Monday, April 22, 2013

Can a female writer truly capture the essence of her male protagonist?

I'm wondering this to myself now as we're writing our first novel which we plan to release this later September. I suppose I worry that readers will wonder how my sister and I can effectively write from a male perspective being that the both of us are female. There are many authors who've done it well, and there are other authors who have done it not so well.

J.K Rowling, for example with Harry Potter conveyed a young boy's voice indirectly. Alex Flinn with Beastly is another book we've both enjoyed and let's not forget dual authors Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl who wrote Beautiful Creatures.All have captured a realistic teenage male voice.

But as I researched information while writing this post, I've noticed that men don't get the same flack as female authors do. Perhaps male authors have it easier, If written well from a female's perspective; They are praised endlessly about how they are able to see two sides of one coin, but if a female author attempts and fails, some readers begin to believe that a woman has a much harder time of convincing readers that her Hero is as masculine and authentic as she sees him . I've heard horror stories of male readers calling female authors not as talented as our male counterparts. Even to go as far as saying that the reason why women prefer sexually ambiguous pen names is because a female looking name can't sell books.

I keep asking myself will it really matter if we capture our characters voice to the point where it's believable. After all we're writing for our character Sterling Wayfairer's voice, not all male voices.  We have to be true to HIS voice and I hope and pray future readers respond well to him.

To other female aspiring authors that seem to be having similar problems, Here are some tips to help capture your inner "male"voice

1. Get to the point. Most guys don't skate around issues. They tend to be more direct and forward. Unless they're a little insecure and unsure of themselves, chances are they're going to come out and say things instead of beating around the bush.

2. Hold off on the details. And I don't mean don't describe anything at all. I just mean as women we tend to go overboard with descriptions.Just observe the way guys give out directions. Men use simple phrases( e.g go straight, turn left, make two rights)whereas women use landmarks and colors( e.g turn at the blue house). Turquoise becomes "blue" in the eyes of a guy and lean will sometimes be just plain ole skinny.So unless you're describing a designer sports car or particular spot on a women's body, try not to get lost in description.

3. Men tend to see with their eyes, whereas women see with their hearts. That's not to say guys dont "feel" anything but us women are more emotionally driven and men are more logically driven. Their instincts are to fix things, our instincts are to share things. Especially when it comes to feelings.

4. Take in mind the social status/class, background, lifestyle and values your male character has, because all these things can come into play when developing your character.

Hope these tips help you on your journey to creating realistic male characters =)


  1. Thanks for the follow, you have an interesting blog.
    Lisa from I Feel So Unnecessary.

  2. Thanks for following me--I'm following back!
    I really like your blog. I too am an aspiring author. Hopefully we can inspire each other!

    J.B. :)

  3. I do not think it is important if the book is written by a male or female author. It matters if the character is true and believable as a human being and not as a boy or as a girl. I am writing a little, too, and I found out that for me writing a boys voice is easier than writing a girls voice. I do not know why, maybe it's because I grew up with boys... I think there are not enough boys in YA today.
    When I review a book, I review only the book and not the author :)



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