If you've read my work, you know that I write in both the female and male POV. Not everyone does that and some do even more, but I think dual POV adds depth to the story. Writing from the male POV is more natural than I thought it would be. Maybe because I grew up in the country surrounded by male siblings and cousins and my first two jobs were in a male-dominated environment, but, for whatever the reason, it’s relatively easy for me to do. An editor told me once I was a very intuitive writer, and maybe he was right because I don’t always have to think about what I’m writing…I just write, and the words are there, whether its male or female POV.
In essence, for me anyway, writing in just one POV limits the readers enjoyment of the story, which is why I write from both the heroine and hero side.
Sometimes, I write both POV’s in a chapter. Sometimes just one. It all depends on what the story tells me to do. If using both, I start with one, do a scene break and begin the other. Again, everything depends on the story and what it tells me its needs to flow.
The switch between male and female is critical. If I just spent half the morning working on a female-centric view and now I must convey the male, that takes a bit of refocus time. I need to put myself in his shoes, refocus my brain on his thoughts and feelings. Sometimes that means going back and re-reading another scene of his to get in character; sometimes, it’s as simple as thinking about it a bit and picturing it in my mind, and start writing.
So, if you’re a female, wanting to write in the male POV, here are few tips for you. These are very general in nature since not all things apply to all people in all situations, but they will give you a place to start.
- People watch. I love to people-watch. I traveled for a living for many years before I retired, and spent a lot of time at airports, hotel restaurants, etc. I always had a notepad of some sort with me and made notes on things that caught my eye. How a guy enters the room, how he studies it. With a bit of observation, you can spot a guy on the prowl just by his body language. How does he decide which girl he wants to approach? How does he walk? How does he take rejection? Malls are another great place to people watch. There is a huge variety of people to observe
- Talk to guys. Sounds simple, right? It’s not always easy to do, but it’s essential to be able to understand not only what a guy says but how he says it. Use your family and friends as guinea pigs – just don’t let them know that. Ask questions, engage them in casual conversation. And study how they respond. Every social function you attend is an opportunity to learn, to talk, to observe. Don’t pass it up. And, of course, flirting is another thing to study and watching people flirt is, if nothing else, entertaining.
- Research. Research involves different things. When does your story take place? How old is your character? What is the setting for the story? Each of those things will impact how you write the male POV. A twenty-something guy is not going to think, act, speak the same way a 30-something one would. By the same token, guys today are very different from guys in the mid-1800’s. So, research.
- Introspection. I read a stat somewhere that said men speak like 7000 words a day and women 20000 or more. I don’t know that I buy that, but I do know men tend to be less vocal. BUT, just because your guy is silent doesn’t mean he isn’t thinking. Introspection is a great way to convey things to the reader. But, don’t be too wordy. Remember, he’s a guy and they never use 700 words when 10 will do.
- Men are visual. As a general rule, if a guy sees it, it is more likely to stay with him, so your male POV will have more ‘seeing.’ Thoughts and feelings are easily stimulated by what he sees.
- Just the facts ma’am. Most men are big-picture kinda guys, they are not detail-oriented. Now, if your guy is a cop or Spec Ops guy on assignment, that’s different. But, generally speaking, men don’t care about the label or style of the woman’s dress. He cares that the sleek, black dress fit her like second skin, and showed a mile of shapely legs.
- Men are logical. Mr. Fixit if you will. You really need a hug and some kind words because you’ve had a crappy day, but when you start talking, he wants to tell you how keep that from happening again. Mr. Fixit. Something’s wrong, you fix it. That’s how a guy operates. And most don't understand tears. Very few men I know can handle anything involving tears. If you’re lucky, you get a pat on the shoulder and a “it’s gonna be alright’ speech. They’re guys. They need to fix it. Hugs don’t fix things.
- Men touch, women feel. Sex is an essential aspect of the male POV. But, guys don’t always think about sex. It does cross their mind, of course, but not every waking hour. When writing from the male POV, remember that men, as a general rule, connect through physical touch, whereas women connect on an emotional level.
- The second look. A guy will always notice a girl walking by, regardless of her general sex appeal. That first look is impulse – she walks by, he notices. It’s the second look, that double-take, that signifies interest. Now that interest can be good or bad or anything in between, but it’s still the second look that signifies interest.
- Make the voice fit the man. This is critical. The words he says and how he says them must fit the man. A no-nonsense, ex-military cop is going to speak differently than a book smart lawyer—both in the words he uses and how he uses them. If the words don’t mesh with the man, if they aren’t believable for your character, your story will fall flat, and your reader will be gone.
Writing the male POV isn’t easy but doing it well can strengthen your writing and enhance your story.