I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that boys and girls are different. We’re different physically, mentally, and emotionally.
I’m a girl and have no idea what goes through the mind of a boy. Boys have no idea what girls go through. We pretend we understand the opposite gender, but we really have no clue.
With that being said, it’s much easier to write in the female point of view if you’re a female yourself.
When I first started writing my mystery series, George Florence, the main protagonist was George himself. It was all in first-person, but some things just weren’t clicking with the rest of the story.
I eventually changed the point of view to third-person with George still in charge, but even that didn’t work out. With the help of my writer’s group, I came to the conclusion that even though George calls the shots for the plot, his colleague, Lilah, wants to tell the story.
I ended up rewriting the whole story, still in third-person, but as Lilah. And it is the best decision I ever made.
Why is it the best decision, though? I think it’s because Lilah’s personality is similar to mine, in certain ways. That, and she’s a girl. I can relate to her more. It’s easier for me to write her thoughts on what’s going on.
That, and I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that George is a detective and Lilah and I are not…
How to choose which gender your protagonist should be.
It’s easy to choose your own gender because you have that extra knowledge, emotionally, mentally, and physically. But, is it really what’s best for your story?
I chose to write in George’s point of view because I thought that was best for the series. Who wouldn’t want to follow around a fired detective who then decides to become a private investigator in spite of everyone else?
No one, if you can’t get his personality right.
It turned out, gender aside, Lilah is the best fit for my novel because she’s more relatable.
But what if Lilah was the detective and George was the student? George would then be more relatable to myself and everyone else. Then I would have a male protagonist on my hands and how in the world do I write as a 20-something male?
How to write as the opposite gender.
I can’t exactly tell you how to write as the opposite gender, but I can’t tell you how to research the opposite gender. Does that work?
Yeah, let’s skip this one.
How to research the opposite gender.
It’s going to take you a while to write as the opposite gender. It will only get better with practice, but in the end, you’re still a girl, not a boy. Or you’re a boy, not a girl… Either way.
However, you can do the best you can and that’s all anyone really ever asks for.
Read books written in the male point of view if you’re a girl and vice versa. Pay attention to how the author wrote their protagonist. You can learn a lot from seeing what other authors have done, to a certain point.
Talk to people
Ask a family member or friend of the opposite gender about what they would do in a certain situation. Or, just ask them how they felt when they were teenagers, when they first went to college, or any other major life event.
Follow (or don’t follow) stereotypes
When people think of a teenage girl, they think of her standing in front of the mirror for long periods of time checking her hair and fixing her make-up. They’re spending all their money at the mall on new clothes, purses, and the like. Some teenage girls are like that, yes, but not everyone.
For example, I wore jeans every single day, the only day I’ve ever worn make-up in my life was my sister’s wedding, and at the age of 23 I still don’t have a purse. I carry a backpack.
With that said, stereotypes are okay to a point. However, it all depends on one thing.
If your teenage girl doesn’t want to wear make-up when all of your female friends are saying that’s all they cared about, then fine. Your character doesn’t have to wear make-up.
Remember, this is your character. You created him/her. You know what they want and what they don’t want. You know the basic outline of how they think and act.
So, research the opposite gender. It won’t hurt you. In the end, though, just do your best and let your character be him/herself.
How do you write as the opposite gender? Are most of your characters the same gender as you? Let me know in the comments below!