If you have been in a situation where you need to write with a male voice (if you are female) how well did you think you did?
The only way I was able to tell was male critters telling me they liked my male protagonist. I figured that if he sounded female, they would not like him as much.
Thinking like a man is unnatural for a woman, so how can it be done? Here are some tips. Of course, it is wrong to say all males are this way. It would be like saying millions of males act the same way. However, there are common tendencies that mark men as different from women.
Most males tend to think in deadlines, action and fixes. It is as simple as that.
Males spell out their feelings only when the action requires it and it serves a purpose. They will not say “I love you” if it is not absolutely necessary. A male does not cry unless he is pushed to the extreme limit.
When I wrote my novel Book Riders, I asked a female Beta what she thought about the first chapters. The first chapters were needed to understand the story, but they stood out from the rest of the story which really started on chapter 3. She said it was a good idea to use it in a prologue. Since I have never seen a prologue in Middle Grade, I could not do this, but I was glad she agreed with me. That helped me think of another way to fix this problem. I asked a male what he thought about my idea of introducing a prologue in MG. He did not answer personally; he just showed me the positive and negative points in having a prologue. He probably thought he was helping, but he did not give me his opinion. I thought that was typical. A male does not give his opinion; his opinion is irrelevant; he would go towards a neutral answer. He does not involve himself emotionally. Why should he?
Think about when two men meet. They usually talk about work and tech or politics or sport teams. They go for facts and figures.
Men writers are usually easy to spot.
They write stories based on the actions of the protagonists. The feelings and emotions of the protagonists are usually absent. There is no introspection or the introspection is very limited and the action is often extreme.
That is because men have a harder time to get in touch with their emotions or give a name to their feelings and emotions. That's because they do not talk about their feelings and emotions; they live them.
There is a reason why few men read romance and many women do.
Men do not ramble (they say one thing once and for all) and they do not like to show that they are vulnerable. They stay away from any situation where they have to make decisions or change people's opinion, unless they feel they have no other choice. And they will choose reason over emotion.
So how did I write my male voice?
I chose to write Tim as unconcerned and when he is faced with Thalia, the other main character, he tries to support her but does not understand or does not seem to care about her inner conflicts. He proposes quick fixes to her or ask her questions, but does not reveal what he thinks personally. He sees the deadlines, the clock ticking and for him it is a waste of time to ramble about what can’t be fixed. He pushes her toward the next step until he feels comfortable where he is. He never analyzes the emotional impact of a situation and goes for action rather than wait.
Men are from Mars, Women from Venus by John Gray.