Re: How do you write female characters as a male writer?

#3
Like any other character.
If you were to write an unconfident male character that was too shy to talk to this one person, then change all he/him/his to she/her there wouldn't be any major noticable things that would identify that character as either gender (with exceptions regarding description).
If you were to try and write a character that is your total opposite though (or a character you don't know much about), that is another battle that may require some research.
Figure out your character's family situation, his/her home situation, attitude toward learning or whatever is relevant, maybe then the perspective will write itself Wink

Re: How do you write female characters as a male writer?

#4
Chiisutofupuru Wrote: Like any other character.


Right? I'm always a bit confused by this question. Women aren't some mythical creatures. Of course you write them like everyone else. But I get wanting to do a good job at it and that's a commendable attitude to have. How characters act and react are dependant on a lot of factors. All characters act in a tightly woven net of social and cultural norms. 

For this to work, your characters (regardless of gender) will need: Character traits, personality, flaws (!), wishes, desires, hopes, dreams and many more things. Characters of this type are then exposed to a world that will interact with them based on who they are. These serve each other and inform your story. Character traits might be sought after or shunned, certain personalities might fare better in one society than the next, etc. 
Gender is just one of the character traits, isolating it and trying to write from there will make for flat characters. Thus, you don't write female characters, you write characters that are also female. What being female actually entails will depend entirely on the world you've set for them. Each world and society will have different expectations what that means. Could be, all females are expected to act like Gruganstar and go on Misraveltastis each week. Don't know what that is? Me neither - but their society knows and forms around it. 
Oh, if you ever want to know how to build really compelling worlds, you'll have a variety of societies with conflicting expectations. Turns out, Misraveltastis really annoys the next country over because, obviously, they should Tintantrantelize instead. Everyone knows that. Obviously. 

So in short:
Write characters with traits. Put said character into a world that acts upon those traits. Smash them together, watch the magic happen. Gender is but one character trait. You don't start from it - but you can make it part of your characters and... have a world that acts upon those traits. 

Re: How do you write female characters as a male writer?

#5

obran Wrote: Very carefully


I LOL'd so hard at this. 



Chiisutofupuru Wrote: Figure out your character's family situation, his/her home situation, attitude toward learning or whatever is relevant, maybe then the perspective will write itself Wink


Felias Wrote:
Chiisutofupuru Wrote: Like any other character.


Right? I'm always a bit confused by this question. Women aren't some mythical creatures. Of course you write them like everyone else. 
Gender is just one of the character traits, isolating it and trying to write from there will make for flat characters. T
Oh, if you ever want to know how to build really compelling worlds, you'll have a variety of societies with conflicting expectations. Turns out, Misraveltastis really annoys the next country over because, obviously, they should Tintantrantelize instead. Everyone knows that. Obviously. 

So in short:
Write characters with traits. Put said character into a world that acts upon those traits. Smash them together, watch the magic happen. Gender is but one character trait. You don't start from it - but you can make it part of your characters and... have a world that acts upon those traits.

That... actually makes a lot of sense! Thank you Chiisutofupuru for your thought out response and Felias for expanding on it. 

I don't know why, but I've never thought of gender as just another character trait. For some reason I had put up this wall when it came to female characters. 

I will definitely implement this into my writing. Thank you all again. 

Re: How do you write female characters as a male writer?

#6
So, while it's true that good characters tend to be good characters regardless of gender, that's not the ultimate end of the discussion.

Across earth, different cultures and societies and civilizations have, throughout the ages, treated women differently.  Sometimes better, often worse, and unnervingly frequently as property.  On a daily life scale, women have different things expected of them than men, they have different socially acceptable life goals, and they experience different treatment from the people around them.  And this isn't something that just goes away because your character gets transported to a new world, in the same way that a character that grows up in poverty is going to have that influence their views on wealth and social structure.

So when you're writing a female character, think about where they came from.  Think about who's been pushing their lifestyle, what their parents or guardians want, what their society expects of them.  Think about how life would be for them, and how it would change who they are and what they want.

This does get back into the "write good characters" thing.  You can, and should, do this for *any* good character you write.  But for all of human history, we've treated people differently, sometimes atrociously, because of their gender.  And even if you're writing a story set in the modern day, don't think that's changed.  So, when you're writing from a perspective that's not your own, just think about the influences and assumptions surrounding it.  Maybe ask some friends of yours who are in that position for their perspective.

Re: How do you write female characters as a male writer?

#8

Domi Sotto Wrote: That’s the reason why I want to move away from any sort of historical-like setting. I am sick of writing about inequality, overt or clandestine. I had a blast writing a novella with matriarchy and a reverse values set, but what I want to write in, is in the true ‘gender is irrelevant’ settings. Heh.


Well, then you have your answer. Sci-Fi or fantasy it is.

Re: How do you write female characters as a male writer?

#9
Well, females of spider or mantis species quite literally 'eat' the male, so yeah, writing any character is pretty complicated and there are no set rules for writing male or female. 

You just have to go by your feelings. The environment your character lives in is important, but it doesn't always have to be an oppressive one for them. It's your world build it around your characters as you wish. You will naturally figure out their personalities then. 

At least that's what I think. 

Re: How do you write female characters as a male writer?

#11
Sadly, I have more trouble writing male characters as a male ... sigh...

I start with an opening scene for them.  Most of my characters start off with an issue or in some sad situation ... typical for the beginning of a book.  In A Tail's Misfortune, Sora is bullied fairly viciously by other girls.  She's tried to seek help, but everyone that tries to help her ends up getting hurt.  She's desperate, yet cautious, scared to affect other people's lives she cares about, she doesn't want them to suffer as she has.  She bottles it up but has the liberty to talk to a mandated psychotherapist ... she's branded as an attention seeker for trying to reveal her bullies.  Her dad is a big-time consultant and works around the world, she's stupid rich and lives in a penthouse, but all her friends left her because of her bullies, she's depressed, hates her life ... but she's rich!  The story revolves around her changing to be freer as mythological elements take form and she begins to like herself again ... yet, at the same time, she's scared of what she's becoming and what she's doing.  She doesn't feel bad about the harm she's causing her bullies and that itself scares her at times, but then those feelings wash away soon after.

A girl's life is drama ... well, most lives are.  How you write that drama is in accordance with the setting of your story.  Make your character three-dimensional, flawed, hates certain things about themselves, likes certain food or cute/ugly things.  Give them trauma (everyone has something) and depth.  Certain beliefs that form a core to their decisions.  How does she react to those around her, are they there for the story or independent characters with their own **** they have to deal with.  Even side characters or supporting can't be there all the time, they need to feel real to actually support your girl.

Well ... I think I'm getting a little off topic...

Think about what girls would be insecure about (each girl is different too), a lot of girls have general insecurities.  Late at night and all by themselves (generic, but a real concern).  I mean, I can feel a little creeped out at night when I'm alone as a guy, but I feel I can at least defend myself to a point.  Girls feel a little more vulnerable to dangerous situations.  The mask of society, most girls aren't comfortable with their bodies.  It could be pimples, wrinkles, sagging body parts, etc.  Real world issues.  I guess ... if you make a real world then your characters need to be just as real.  Even airheads have things they believe in and write them to be wrong about certain things, make them grow.

I don't know if this is what you wanted to hear ... I'm rambling at this point.  I hope you get SOMETHING out of this.  GL!

^_^7