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Writing the Opposite Sex
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earthshoes



Joined: 17 Jun 2004
Posts: 213
Location: SW Missouri
Writing the Opposite Sex  Reply with quote  

For some reason, a couple of my recent shorter pieces needed a male voice. I try to write a couple pieces of flash fiction a week in addition to my book. This seems to help with the "oh-no! I've run out of material" fears.

I posted the pieces anonymously at a short story workshop. A couple of critics made the comment that they suspected the pieces were written by a woman. I went back through and read the pieces, trying to figure out what words I dropped as clues.

Anybody here had any success writing from the POV of the opposite sex?
Do you have any suggestions?
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Post Sun Sep 05, 2004 1:20 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
chris
Site Admin


Joined: 02 Mar 2004
Posts: 3833
Location: People Republic of Northern California
 Reply with quote  

Shoes:

Try these tricks that professionals use to help with writing different genders:

1. Have the character make a gesture that is gender specific.

Gender inspecific "I am going to the store," Kelly said.

Better: "I am going to the store," Kelly said, tossing his penis over his shoulder and heading out the door.

2.Characters interpret the same informatioin differently depending on gender. Make sure your interpretations ring true to the character's gender.

Gender inspecific: "Here comes Georgia. Looks like she has a new outfit."

Better: "Look at Georgia. She looks like a total whore in that dress. Could it be any tighter? She's going to spill out of it any second. Those aren't real, you know?"

Best: "Yeah, baby. Shake it but don't break it. Oh momicita, you're breakin' my freakin' heart over here. Hey, hey, hey, hey! .

People notice different things according to gender. Structure your characters order of perception to his or her gender.

Gender inspecific: Upon entering the kitchen Kelly immediately noticed the ultra-eighties seafoam green tiles and mauve curtains. "Some things are tre-retro and others should just be left to die in decorating history."

Better: Upon entering the kitchen, Kelly immediately noticed the toast crumbs on the counter and five-hundred dollar Italian esspresso machine. "You'd think she could afford to have someone come in to clean."

Best: Upon entering the kitchen, Kelly thought, "Man I like to throw that chick in the tight dress down on the counter and show her the meaning of the word respect."

4. People think about different things according to gender. Gender will ring true if the thought processes seem true.

Gender Inspecific: Kelly looked out at the rain falling on the old oak tree and thought, "I'd better get an umbrella."

Better: Kelly looked out at the rain falling on the old oak tree and thought, "That tree is like our relationship. Sure, it's lost it's leaves for now, and it's got some scars, but the trunk is strong, and it can become lush once again."

Best: Kelly looked out at the rain falling on the old oak tree and thought, "I'm hungry."

That should pretty much fix your problem, but if you need more, I'll be glad to help. I know that sometimes it takes you gals a little longer to pick up on this stuff. Cool


Last edited by chris on Mon Sep 06, 2004 3:55 am; edited 1 time in total

Post Sun Sep 05, 2004 2:20 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Goudron



Joined: 03 Aug 2004
Posts: 2570
Location: near Cleveland OH
 Reply with quote  

Thanks AG! My protagonists usually wrap their penises around their legs though to keep from being so conspicuous. At least if they're wearing baggy pants. Tight jeans and short shorts ruin the mystique.
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Post Sun Sep 05, 2004 3:53 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
earthshoes



Joined: 17 Jun 2004
Posts: 213
Location: SW Missouri
 Reply with quote  

Okay. So no comments on the furnishings (and especially no words like sea foam green) and lots of comments about penises . . . I can do that . . . Smile

Seriously, after I quit laughing (and that took some time). I reread your advice. I'll try it and see what happens the next time my muse shows up wearing a jock strap.



BTW, AG, I just finished "The Lust Lizard of Melancholy cove". Loved the ending.

Not a day passed that he did not tell Molly how special she was to him, and as time passed, the narrator in her head fell silent and never spoke again Yeah. That's love.
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Post Sun Sep 05, 2004 7:03 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
chris
Site Admin


Joined: 02 Mar 2004
Posts: 3833
Location: People Republic of Northern California
 Reply with quote  

earthshoes wrote:
Okay. So no comments on the furnishings (and especially no words like sea foam green) and lots of comments about penises . . . I can do that . . . Smile




Holy Jeebus on a purple moped! Don't take my advice! I was just making stuff up to be funny.

Post Sun Sep 05, 2004 8:22 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
earthshoes



Joined: 17 Jun 2004
Posts: 213
Location: SW Missouri
 Reply with quote  

chris wrote:
earthshoes wrote:
Okay. So no comments on the furnishings (and especially no words like sea foam green) and lots of comments about penises . . . I can do that . . . Smile




Holy Jeebus on a purple moped! Don't take my advice! I was just making stuff up to be funny.


Park the moped. Smile

Yeah. I got it that you were "being funny" (husband really loved it, by the way) , but be it by accident or on purpose, in a very twisted sort of way, some of your "advice" actually rang true. Scary gift huh?


Think I'll skip the male equipment part though.
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Post Sun Sep 05, 2004 8:50 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
palmer



Joined: 30 Mar 2004
Posts: 1324
Re: Writing the Opposite Sex  Reply with quote  

[quote="earthshoes"]For some reason, a couple of my recent shorter pieces needed a male voice.]

Need a token male, do we? Smile

Quote:
A couple of critics made the comment that they suspected the pieces were written by a woman.


Ever read George Elliot? "He" got a lot of praise for "his" female characterisations. (You know why I'm using the quotation marks, right?)

Quote:
Anybody here had any success writing from the POV of the opposite sex?
Do you have any suggestions?


When I get stuck, I remember one word that means totally opposite things when uttered by a man vs. a woman -- "nothing"

"What's wrong?"
"Nothing," he answered.


Cool.

"What's wrong?"
"Nothing," she answered.

Oh-oh.....

There's lots of them.

Also, think of everything that men have done that has either impressed you or pissed you off. A goldmine!

If all else fails, have him scratch his balls.

Post Sun Sep 05, 2004 9:00 pm   View user's profile Send private message
Boota



Joined: 09 Apr 2004
Posts: 830
Location: Kokomo, Indiana
 Reply with quote  

I'm not sure how it came out this way, it wasn't on purpose, but I wrote a piece of erotica and I am often mistaken for a woman. I guess the name Boota isn't gender specific enough. If I knew what I did I would try to give some advice, but I'm still in the dark.
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Post Sun Sep 05, 2004 9:58 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Ferrit Leggings



Joined: 29 Mar 2004
Posts: 2658
 Reply with quote  

This might help. It is called the Gender Genie and it says it can predict the gender of an author...
http://www.bookblog.net/gender/genie.html

Some very good novels to read are Half Asleep in Frog Pyjamas by Tom Robbins and How to Be Good by Nick Hornby. Both novels are written in first person from the point of view of the main character which is female.

Ta,
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Post Mon Sep 06, 2004 3:47 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Goudron



Joined: 03 Aug 2004
Posts: 2570
Location: near Cleveland OH
 Reply with quote  

Ferrit Leggings wrote:
This might help. It is called the Gender Genie and it says it can predict the gender of an author...
http://www.bookblog.net/gender/genie.html


It worked on me, although I wasn't trying to write as the opposite sex. I didn't realize I was being such a girlyman using the feminie word "with" so often.
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White and feathery, yet crude and noisy, the chicken is the backbone of our farming community.

Post Mon Sep 06, 2004 7:43 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Fairydust



Joined: 23 Aug 2004
Posts: 28
 Reply with quote  

chris wrote:
Shoes:

Try these tricks that professionals use to help with writing different genders:

1. Have the character make a gesture that is gender specific.

Gender inspecific "I am going to the store," Kelly said.

Better: "I am going to the store," Kelly said, tossing his penis over his shoulder and heading out the door.

[Gender inspecific: "Here comes Georgia. Looks like she has a new outfit."

Better: "Look at Georgia. She looks like a total whore in that dress. Could it be any tighter? She's going to spill out of it any second. Those aren't real, you know?"

Best: "Yeah, baby. Shake it but don't break it. Oh momicita, you're breakin' my freakin' heart over here. Hey, hey, hey, hey! .

People notice different things according to gender. Structure your characters order of perception to his or her gender.

Gender inspecific: Upon entering the kitchen Kelly immediately noticed the ultra-eighties seafoam green tiles and mauve curtains. "Some things are tre-retro and others should just be left to die in decorating history."

Better: Upon entering the kitchen, Kelly immediately noticed the toast crumbs on the counter and five-hundred dollar Italian esspresso machine. "You'd think she could afford to have someone come in to clean."

Best: Upon entering the kitchen, Kelly thought, "Man I like to throw that chick in the tight dress down on the counter and show her the meaning of the word respect."

4. People think about different things according to gender. Gender will ring true if the thought processes seem true.

Gender Inspecific: Kelly looked out at the rain falling on the old oak tree and thought, "I'd better get an umbrella."



hmm my question does Kelly have detachable penis?
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Post Mon Sep 06, 2004 8:02 am   View user's profile Send private message
earthshoes



Joined: 17 Jun 2004
Posts: 213
Location: SW Missouri
 Reply with quote  

Goudron wrote:
Ferrit Leggings wrote:
This might help. It is called the Gender Genie and it says it can predict the gender of an author...
http://www.bookblog.net/gender/genie.html


It worked on me, although I wasn't trying to write as the opposite sex. I didn't realize I was being such a girlyman using the feminie word "with" so often.


Well, the genie thinks I write like a guy, even when I posted something written in an intended feminine voice. Who knew prepositions, second person pronouns and articles could be sexed.

Cute gadget..
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. . .once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.
(The Velveteen Rabbit)

Post Mon Sep 06, 2004 8:38 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
Unc



Joined: 18 Aug 2004
Posts: 300
Location: South of FRANCE
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Ferrit Leggings wrote:
This might help. It is called the Gender Genie and it says it can predict the gender of an author...
http://www.bookblog.net/gender/genie.html


Many thanks for posting this. For fun, I just ran a bunch of posts from a supposedly-spiritual Usenet group that is in reality a forum for people who live to argue and call each other names and declare themselves right and everyone else in the universe wrong. Recently they'd been doing this over Ahnold's "girly man" speech. So I selected big blocks of text by a few of the most vociferous posters, 4 of them female, 3 male. I chose 'blog' as the type of input.

Bottom line? The Gender Genie declared them all guys. Made my day... Laughing

Post Mon Sep 06, 2004 8:52 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Ferrit Leggings



Joined: 29 Mar 2004
Posts: 2658
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It said about 50/50 with the things that i put in that i posted in this forum. I did put in something by MArk Twain and it said that he was a she.
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Post Mon Sep 06, 2004 10:13 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Lauren



Joined: 07 Mar 2004
Posts: 1582
Location: Massachusetts
 Reply with quote  

Yeah, apparently I write like a man, too. But my main character is male, so I"m not terribly surprised - the program counts how many times you write "he" or "she" and partly judges on that.
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Post Mon Sep 06, 2004 4:18 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address ICQ Number
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