Writing a different gender POV

MaxRelaxman

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While working on my current project, it occurred to me that the story seemed like it would work better from the original character's sister's POV. Sure enough, I switched up a couple test chapters that allowed me to add some societal/relationship quirks and removed the brother from his original protector role to being a long absent former protector and Bob was my uncle. Just to make it harder on myself, I ended up changing it to 1st person while I was at it.

So other than trying to find a female beta reader when the time for that comes, what are some tropes to watch out for? Other than walking boobily down the stairs while thinking about makeup. I live with my two teenage daughters and Herself, the wife so I have *some* ideas.
 

MaxRelaxman

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Think more about the personality of the character and less about genitalia.
In general I guess the best guidline is to treat them like a human being lol. I guess unless it's a specific situation, people don't really think *that* differently.
 

alexvss

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While working on my current project, it occurred to me that the story seemed like it would work better from the original character's sister's POV. Sure enough, I switched up a couple test chapters that allowed me to add some societal/relationship quirks and removed the brother from his original protector role to being a long absent former protector and Bob was my uncle. Just to make it harder on myself, I ended up changing it to 1st person while I was at it.

So other than trying to find a female beta reader when the time for that comes, what are some tropes to watch out for? Other than walking boobily down the stairs while thinking about makeup. I live with my two teenage daughters and Herself, the wife so I have *some* ideas.
The EiC of my magazine wrote an article with some hints on writing female characters. Click here--I hope it helps.
 

Toby Frost

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I agree with Mouse: the issue is what this person would be like, not what women or men in general would do.

The "writing resources" section of this forum has some useful articles. Writing Resources Index Thread
 

Swank

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It might be easier to say: Write your characters like they are your gender, and see if that is actually a problem.

Male characters are only really male in their behavior if they are engaged in stereotypically immature behaviour rather than the sort of adult decisionmaking a person in a crisis (that's what an adventure story is to the protagonist) is going to be making.


SFF characters aren't real and aren't in a realistic situation - that's what makes it SFF. Is there really a need to depict the the nuances of dating or self esteem in an adventure?
 

tinkerdan

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I would agree with those who say to just write the character without so much focus on their gender.

My novels are all written from the viewpoint of a different gender(though there are somethings about the character that... well you just have to read the novels). I did hand the drafts to some females and they all said the same thing--that they were surprised how well I had written that character.

I did not focus on gender--part of that was because there were pitfalls that would create unreal or satirical characters that would ruin the story.

There will probably be a few things to watch for that will creep into the thing.
Much the same as--because I am 6foot tall, when I write short characters I have to remember they might have problems reaching some thing or seeing over other things where I don't and they have some advantages in being closer to things down farther than my knees.
 

Steve Harrison

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I see women and men as characters, so I don't particularly worry about gender when writing. I just try to put myself in their heads. My wife is the first reader of my work and one of her jobs is to tell me if anything about the female characters characters doesn't ring true. I'm also old enough to know what I don't know, so I run things by her while writing.

My second published novel was mainly told from the POV of two teenaged girls, which was a challenge at the time as a late 50s male, but fortunately my daughter gave it the thumbs up before I queried the book. She suggested I write it, so I was happy it met with her approval!
 

SilentRoamer

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Just go with a lot of braid tugging and the occasional thought about wool headed men.
 
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Mon0Zer0

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Some corkers of Men trying (and failing) to write Women.

 

Montero

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And scientists - not a male or female writer thing, though female scientists may be even worse done than male scientists, but some scientists written by non-scientists are really lame. Total lack of understanding of the enthusiasm and fascination with science - that you can talk science on a date, on the bus, to your bewildered family - and if your date is a scientist they will talk science back. Science dates are not "we mustn't talk about work" it is being kicked out the restaurant for writing formulae on the table cloth - both parties to the date doing so.

My other observation is that people vary, and some men and some women are very conscious of being either men or women and others are just themselves - as in their gender matters to them far less. Having worked in science and IT that was broadly the case for most of the people in the lab or office - we were tech people getting on with tech stuff. There were non scientists/tech among admin and support staff and it wasn't everyone, but there was more of an all lads together/we girls must gang together against the men ethos going on.
Also, and varying with people, there seems to be far less interest in genitalia from women than from men. Some men do seem to go "look at the mammaries on that one" but it is much rarer for women to go "look at the male genitalia on that one". Though there was an office I was in once where a certain young man was a very keen cyclist and used to walk through the open plan office to his desk in his cycling gear, including very tight lycra shorts so that a certain protruding bit of the anatomy was roughly eye level to everyone sitting at their desk. There were massive complaints to the office manager and he was told to change in the gents in the lobby before venturing into the office.
 
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