When writing any story, it is important to not only be conscious of the audience, but of our characters. The variations between men and women can have a major impact on a writer’s style. Men and women view the world around them differently, they react to situations differently and use language that is generally language specific. As Leigh Anne Jasheway puts it in her article, “How to Write Intriguing Male and Female Characters”: “Chances are, if you’re female, you write like a girl, and if you’re male, you write like a guy.” With audiences beginning to push for the dual perspective in books, wanting to be more rounded in the story than to be restricted to one point of view, it is becoming imperative to know how to write in both styles. Here are some tips from other writers on how to write the perspective of the opposite sex.
Be conscious of descriptions:
When illustrating a scene, it is important to remember how the opposite sex will describe their surroundings. A woman might look at a dress and think, “She had on a pearl white Vera Wang dress that accentuated the curve of her waist perfectly.” A man, however, would pay less attention to the name brand of the dress and its exact color. Writer Gail Mayer Martin says: “Men usually don’t know cotton from rayon and have no knowledge of colors other than the primary shades. To a man, red is red, while a woman calls it crimson or magenta or strawberry.”
Be conscious of emotional reactions:
When writing from the perspective of the opposite sex, it is important to pay attention to the emotional image of each gender. Typically women tend to include lengthier, emotional descriptions. They prefer to talk it out, rather than keep the emotions bottled up inside. With men, they are much more direct and to the point. Author Mary Connealy writes: “I often cut the guys’ dialogue several times to make it terse. Have them grunt on occasion. Have them think a whole bunch of stuff and then just say, ‘No.’”
Go to the source:
When in doubt, observation and research are key. Author Irene Hannon suggests reading books written for and by the opposite sex. If you’re wanting a male perspective, read a highly charged thriller written by John Grisham. If you’re wanting a woman’s perspective, read a romance novel. Books where the audience is primarily geared toward, and written for the opposite sex can offer insight into their thought processes and ideals. Lacy Williams, as well as several other authors, recommends listening to the way family members talk, how they handle different situations and what they say. Many wives writing from the male perspective will ask their husband for advice on a specific scene. This is a helpful tip for both men and women, which can be presented to members of their families and friends.