“That’s what he said”: 3 Concepts for Writing the Male POV #RSsos
Have you ever read a novel written from the male point of view so realistic it was hard to believe the author was a female?
I think this every time I read a novel by Suzanne Brockmann, Emma Chase, J.M. Darhower, Tiffany Reisz, and Helena Hunting, to name a few. Although I love writing from the male perspective, I find it to be very challenging.
So what’s the best way to develop male characters who are realistic, and intriguing, but without defaulting to the usual stereotypes?
After reading countless tips from several blogs, I narrowed down my list to three key concepts.
Dialogue and conversations are to the point. If a guy has something to say, then he’ll say it. Conversations are usually a means of exchanging information.
Also word choices are something to consider. Men typically don’t refer to something with flowery, expressive adjectives (i.e. marvelous, gorgeous) or give details of a woman’s clothing (i.e. crimson red A-line dress) unless this is specific to their role. They won’t describe something as being delightful, but more accurately as fine or okay.
There are many misconceptions about guys and emotions. Guys DO have feelings and emotions. They tend to push them down and choose not to discuss their problems with others. A good tip for writing a male POV is to explore their feelings and ask the tough “why” questions. For example, I wanted to know why my hero harbored so much resentment toward those who are wealthy? Did this stem from something that happened in his past or was it an outcome of his upbringing? Why was he so against accepting help from others?
Another key concept is to balance the internal and physical traits. Not every male character has to be the hunk with chiseled abs and bulging biceps. But even those guys need flaws and weaknesses. As a reader, it’s fun to peel away the layers, see their inner thoughts, and learn what drives them or what they fear most. Make him grow from those flaws.
Generally speaking, it takes a lot for guys to break down. Simply taking something away in a scene might elicit anger, but developing conflict that breaks them psychologically will elicit a stronger emotional reaction.
When making decisions, they tend to stick with their original decision. Changing their minds is viewed as a blow to the ego, giving the impression their first decision was a wrong one.
Men are typically problem-solvers and tackle situations with an action-orientated approach. If they perceive a problem, their first instinct is to fix it. Many times they prefer direct action over talking.
Regardless of what type of male character I choose to write, the biggest take away for me is to focus on developing the character first. Create an intriquing hero with depth – a person with goals, desires, and fears, as well as someone the reader can root for and emphasize with. The male characters who are complex and written with those traits always become the most memorable to me.
Do you have any tips for writing realistic male characters?
What are your favorite novels written from the male point of view?
Kaitlin Hillerich with guest Brett Michael Orr, How to Write from a Guy’s POV
Adrienne Giordano, Anatomy of the Male Mind: Women Writing in the Male POV
Roni Loren, Man Up: Writing Male POV
Keri Arthur, Male POV
Advanced Fiction Writing, On Writing Convincing Male Characters
S.A. Taylor: Sister of Southern Inspired Suspense