Writing Male Characters

Writing Male Characters

Writing a guy’s perspective when you’re a woman can be daunting. Men allegedly think differently, feel differently, and do things differently, so how do we write a male character and a male POV without making a caricature or unrealistic?

Some generalizations we can make are that men live in the present and do things one at a time. They will focus on what they’re doing and what is happening here and now, not thinking about a million different things while doing the task at hand. Men are also generally more action-oriented and much more likely to jump in and start doing what needs to be done rather than analyzing their feelings first. Men also state demands more than requests. When ordering at a restaurant, they’re much more likely to say “give me a Coke” as opposed to “I’d like a Coke, please.” They simply state their feelings and thoughts as well.

In dialogue, men get to the point sooner and may keep it simple. Your dialogue should reflect this. Use strong verbs when describing what your male characters are doing. Have him slam his drink down and stalk out, not just walk out. But keep in mind that men are people and their personality will shape what he says and does and how he says and does things more than his gender will.

Men often pride themselves on logic. They solve problems internally and usually without as much evaluating of their emotions. They find a step-by-step solution to each problem they’re faced with and act upon it. They don’t observe things the way women do either. Instead of remembering specifics they remember general impressions like “I like her” and “she was pretty,” but don’t focus on things like eye color to do so. Show Don’t Tell your male character’s feelings. Use gestures, body language, his actions, his dialogue, mannerisms, etc. to show how he feels. Most men aren’t as emotionally expressive as women are. It takes a lot to make them cry and they express emotions much less often than women do, besides anger.

The important thing to keep in mind as you write a male character is that you have to make them a person first with flaws, motivations, and goals that a reader can relate to. Do not use stereotypes that make a flat caricature of men or write an idealized, perfect version of a man. Write a real human being your readers will want to get to know. Just like women, males are complex and diverse and that should reflect in your writing.

These tips should help you get started writing male characters in your stories. Do you have any tips for writing male characters? Any horror stories of reading badly written male characters? Comment below and, as always, happy writing!

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