Sunday, April 29, 2012

Y is for Y Chromosome

(and how to write with one when you don't actually have one)

Most of you know I’ve working on the beast my current WIP for about a year and a half now. And if you’ve been around my blog long enough, you know that my story is told from an eighteen year old guy’s POV.

Thinking like a guy, talking like a guy. Seeing like a guy. Some of it’s easy. I’m around teen guys most of my day, I eavesdrop on their conversations, observe (and am often entertained by) their behavior. The “research” has helped me nail the dialogue and action, but those inner thoughts? What really goes on inside a guy’s head? And writing towards that without letting my feminine side slip in?

Now, that’s been the challenge.

I’ve written posts on the guy mindset here and here. Even a little bit here. I’ve blogged about what a challenge it is, but also how fun it is too. I love getting inside a guy’s head (insert TWSS here) And I've had to do that with most of my male secondary characters in previous stories by writing scenes from their POVs or dedicating page long docs to their inner thoughts.

But nothing full scale like for this current project.

So how do I get into a guy’s head? I mean, I guess I could whack a few friends in their ouchful areas or inject “bro” into my sentences as often as my daughter uses “like” in hers, but I don’t know that actually acting like my teenagers will help me to think like one.

So, here are just a few things I do

1) Talk to guys. Not about surface stuff. And get more than just a caveman answer to sensitive questions.

2) Read Copil’s Ask a Dude posts at YA Confidential. REAL guy insight to why men are the way they are. Be prepared to laugh. A lot.

3) Creep some walls Read status updates.

4) Have a football team’s worth of male beta and critique partners—ones I know will give me honest feedback.

5) Watch movies like The Hangover and Varsity Blues. Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Ferris Bueller. Rudy. SO many good ones.

6) Ask my husband questions. He’s about as BOY as they get.

And the BIGGIE

7) READ. Books from a guy’s POV. Here are just a few of my faves: Boy Toy, Swim the Fly, Where She Went, SPUD, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Disenchantments, and most recently, Variant.

Oh, PS—I LOVE writing like a guy. When I went through a shiny new ms craving last year, I wrote first chapters for two of the stories I have beat sheets for, both with female protags, both pretty exciting and not too shabby. I want to go back and change my whole story basis so that I can tell it from the guy’s POV. Or do dual narrators. Or something.

How about YOU? Ever write a story strictly from a guy’s POV? What’s been your strongest asset? Any male POV books I need to add to my TBR?


  1. Since i'm not a story writer, I've never written anything from anyone's point of view except my own. The only book(s) I can think of written by a woman from a guy's point of view are The Outsiders & That Was Then This is Now by SE Hinton.

    1. I LOVE the Outsiders! I read it for the first time in forever last summer. SO, so good.

  2. You don't have any John Green titles mentioned! Have you read any? I'd suggest Looking For Alaska - it's pretty incredible. You've got one of my favorites mentioned - The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Love that book.

    1. haha - slip up on my part. I HAVE read all John Green's titles and LOVED every one of them. In fact, TFIOS is my favorite read so far this year, and Looking for Alaska is one of my favorite all time reads. The aforementioned books in my post are probably more closely linked to my guy and that's where my mind was when I chose. But you right - John Green's guys are awesome.

  3. My first two manuscripts were only from the female POV. But when I started writing that way with my current WIP, it felt wrong. So, I decided to write it from the guy's POV, and the girl's POV. WOW! It's so much fun. I prefer writing his chapters over hers! I have a 17-year-old nephew (who's in love) who lets me pick his brain.

    The only books I've read with male POVs were Jacobs part in Breaking Dawn, and the Shiver series.

    1. That's awesome! I have several current and former male students that help me out too. It's great to have that resource. :)

  4. Ooh. That's some fantastic advice. (I LOVE Copil's posts!)
    I recently read an article about the difference between men and women, and writing them:
    I'll definitely check out those three links of yours. =D

    I've never written anything big from a guy's POV (except that one gag-worthy story a few years ago, in which he was practically a girl...), but I really, really want to. I finished drafting my main MS, and I really want to complete it, because I want to inundate a second, male, POV in the sequel I'm thinking about. And I'm way too excited to.

    I'm definitely going to keep this stuff in mind!

    ~Riv Re
    Riv Reads

    1. Awesome! And I definitely will check out that article. Go for it - with the male POV. I LOVE writing from a guy mindset.

  5. I am so chicken. I'm not sure if I'd be brave enough to tackle it. Sounds like you have plenty of sources for research and information, though. Awesome! :)


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