The Feminine Touch

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Cross-gender writing is nothing new. When Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel, Jane Eyre, (1847) was published under Bronte’s non-gendered pen name, Currer Bell, huge arguments broke out in Victorian England as to whether or not the author was male or female. One heavy-hitting critic voted male because the novel reflected a “manly” prose. I like to think that some hundred seventy years later, we’ve come a long way.

All of this is to say that I, a male, don’t feel too uncomfortable writing a novel with a female protagonist. For point of view, I’m using third person limited. The protagonist is a public-school biology teacher. She’s twenty-five, moderately good-looking, intelligent, and single.

I realize that creating a protagonist whose gender is opposite of one’s own can be tricky business. A huge mistake any writer can make is to think: “Hey, this is easier than I thought.” At that point, one may well be dancing blindly on the rim of a volcano. Complacency is the writer’s greatest enemy.

I’m stuck in my own hetero-sexual male culture, but not so deep that I’m unable to contemplate the infinite intricacies of the feminine heart. Isn’t that a brave thing to say? Here’s a quick story, a true story, to explain…or confuse.

From the time I entered the first grade up to at least the fourth grade, my older sister, Mary, always combed my hair before school. It wasn’t that I couldn’t do it myself, but it was one of those unquestioned school-morning rituals. She did this in what we called the “big” bathroom, a capacious well-lit room situated midway in a hallway that connected two large bedrooms. The “little” bathroom, on the other hand, was a tiny space crunched in a corner next to the kitchen.

In the “big” bathroom, a large wall mirror loomed over the lengthy linoleum counter, a veritable runway loaded with feminine paraphernalia: perfume, lotions, lipstick, salves, creams, powders, tissues, jewelry, brushes, combs, clasps of all sorts and colors. Half-opened drawers with soft silky scarves poofed over the edge, colorful ribbons, and golden boxes of glittering things.

Centered before the mirror, I sat on a cushioned stool. I think I was eight or nine years old. My slim, pretty sister stood behind me and combed my hair. One morning just as she finished, she gazed at my reflected image and said, “You would have been a pretty girl.”

Now one may think I would have been shocked at such a pronouncement, but I wasn’t. My “boy-ness” wasn’t being questioned. She simply made an impromptu remark that probably came as much from my quiet nature, as opposed to my resistant-to-grooming younger sister, Rosalea, (pronounced: Rosa-lee.) Also, it wasn’t so much what she had said, but that it was a girl, my sister, who said it. Had another boy said that to me, it would have been an instant fight. But it was a girl, my sister—someone I respected and in my little brotherly way: loved. The point being: I never forgot that moment.

Growing up in the heavily patriarchal 50s, my sister’s observation was an epiphany. I was a nice enough looking young boy, with a boy’s penchant for getting dirty, getting into scrapes, and not tying my shoe laces properly, a fact that drove my mother up the wall, but suddenly I was handed this rare gem: a comment that invited me towards that vague and strange place—the feminine spirit. I believe this was a seminal moment in the formation of my writerly-self. I did not for an instance think I was a girl, but in the deep recesses of shadowy, synaptic thought, my sister had ignited an inquisitive spark that would fuel a lifetime fascination and abiding respect for the world of the female.

We writers are a curious bunch…that may be one of the reasons we tend not to be so great in school. Curiosity demands a great deal of freedom, of looseness, of imagination. None of these are promoted in the left-brained classroom. And, it is a phenomenon that is quite often satisfied by informally listening to others.

I spent many pleasurable moments as Chair of an English Department, sitting behind the office desk, listening to students, often females, talking about their plans, their hopes, their fears. Most of our majors were young African-American women. Talking with them was always interesting—and for me, it was a continuous learning process. I still remember the one young lady who after talking about her latest boyfriend, turned and gazed out the window and said in a matter-of-fact voice, “If I were a man, I’d treat myself a lot better than I do as a woman.” I still ponder that remark.

Not so long ago, my wife and I were sitting outside having a glass of wine. We had just come back from Japan and were talking about our trip. She recounted how much her Japanese friends liked me. She finally said, “You know, it would be great if you could be Japanese, but you can’t—no more than I can be American.” It’s true.

It’s also true that even though I “may have been a pretty girl,” I can’t be a girl, no more than I can be Japanese. All of us writers, push boundaries, but we can only go so far.

Writing a novel with a female protagonist is not easy. I still struggle with particulars, but memory and experience serve me well, and of course there’s all of my incredible female blogging friends!

But allow me this one question for all blogging men and women. What issues do you face when writing across gender lines? Does writing about males and/or females in YA novels, adult novels, or non-fiction give you pause? Do you wonder if you’re off track somehow? How do you research? Let me know. I look forward to your ideas and remarks.

63 thoughts on “The Feminine Touch

  1. Tina Williams

    Hi Paul, I think you’ll do fine. I don’t worry so much about gender–I think I can get enough into a man’s head for the sake of a story. Rather, it’s age groups I worry about. What the heck do I know about being a millenial, or a baby boomer, or being 95 years old? Or how someone lived and thought in the 18th century? Except externals, I don’t, so I have to do some research. Interview my 20-something step-children, talk to the teenagers I work with at the store, listen to my 81 year old mother’s stories. Try to understand their mindset. It’s hard stepping into someone else’s experience. But that’s what we writers love doing! And really, everyone, no matter age or gender, is a unique human being, and so we have a lot of room to work with. There are manly women and sensitive men, wise children and immature adults. Long story short, any character you create will be believable, as long as they’re consistent.

    Liked by 9 people

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    1. Paul Post author

      Good point, Tina, and well stated. I agree that talking and listening to others is the key to the writer’s ability to create believable characters. The age factor is really tough. I hadn’t thought about that, but you are right…especially when one moves out of one’s generation. I’m okay with the older bunch…but those millennials…OMG! Nevertheless, the “uniqueness” you mentioned is ultimately what saves us. That is so true. Thank you so much for such an insightful reply.

      Liked by 3 people

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      1. michnavs

        I can totally relate to the “age thing”…its really difficult to reach out to younger generation now..but obe good thing for me is that I have young children who someone helps me with that delima..

        Liked by 3 people

      2. michnavs

        I can totally relate to the “age thing”…its really difficult to reach out to younger generation now..but obe good thing for me is that I have young children who someone helps me with that delima..

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Storyteller

    Jane Eyre is one of my favourite reads (i never thought it felt manly).

    As writers we live, feel and breath the characters we create and that’s what makes them so relatable.Also, we are heavily influenced by the people around us or what we have read/heard/seen mostly things that are in the subconscious.

    xx Storyteller

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    1. Paul Post author

      Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. Yeah, the Victorians culture, generally speaking operated in a heavy-handed patriarchal manner. And as we know, a good bit of that mind-set still lingers in our hi-tech world. I think you are exactly right. The ability to move into our character’s spirit is what makes the writing believable. Thank you so much storyteller for reading and sharing. 🙂

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  3. daleydowning

    I love this whole commentary.

    Writing across gender-lines *is* hard. I’ve tried writing a first-person narration from a man’s POV, and it was *tough*. Simply because I am not a man, and some things I’ll just never see/think/experience in the same way. And you’re right, while we don’t have to adhere to stereotyped/sexist ideas of “what gender means,” it, indeed, is like growing up in a nation/culture that views certain things in such a way that trying to relate to a very different perspective of something in, say, another country, may be near-impossible. I totally agree with the Japanese/American POV theory.

    The only success I’ve had at a gender-cross tale was a short story, and that was partly because the focus of the plot/narration was tailored and to the point of that particular incident. Thinking about how my male (3rd person) narrator would think about his current and past circumstances in an over-reaching way, not intimately. Things that a lot of people of different backgrounds could relate to. I don’t imagine I’ll ever try a whole novel just from a male perspective. The few sections I have in Volume 1 that take up the narration from a male character’s POV were tricky enough.

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  4. exoticnita54

    As far as I’m concerned and from that little excerpt.. you do a great job…
    although I can understand your struggles in trying to think with the mind of a girl..

    I have to try my hand on writing a fictional story..
    I bet I would be horrible.. I lack imagination and the art of putting a story together..

    You are such a gifted writer Paul…
    with such a great imagination for story telling…

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  5. lyncrain

    Reblogged this on lyncrain and commented:
    I chuckled reading this because many times in my youth, my brother would say to me you are so much better at being a boy than I am. I disappoint Dad as a son and you disappoint Mom asa daughter.
    I try to draw on my tomboy times writing male characters. It’s not easy. I find it easier to discuss situations with male friends or to go to male oriented events and absorb all that I can about their reactions.

    Liked by 4 people

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    1. Paul Post author

      It’s fascinating, and what an insight from your brother, but I think we as young people weren’t so hung up on social mores and standards. But I do believe society, generally speaking, has come a long way to broaden its vision of gender…thank god!
      Thanks Lyn for reading and sharing. Your thoughts are so important to me.

      Liked by 1 person

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  6. lyncrain

    Hi Paul,
    Gender issues and time periods are challenging for me. What I’ve found helpful is reading articles about the time and then looking at a couple of movies so I can see the clothing. But then I seek different age male friends to discuss all I’ve read and saw to pick their brains.
    One of my writing friends swears by doing in depth character development with every possible question asked a writer can be any gender. It’s just knowing the right questions to ask.
    I love. Jane Eyre. I never thought of her writing as manly, but then I look at some of Shelley’s poems and wonder if he was trying to write as a female because his voice is more feminine than masculine.

    I enjoyed this post very much. Thank you for a great morning read with my ☕️. Lyn

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  7. Bea dM

    Your insightful post approaches the subject from both an emotional and intellectual point of view, and does a good job of pointing out the difficulties of cross gender writing. Like Tina Williams I feel the generation factor is also daunting.

    Liked by 5 people

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    1. Paul Post author

      Thank you for reading and sharing. I think Tina’s point is well-taken, indeed. I know that one thing I have to resist in my own thinking is that young people now-a-days think as I did fifty years ago…big mistake! 🙂

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  8. Rachel McKee

    In the YA novel that I wrote (and have shelved for now) I wrote briefly in first-person as Brian my male protagonist. It was hard and at times didn’t feel authentic, but I also liked the challenge. In fact, because writing as a male required more attention, I think his narrative was some of my best writing.

    I really enjoyed this post. Especially your observation about why we as writers tend to do poorly in school. We are constantly observing nature, relationships,interactions.

    Liked by 5 people

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    1. Paul Post author

      How interesting. I think the “challenge” of writing in the “other” gender is a healthy exercise. It forces us to think to really concentrate. I absolutely agree. Thanks for reading Rachel…and oh, the school thing. I was a poor student in high school and college. In college for the first two years I was on academic probation. It wasn’t until I started work on my Master’s that I finally caught on how to study. Of course then as an English major all I had to do was read. 🙂

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  9. Cynthia Guenther Richardson

    This was one of the best and most interesting posts of yours I have thus far read. Thank you for such fine writing and topic. Loved the personal anecdote and how you felt about it then and still do now. I think that was a bit brave of you.
    I do think about gender and age as I write. I think most of my male viewpoints are apt to come from those I have known, of course–two brothers and father, uncles, good friends, love interests and husbands and so on. They are similar in many ways and quite different in others and yet oh, so male. How can I define these male facets and layers in a character? I observe everyone closely that i see, trying to not look as if I am doing so, of course. And just plunge in, let it happen and hope for the best whole being mindful, as well.
    I nearly FEEL the maleness as I write with a character/he begins to speak and move and unveil the tale. But it is that way as with female characters. Everyone is unique, right? It is so often beyond our command when writing. I worry more that characters may somehow seem like clones of one another. But this is flaw of my adventurous impulses, a lack of risk taking more richly or openly, not specific to gender or age concerns.
    The point of all this is that you have made us think more deeply about it. That is the teacher in you and how good to ponder this with others. I will see what happens as I pay attention to the world stage full of men and women as well as my own experiences, imaginings, and the demanding craft of writing.

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    1. Paul Post author

      Thank you so much Cynthia for the kind words and insightful comment. I know exactly what you mean when you say you “feel the maleness.” Keats called it “negative capability.” I am convinced the ability to enter into a character’s feelings and voice is, to a great degree, the measure of a good writer. I wrote a story a few years ago with a fifteen year old boy protagonist, and even now I can recall the joy of writing that narrative. I felt young with a young boy’s energy.

      Regarding the “facets and layers in a character,” I agree wholeheartedly with what you say. I find myself, as inconspicuously as possible, studying people: the checkout lady at Publix Grocery, my neighbor working in his yard, leaning on his shovel, the UPS man handing me my latest Amazon book order and then asking about the new white fence around our front yard. All of these impressions go into the what Beowulf calls “my word-hoard.” Eventually one begins to see the weave of humanity in a single person. Oh and that’s when it really gets interesting! 🙂

      Thank you again for reading and responding.

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. Cynthia Guenther Richardson

        Terrific reply. We are in total agreement on all this. Enjoyed your examples, as well. Isn’t being a writer wonderful? Alchemy of a unique sot, a passageway into our collective consciousness and a bridge to other hearts and souls. (That does sound a bit much…but I guess I believe it!) Best to you and yours–your wife sounds lovely, as well.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Paul Post author

      Whoa! I think I missed them. :-).

      But Typing I. OMG! I had to take it as a senior because I needed one extra credit. I hated it, but as it has turned out, that course has been the most useful of all. What can I say? 🙂

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  10. calmkate

    Great post, enjoyed your perspective but as I am not a writer i defer to the above comments. Used to be very active on TED conversations and used ‘another’ name … it actually meant female energy in another language. As you may have noted I am comfortable expressing my opinion … well a few years in and an incident arose where I said something about being a woman. I was sincerely shocked at the uproar it provoked … most people had thought of me as male?!?

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    1. Paul Post author

      That’s interesting. I actually had a few bloggers who thought I was female because before I changed it, I used my email address paulabroome as my user name. Many folks thought I was Paula instead of Paul. Even though my pic shows what looks like a guy…I guess! :-/. The whole gender question is sooo interesting. Your example is really good. It would make for a great story!
      Thanks again for reading and responding.

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  11. laura bruno lilly

    I had an interesting ‘editing’ gig one year where I was hired to read a mss with an eye to dissect each rendering of the female characters – each gesture, wardrobe description, observations of other activities, etc; and of course dialogue and choice of words. Sooooo cool to be a part of tweaking a (male) author’s cast! I’d have to say he did an admirable job of portraying/using these females in a convincing manner. All I did was add & subtract a few things here and there.
    I think the main reason he was close to being ‘spot-on’ was due to his use of female characters as characters…not just gender-stick-people acting out roles in his novel.
    Just my 2 cents!

    Liked by 4 people

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    1. Paul Post author

      And a good “two cents” it is! Thank you so much and what a cool job. Your assessment of the author’s depiction of females is perceptive. I remember YEARS ago reading a critical essay on Tolstoy’s characters in War and Peace. The critic mentioned the detail that Tolstoy used so effectively to delineate characters, to make each person unique and true. I never forgot that and I think it is one of the keys to successfully writing out a character’s, male or female, personality and habits, or as you well put it, “convincing manners.”
      Again thanks for responding1 🙂

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  12. Jessica M

    I have to say that my main characters are very nearly 50/50 male/female in the first person. The first time I began a story from a male POV, I definitely questioned how “masculine” it would come across. The solution I discovered was to realize that while men/women are different, the common denominator was feelings. We all feel the same hurts, the same joys, the same frustrations, and in essence, we’re all in control of how we react to emotions. And everyone has a different personality and means of coping. As long as my male MC reacted in a human way, I let go of wondering if it was “macho” enough.

    Now in retrospect, I think my male characters are more interesting than my female ones. While I hate to admit this, I have an inkling that my female characters all carry a piece of me in them — and my male characters do not. I enjoy writing male MCs and should I ever come across a wonder about how a “man” would behave, I don’t have to go far to find an opinion! I grew up with brothers and though now blessed with two daughters (yes, I wondered how in the world I’d manage THAT, being that I considered myself a tomboy growing up!), I think I’m not too much at a loss when it comes to some aspects of the male psyche!

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    1. Paul Post author

      Thank you Jessica for such an interesting response. You make a valid point. Ultimately we are all humans. You know one thing that has come across is the numerous aspects of any character: gender, race, class, personality, so forth and so on. I agree if we keep our characters true to feelings in a given situation then we’re probably on the right track. And of course our own feelings as we have moved through life experiencing personal gender issues of our own.
      Thank you so much. It’s always a great pleasure to hear from you. 🙂

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  13. Miss Gentileschi

    What a very interesting post, Paul! I enjoyed reading every word of it as well as the comments! I was always baffled by the notion that the Victorians really believed the author of Jane Eyre to be male 😉 But then it was only what they were taught to expect. There are many talented writers who master the cross-gender thing perfectly, and I always believe that it has to do with real empathy and the ability to observe. Many people watch, few really see. I´m only writing a little fictional story that I´m posting once a month (“My Slightly Different Count Dracula”), but it is mostly from the male POV and so far I had no difficulties with it. But then my character is a little strange in its own right so that might explain it 😉 Have a great Sunday! Sarah 🙂

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    1. Paul Post author

      Female writers in the Victorian era worked under severe restraints. Research on female writers is made difficult from the fact that many women used pen names, because they had to hide the fact that the were writing from their husbands. Writing, in the minds of many husbands was not the proper task for a wife.

      I’m going to check out your Dracula story as well. In fact I’ve made a note to do so and got side-tracked…easy for me! But thanks again and happy Sunday to you as well!

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      1. Miss Gentileschi

        It was the same for female artists. There were of course a few women who painted but there were many restraints as to the subjects they were allowed to paint.
        It´s one of the best achievements of our era that most women can now write, paint or do whatever it is they want to do without having to endure the same restriction as in past times.
        Thank you for wanting to check out on my Dracula story! 😀 It might be different from what you expect 😉
        Have a lovely First of May, Paul! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  14. Lovely

    “All of this is to say that I, a male, don’t feel too uncomfortable writing a novel with a female protagonist. For point of view, I’m using third person limited. The protagonist is a public-school biology teacher. She’s twenty-five, moderately good-looking, intelligent, and single.” — I think she is relatable! Why do I see myself on the character! haha XD

    Way to go, Paul! Hello there! How are you? It seems like you are very busy writing your novel. It’s a good thing that you gave a hint what it is all about. I think it won’t be strange for you to write about a female lead. The way you converse with female bloggers with me gives me a feeling that you understand how a female mind works somehow. 😀 I am confident that you will do great! Please do update me when you finish ok?
    To be honest, I can’t answer your questions about novel writing because I don’t have experience writing fiction. Nevertheless, All I wish you is the best of everything. 😀
    Stay in Touch Paul!~

    Your Blogger Friend, Lovely~

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    1. Paul Post author

      Dear Lovely,
      I am so happy to hear from you! Well, maybe I had you in mind when I imagined my main character! 🙂
      But to tell the truth, I have so much to learn. Writing for me is so very important. It will be my legacy to the world, so I have to try to reach out to as many people as I can.
      I will definitely keep you updated. Thank you so much, Lovely, for the great support. Yes, I will stay in touch!
      Oh, and how are you doing with your teaching job? I hope all is going well. Let me know.
      Paul

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      1. Lovely

        hahaha…🙈🙈🙈 really?
        I dont really deserve to be the inspiration for this novel.😂
        yep yep a legacy to the world.
        yay! you are welcome..😀

        He recently resigned on the montessori school i am working last april and i am hired now in an international school…😀😀😀 officially… i am an English teacher..😀😀😀

        Liked by 2 people

  15. jrose88

    I have an easier time writing a male character than I do writing a female character who’s super into makeup and clothes and shoes shoes shoes, because I’ve never been that kind of woman. I strongly dislike the texture-feel of makeup on my face, I don’t like anything going near my eyeballs (be it mascara, eyeliner, or contacts), and I think Carrie in Sex in the City is insane for how much money she regularly drops on shoes… even when, at one point, she realizes she can’t afford to buy her apartment. And she still wants to go shoe shopping! I just, I can’t even.

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  16. M. Miles

    When I was younger, I wrote almost exclusively from a male perspective. I never stopped to consider why until a friend (one of the few whom I allowed to read my writing) brought it to my attention. The revelation caught me completely off guard, but when I thought about it, it didn’t surprise me.

    I had always been intensely tomboyish. Nothing insulted me more than being given a pink gift or, heaven forbid, having to wear a dress. I even had some snobby opinions of my own about the feminine world. Too sentimental. Too fussy. Too fragile. I valued the opposite traits, which I thought men possessed (toughness and rationality being the most important).

    Over time, my outward resistance to being a girl relaxed, but I still clung to my “masculine” values. I continued to think that emotional expression was a form of girly weakness. And then–salvation from an unlikely corner. I met some men who were in touch with their feminine side! They showed me that sensitivity and artistic whims and romantic daydreams weren’t weak, girly impulses but were, instead, traits that added depth to any person’s character–whether male or female.

    Today, my writing tends to be divided 50-50 between male and female perspectives. The things that remain constant are character traits rather than gender. I tend to write about sensitive people who overthink things!

    I’m actually not sure what the final conclusion to be drawn from this little epistle is, but I thought you might enjoy the strange case of the girl who writes from a male perspective.

    Thanks for the thought provoking post! It took me write down memory lane!

    Liked by 3 people

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    1. Paul Post author

      Hey Miles,
      Thanks for reading and the great response. It is fascinating to wonder about what is it, what forces, (nurture vs. nature) made us who we are. Our biological father died when I was five, I remember very little of him. Our mother was strict but not in a physical way. It was simply inconceivable not to do what she said do. I like the phrase you use–“masculine” values. I think that notion is at the heart of a person’s vision. What changes perhaps the most is the social construct that surrounds us. A girl two hundred years ago would have been put into a convent if she exhibited masculine values. And God help the man who exhibited feminine values. Of course the whole “value” system is beyond understanding. So all of that is to say, I think you’re strange at all! 🙂
      From one strange human to another! Have a great day! 🙂
      Again thanks for the wonderful response.

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  17. The Bookish girl

    Thank you for this interesting post of yours. I may not be of any help at all because I just realized that I haven’t ever written from a male perspective. I always write from my perspective. And lately it is getting a little boring I guess. Your post just gave me a kick to try my hands on it. So, this is just me thanking you.
    And writing from someone else’s mindset is always difficult, that too being of another gender or age group adds on to the difficulty severity. But you write very well and I am sure you will overcome your difficulties.

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  18. Paul Post author

    I agree. The intuitive factor, I think, is often the golden child in the gender writing endeavor. We have to pay attention to that true inner voice. It never fails.
    Thank you, Karina, for reading and sharing.

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  19. Deb

    We are all human first, I would approach my character from that angle and then the fact that it’s a female get overly complicated and overly emotional, cause we do that really well!! 😉 Seriously men are very simple, in a good way, and uncomplicated. When we ask you “what are you thinking” and you answer “nothing”, it’s the truth, but we never believe you. We believe you have to be thinking something deep and complicated and emotional cause we are. Aren’t you thinking about us and our love and our relationship and and and…see now there’s some fodder for your protagonist! hehe I think you are an excellent writer Paul and you will put the perfect spin on your characters, whether they be male or female! Here’s to your female protagonist. 🙂

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  20. Moushmi Radhanpara

    Jane Eyre is one of my favourite books and ypur post may have just helped me decide which book to read next.
    I cannot say or advice to you on how to write as the other gender but the fact that you are writing as a woman being a man is a great effort.
    I wish you all the luck for this.
    Much love.

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  21. dweezer19

    I have always identifies with the males in my life and raised four sons, so writing from that perspective isn’t difficult. My concern is how it will be received publicly if I do it accurately.

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Paul Post author

      You hit the proverbial nail on the head. It’s definitely the reception. As writers, we want the reader to accept the truth of our writing, of our characters and their motivation be it a female or male.
      Thank you again for reading and responding.

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  22. Idle Muser

    Hey Paul!
    By the end of this comment I doubt I’d be of any help to you, but this post of yours was definitely an insightful read to an amateurish writer and reader like me. I loved it. 🙂
    ‘At that point, one may well be dancing blindly on the rim of a volcano. Complacency is the writer’s greatest enemy.’ – my favorite lines of the whole post. I, also, liked the smooth flow that connected your thoughts along with a short-story of your childhood without letting the readers realize it. 😀
    I haven’t tried to write a story with a male as a protagonist as yet but the task is there in my to-do list. Being a dad’s daughter, a brother’s sister, and few boys’ friend, I think I do have a fair idea about the way men’s/boys’ mind psychology work, but again, writing story is not about what is there in my mind but what is out there on my computer’s screen. Let’s hope the day I attempt to have a shot with a male protagonist goes well!

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    1. Paul Post author

      Thank you for. the wonderful reply, Aditi. I think you’ve hit on an important point that is, the family culture out of which one grows. You had a strong male presence and I would be willing to bet that if you tried your writerly hand at a male protagonist, you’d do quite well. 🙂

      I’m going strong on my novel and what’s interesting is how my female protagonist is developing as a person with a distinct personality as she interacts with other folks. It’s the “other” folks who help create the single character. Does that make any sense? Ha! At any rate, thanks again for the kind words and I hope you have a great day. Oh, if you want to try an interesting writing exercise with gender, then write a short narrative that features a male and a female. It can be boyfriend/girlfriend or son/mother or brother/sister. Write the narrative from one point of view: the female’s. For instance you could start with: “I’ll never understand my boyfriend. He’s so self-centered. It’s always about him.” The narrative could be about a break-up or some conflict between the two, but it must be from the female point of view. Then when done, switch it around and respond to the narrative with the male’s point of view. it’s a fascinating exercise that easily gets you into the male mind. It might even jump start your novel with a male protagonist. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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      1. Idle Muser

        Oh sure sure, Paul! This is a wonderful exercise, indeed.
        Though I had crafted a short story in past which had a proportionate combination of viewpoints of both male and female; nothing sort of a male dominant POV. I’m pretty excited to get my hand-on on such a story though. 😀
        Thanks for the advice. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  23. lavendermoongirlblog

    Hi Paul. I would love to read your book because I think you have a great idea of what the ‘feminine touch’ is actually about! Good luck! At school and work I was often in trouble for being ‘dreamy’ , staring into space, not paying attention etc, when I was actually creating poems, pictures and stories in my head and was fully aware what was going on around me. Creative types are often misinterpreted!

    Liked by 1 person

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  24. JoHanna Massey

    What an interesting/brave post, Paul. And the commentary following is just as engaging. I think the awareness of the challenge of writing in a different gender than you personally identify is half the challenge gone. In your case having sisters surly helps. This is just an excellent piece. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  25. Smitha V

    Hi Paul, I love Jane Eyre. Had the book as a text in school and don’t remember thinking of it as masculine. Haven’t come close to writing a book so wouldn’t be able to comment on your dilemma but reading your post and all the comments on this post was extremely insightful. Hopefully you have forged ahead with your characters by now🙂.

    Liked by 1 person

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