The first draft of my #7 “Mother Project” story, More than words I sent to my bestie Owen for review. I needed his opinion since part of the story involved a guy’s point of view. It’s a bit of an emotionally charged piece about a man who finally confesses his love for his long time best friend. I know I needed to push myself outside my comfort zone so this happened. Men emotions are alien creatures to me though. Men are enigmas. I needed back up.
I thought I’d done an OK job on the story. The MC wasn’t blubbering or word vomiting his feelings. He did guy things like fist bumps and spoke in short concise sentences. He was able to function normally at his job and nobody saw anything was wrong. That’s very “guy” right? Ha.
“He still sounds like a girl.”
It was the first thing Owen said to me after finishing reading.
My reaction: *Sad face* D,:
I’m sure he heard my heart plummet to the floor.
Even more sad is the fact he couldn’t tell me how to fix it. Or wouldn’t because he’s a butt and thought it would be “cheating”. Greaaaattttttt. This is what I get for toeing the comfort line. Alright. I had two options. Find a guy in the immediate vicinity that would actually be willing to talk in depth about his psyche (I rank this phenomenon up there with winged flying pigs)…or turn to the ever comprehensive blogosphere.
Ahhh thank gawd for internet. Pinterest, especially.
I found several helpful articles that outlined some great pointers about Male Point of View. It was a relief I didn’t have to pull this out of my writer’s Hat of diminishing Magic Tricks. I ate up every word, amazed and thankful there are SOME men out there willing to give an account of their inner workings (THANK YOU).
So here’s the break down of the male POV, generalized of course since there are always facets and fractions to everything:
- Any problem they face will normally be dealt with in a physical manner first. Immediate action.
- When they talk to other guys, it’s usually about one or two shared interests such as sports, cars, music, sports, politics, religion, sports or the occasional stamp collection. Also, if he can make them laugh, then he’ll do so. Goes for men and women.
- When they talk to women, it depends on if they think the woman likes them or not. Either potential love interest or deep friend-zone “one of the guys”. Guys, apparently, cannot have platonic friendships with women so this is the way they’re categorized. (I find this completely off in my world but whatever…)
- Guys will normally hide their inner feelings unless it is an extreme case, such as death or a harsh break up. This is what they’re taught. They CAN cry. They just reserve the tears until they have no other choice.
- On understanding women: believe or not, most men DO listen women and understand. They just don’t know what to do about it. This is partly the woman’s fault if she can’t communicate what she wants to him. Which brings me to the final point…
- Men aren’t psychic. They DO NOT know what is in a woman’s mind (thankfully). They don’t catch subtle cues or flirting. They don’t know what the should and shouldn’t do in every given situation. Women, throw them a frickin’ bone. Making the first move will put them at ease.
I want to remind you this is a GENERAL list culminated from the articles and interviews I’ve read. No one male will fit all this criteria so please don’t flame me. I respect all personalities and quirks and flaws! It adds character.
Ah, speaking of characters…
Now that I’ve outlined the male POV, it’s time to do the hard part. The other hard part I mean. Time to apply it to my writing. With a brutal and scrutinizing eye, I cut out mushy paragraphs. I shortened lengthy emotional inner monologues. To the other characters my MC interacted with, he was totally 100% cool male. Okay. DONE. But how the heck do I convey he’s hurting inside to the audience and still make him sound male??? “I miss her” just doesn’t cut it. Or does it? It’s more than that surely! Isn’t it? Guys??
What a conundrum. It really worried me that I would fail at this first tiny test I gave myself. I wanted to give it a fair shot, even though I knew it wouldn’t be anywhere near perfect. I considered reaching for the books on my shelves for hard core examples of Male POV. Do you know how hard I had to search? Seriously. I had “Harry Potter”, “Percy Jackson”, “Eragon” and book 1 of “The Dresden Files” to guide me through male POV. Those are the only books I’d read that had male leading characters that I could find in a pinch. (I have 6 book cases double stacked guys…gimme a break, kay?)
The industry, it seems, has a distinct lack of male protagonist novels. Or I’m just not picking them up off the shelves. I wish I could say that this put a fire in my belly to write the Next Great American Fiction Series with an Epic Male Leading Character. It didn’t. They say write what you know and man language is Swahili to me. I’m still trying to write one COMPLETE novel, much less one with a male MC. I’ll stick to short jaunts in flash fiction for now, thanks.
But there’s nothing stopping YOU! Go for it! You’ve got the basics right here in one nifty little blog post plus the plethora of other articles out there.
I’m not sure I aced this Male POV test but I DID publish the short story as proof I was brave enough to try. It definitely still needs work, but at least it’s out there, right? I’m going to be putting out part two on Thursday, which is from the female’s POV. Pssshhh it’s in the bag… HA.
I have to say over all though I enjoyed researching for this challenge. It’s one of the goals I want to achieve this year. I want to be more informative and less opinion based writing my blog articles. It’s one thing to write all about me but now I hope that you can take something away as well. Inspire each other, right? Write.
WRITE! Expand. Experiment. Be Brave. Go do it!