emotions without giving myself a brain aneurism.
Not that there aren’t some men out there who can perform the above tasks, but well, they aren’t the norm.
This being in touch with my girly side is great when I’m writing female characters. I can write emotions that make sense for a girl. I know how the average girl thinks. They think like I think.
But writing men? I get all hung up.
I spent the past weekend picking my husband’s brain about what makes men tick. When I say “picking” I mean, “prying it out of him with nagging and needling.”
It went thus:
Me: I’m having a hard time understanding how my hero should act.
Him: Aren’t you writing him? Just change it. (My DH is a “if a problem arises, just fix it” kind of fellow. You know. A GUY.)
Me: It’s not that I CAN'T change him; it’s that I don’t know HOW to change him.
Me: Like this. A guy doesn’t use as many words as most girls use. He says what he has to say, with as little words as possible.
Him: Right. (Point proven. One for my team.)
Me: And a guy generally doesn’t feel comfy with his emotions. Or he doesn’t think about them as much as a girl does.
Him: He doesn’t?
Me: I don’t know. Does he?
Me: *eye roll* Do guys think about their emotions as much as girls do?
Him: I’m not a girl. I don’t know.
Me: *patient sigh* Husband. Humor me.
Him: Hmm… Well, I probably don’t think about my emotions as much as you do.
Me: So what do you think about?
Him: *exasperated* Marnee. I don’t know. Stuff.
This from the most communicative man I’ve ever been in a relationship with.
The above conversation didn’t help me much to understand the inner workings of my hero’s mind. So I tried to apply what I know of men in an observational capacity. No overtalking. Check. Not as skilled at communicating as a woman, at least as a general. Check. A fix-it mentality about everything from broken toasters to complex life issues. Check.
That’s probably a pretty good start. But then I have to worry about getting said “male characterization” across for a generally female audience. Because in a romance, we don’t want the average beer-swilling, thinking-about-sex guy. We want the Prince Charmings. Believable Prince Charmings.
What we have is the complexity of writing the male character to appeal to the female fantasy. No easy task indeed.
So, what suggestions have you guys got? What differences do you find between your male and female characters? How have you found success writing the “other”? What female authors write believable men?
Disclaimer: No boy belittlement intended.
Labels: Gunner's Grumblings (Marnee)