There have been quite a few people whom I’ve spoken to about writing, either writers or non-writers, who have asked me if I find it difficult to write from the male perspective as a main character. My answer is always no and they seem surprised at this.
There are a lot of authors who do write from the point of view of the opposite sex, so I find it interesting when speaking with other writers that some of them do find it a challenge and wonder how I’m able to do it. A lot of people describe me as very “feminine” or “girly”, but that’s just what they’re seeing on the outside. On the inside, I’m much more “gritty” and I feel almost genderless.
My answer to them is pretty simple: We’re all just people. I’m not silly enough to claim that there is no difference between men and women, but I do believe that there are differences within each gender that are greater because of personality types, different cultures, opposing ideals, etc. I’m probably more different, on some levels, than many other women than I am from a lot of men.
I guess that the best way to simplify my point to this post is that I relate best to those who are damaged in some way, but who are also idealists and enjoy talking/thinking about random, commonly viewed “useless” topics. This personality type can be difficult to find in real life, no matter which gender you are looking at, but they’re easy for me to write about.
It would be very challenging for me, at this point in my life, to write about a 40-something family woman with a glamorous career. I’d probably throw her into some sort of thriller scenario that would challenge her privileged sanity, but I still don’t think I’d get her down right. Not yet. The same would go for a man with a totally different persona from me, such as a sociopath business tycoon who likes to kill those who won’t close a business deal with him. But I’d like to get there one day maybe.
Right now, I’m all about writing for the under dogs, the near-suicidal wrecks or the bullied, traumatized young people who are trying to do the right thing and keep going. But I do want to be at the level where I’m open-minded enough to take any random character and be able to write them believably.
When writing as a dark, brooding male character, I can imagine that I am him as easily as I can imagine myself. I put on a different hat, as any writer does when they write about any character, and I become him as I’m writing.
So, this is my long, somewhat off-the-beaten-path answer to the writing in another gender question. I really don’t think we are all that different from one another – men and women, I mean. If we are different, it’s probably more of a personality/culture/socio-economic thing than a gender thing. That’s my belief, anyway.
In conclusion, I would say that as writers, it’s most important that we keep writing about what we’re passionate about. It’s good to challenge ourselves, of course, but write what you love, and if you love writing in one gender more than the other, stick with it! Don’t feel bad if you’re not into writing about someone of the opposite sex as the main character, but don’t rule it out either.
Do you find it difficult or easy to write in a different gender? Do you tend to stick with a certain theme for your characters? Be heard. :)