Thursday, March 25, 2010


I was inspired by B. Miller's post yesterday regarding romance. Seems he was experiencing some challenges with the romantic aspect of his novel.

Don't worry, Miller, I would feel challenged as well! Don't think I could write a love scene. My 'romance' would sound stilted and awkward. I only know 'dudespeak,' so coming up with soft, feminine words would be difficult.

I don't notice details as much, either. Perhaps I should say some details. I can pick out the notes in a guitar solo and understand computer programs. But what color are the dishes in my cupboard? I'd have to go look! And what did I have for dinner last night? I think it was chicken... But women can remember what they had for dinner three years ago and on what color plate! Trying to place all that detail stuff a female character would see appears a daunting task.

I think every writer experiences difficulty in one or more areas. The trick is playing on our strengths, not our weaknesses. I knew details and romance from a female point of view was not my strength. So, call it cheating, but there's virtually no female characters in my first book. I decided I needed to find my voice and style first, and then expand from that point.

What do you find challenging? Do you have a difficult time seeing things through the eyes of the opposite sex? Do you struggle through this or just play on your strengths?

And if anyone has any tips for Miller, please bop over to his site and help him!


Marvin D Wilson said...

I've actually received several comments and reviews from other authors (of both sexes) that I did a good job of portraying women and what goes on in their minds in my novel, Owen Fiddler. That was most satisfying to hear. Probably comes with my age, having been married for twice ( the second one very longlasting), raising two daughters, and having lots of relationships with women, both on the intimate level and good friends level. So I can "write what I know" with a fair amount of expereince and realism.

The Old Silly

Hannah said...

I'm a girl who mostly hangs out with dudes so I get the best of both worlds! I also know men with a better memory for details than I do. I think most people have a good memory for things they are passionate about.

In Writing, it depends on the story for me. Most of the time, I write from a male perspective. It will just fit the story. I don't know if I'm good at it or not but it's not difficult for me to do.

Ha! I was going to post on the same subject next week. You beat me!

Summer Frey said...

I try very hard to make my male MC's believable, and for the most part I think I do. Mainly, I don't much dwell on how things make them FEEL, I just have them react to the situation and start trying to fix it. My women could wax on for pages about how something makes them feel... :-)

My husband helps out a lot with making sure my guys sound authentic, but like Palindrome, I've spent a lot of time with guy friends and had a brother growing up that I was very close to, so it's not too, too hard a stretch for me.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm with Summer and Palindrome - I've always hung out with the guys. Writing from a male perspective is almost easier for me. Men are simpler. They use fewer words and think logically.

My husband told me the other day "I can forget faster than you can remember!" LOL I think men remember the big stuff better than the little.

DEZMOND said...

When you are writing a romantic scene, you really don't have to (and if you ask me, shouldn't) approach it in a feminine way. You have romantic chick-flick for that, but in all other books and novels, romantic scenes should be and can be simple, realistic and sugar-free. Having that in mind, Alex, writing such scenes really shouldn't frighten you.
But the absence of a single female character in a novel, could come as a great problem. Hope your readers won't mind going through a male dominated world in your book :)))
I'm good with details, as a matter of fact I consider that to be my strongest side.
I guess your post explains why every writer's main goal is to keep on exploring, watching, observing, studying the world around him so that he can easily use his knowledge while writing.

PS speakin' of colours, Alex, you really should change the colour of links in your blog :) that black colour makes them invisible over the dark gray background :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing, Dez. Actually, I think I'm going to overhaul the whole thing while it's still small.

I will venture into new territory for the next book.

Sarah Ahiers said...

i don't seem to have troubles writing from a male POV - at least i do it often and i don't find it difficult and haven't gotten any comments about it...

Helen Ginger said...

It's interesting that you think of writing romance and automatically assume it would need to be written from a female point of view. Men have romantic feelings.

Perhaps you should try your hand at writing a romantic scene from a man's POV. And post it ;-)

Straight From Hel

Arlee Bird said...

I haven't really encountered too much of this because I tend to stick with what I'm familiar with. The gender thing hasn't been too much of an issue so far. I do have a problem if I have guys talking about sports because I don't really know sports that much--- so I generally avoid that one, however I've had scenes where the topic seemed appropriate to the conversation.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks for the challenge, Helen!

Arlee, you're not into sports? I could definitely write about that topic.

Anonymous said...

If it's any consolation I find writing women *more* challenging than writing men... I don't know why, maybe it's because when I'm writing women it makes me realise just how many things there are to get wrong!

B. Miller said...

Thanks for the call for assistance, Alex! That romance is kicking me in the butt right now. Murderous mud monster, come right on! :D

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad to help, Miller! And give me a space battle scene anyday.

Brenda said...

Hey, I'm with you on not remember dinner last night, let alone three years ago. I don't think I have the typical female mind, though. And honestly, romance/sex scenes in books bore me. I always skip over them anyway.

Jemi Fraser said...

The strengths of each author is what makes the writing special!

I'm good at emotions and dialogue. Settings & descriptions - that I'm working at :)

Unknown said...

I love the term "dudespeak!" Writing from the opposite sex's point-of-view is a great creative writing exercise. For me, writing a love scene was tough at one point. To challenge myself, I entered several erotica writing contests. Talk about being outside my comfort zone! But I learned a lot, gained some confidence, and eventually won a couple!

It's nice to meet you and I look forward to reading more from you!

* said...

Love the title of this blog post.

I just stumbled upon your blog and enjoy all things writerly, too.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Brenda, you don't have to worry about that mushy stuff with my work!

Glad everyone got a kick out of the title! Just figured that's how I know to talk - dudespeak. I will work on it with the next book, though.

Thanks for stopping by, Nicole and Teresa.

CC, I bet you're smart enough to pull it off!