When I was in high school I was very active in drama. (I know … such a surprise right? LOL!) When I was on stage I got to become anyone. A fat Russian spy. A traveling dancer entertaining a MASH unit. A woman married to a murderer. I loved it!

Being an author is a lot like acting on stage. When I write a scene I crawl into the skin of that character. Burrow into their heads and think like them. And I really enjoy writing from the man’s point of view (POV). Many female authors I read are very good at creating flawed male characters who rise above their pain and backgrounds to save the world and fall in love.

And I started thinking about this. Why are women so good at this? I think it’s because we’ve spent so much of our lives studying the opposite sex. It starts at a young age with our dads. When I wanted something–to borrow the car or stay out past curfew–I knew when to ask my dad and when not to broach the subject. I also grew up with three brothers. There’s a lot you learn with three male siblings as they go about their days just doing guy things.

I realize not every writer grew up with their dad or male siblings. But it doesn’t matter your home life, every day we interact with others. From the playground to the classroom to the office, we connect with both sexes. And since most women are intuitive, we pick up on little nuances of behavior that most men don’t see or recognize. Writers simply learn how to extrapolate that information and turn it into a believable hero readers fall in love with.

Here are a few guidelines in writing a male POV:
Men aren’t complicated
– They don’t say one thing and mean another
– They don’t mask their thoughts
– They are what you see

Men are Visual
– They have better light detection and depth perception
– Conversations often stem from visual cues
– Sexual attraction starts with what he’s seeing

Men are Problem Solvers
– They are “doers” not “thinkers”
– They like being in charge (or think they are)
– They rarely admit being wrong (and it’s even more rare they apologize)
– They aren’t detail oriented. They prefer the big picture
– They rarely ask for opinions

Men are conservative in communication
– They speak around 7,000 words per day (Women are more around 20,000)
– Connect to the physical rather than the emotional
– Don’t use euphemisms
– They rarely listen without giving advice
– Don’t use adjectives
– Don’t enjoy small talk
– Rarely use agreeing noises (uh huh, oh yeah)

(Any major characteristics I missed?) So what about you? Do you think female writers create believable heroes who act like real men OR do they create men who act and talk the way a romance reader would want a man to act? What do you think? I’m always curious about stuff like that.

14 Responses to Sometimes It’s A Man’s World

  • Men are definitely problem solvers. if I want to talk to the hubby, but don’t want a solution, I have to tell him up front I’m not looking for him to solve the issue, only listen. In other words…”I’m venting!”

    And as an overanalyzier I had to realize that men do say what they mean and nothing more.

    • LOL! That is so true, Amber. I’ve learned to preface my downloads to Mr. Nina with “don’t solve this, it’s not that kind of a problem”.

  • You summed it up very nicely Nina. You should teach a class on how men think and respond.


    • Tmonique – I don’t think they like to hear it, but the fact is, men really aren’t that complicated. It really is “what you see is what you get”. Thanks so much for stopping over.

  • I am an analyzer too, and it’s hard to accept men don’t usually have an underlying meaning to what they say. (But, some do.) Heck yeah, I think we’re great at writing heroes. I grew up with two brothers and a dad, and all male cousins except for one girl. Then, I had sons. I don’t think any man likes that we can figure them out.

    • Mary – LOL! No, I don’t think they like the fact that they are so predictable. And more … I think they wish women weren’t so complex! Thanks so much for stopping by.

  • Brilliant, Nina. Besides… women are more observant. It’s just a fact.

    • Julia – I really do think it’s our observation that makes it so easy for us to write our male characters. We definitely see so much more than men. It’s wired into our DNA as survival instincts when we were watching off-spring and gathering herbs. (That whole multi-tasking thing.)

  • Great post Nina. I love writing from the male POV. It’s funny. My male characters always come to me first. What do you thing that means…LOL?

    • Marie Rose – LOL! The “clean” version? That you’re observant and know what kind of man makes a great hero! (Don’t ask for the naughty version. 😉 )

  • You hit the nail on the head, Nina. After being married for thirty-five years and having two sons and now a grandson, it’s clear to me that men are predictable, problem solvers,straight forward and love thinking their in charge. lol

    I love writing from the male point of view! Just sayin’

    • Catherine – I wish more men read romance novels. I’d love to know if all of us who enjoy writing from the heroes POV actually hit the nail on the head or if they’re really a woman’s version of men. (But I suspect we’re right on the money.)

  • Your comments are right on. Although I’ve known men in my life (unfortunately NOT my husband) who were a lot more than you give credit for here, I also admit that if I used them as role models for my heroes, for sure some readers would tell me they were unbelievable. I love writing from the male POV and find it a whole lot easier than from the female POV, for all the reasons you mention turned upside down. Women often don’t say what they mean, beat around the bush to avoid coming right out with things that someone might take offense at, or admit to feelings or thoughts that might be seen as inappropriate. And because they are complicated and base their reactions on emotions and non-visual cues, it makes it harder to create a female character who is consistent throughout.

    • Skye – I think readers are a lot tougher on our heroines as well because the are women. Which means we really do have a difficult job in creating a believable woman in our stories. Complicated indeed.

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