Monday, 25 April 2016

5 Suggestions for Writing Believable Male Characters




with Marilyn Forsyth



The male and female brain are hard-wired differently.
I’ve been told that the male characters I write are well-rounded and believable. Observing the mannerisms and traits of my two grown sons over the years, as well as seeing their reactions to different life situations has given me some idea of the way males think and behave, (or so I like to believe *grin*). A few years back I undertook an online course called ‘Understanding Men’ (with Dr Debra Holland, romance author and psychotherapist), which also gave credence to my own insights into the male psyche.

I’ve tried to analyse my process when writing from a male point of view and here are 5 suggestions for writing believable heroes.



gif courtesy of gify

1. Initially, a man is attracted to a woman's looks. Above all else, when he first meets the heroine, he is going to focus on her visual appeal. (It's only as the relationship unfolds that he learns to love the person inside.)






2. Men prefer to talk side by side rather than face to face. Unless a confrontation is taking place, I often try to have my hero and heroine going for a walk or a drive, or participating in an activity where they are not directly looking at one another. Also, my female characters usually talk in complete sentences while my men tend to use fragments and much shorter sentences.





gif courtesy of gify
  1. 3. In conversation with women, men focus more on the words being spoken than tone of voice or body language, so they often either miss or misread vital clues as to how the heroine is actually feeling. This can be great for comic effect, e.g. when her verbal response is sarcastic and all she wants to do is hit him over the head, he takes her smile as genuine.





4. When writing an argument between the main characters bear in mind that a man’s thought process is ‘How will I win this?’ while a woman is thinking ‘What do I have to do to make him understand?’ It’s also worth keeping in mind that, under extreme duress, a woman expresses her feelings with words, but a man is just as likely to respond with a physical action e.g. punching something.


5. A lot of men have difficulty communicating their feelings in words. They need to withdraw to their cave and/or participate in some sort of physical activity to think things through, try to solve the problem, and perhaps come up with an idea for a grand romantic gesture. A handy place for this to occur is after the Black Moment.


As authors, we create heroes we want our readers to fall in love with to the same degree we have fallen in love with them. And because we write heroes as we’d like them to be (a man who shows integrity, loyalty, and a willingness to protect the woman he’s come to love), they can be a little too good to be true. But if you have your hero exhibiting some typical male traits throughout the story, you’re on your way to creating believable male characters.




Who is your favourite book boyfriend and what do you love most about him? (No prizes for guessing who mine is :) )




Love to Love all my fabulous friends and family who attended the book launch for 'The Farmer's Perfect Match'. I had the best time! So glad my lovely hubby talked me into having it.
video


Love to Laugh at the crazy situation created by the poll to name Britain's latest polar research vessel. 'Boaty McBoatface' won by about 90 000 votes. I love it! (But, sadly, I can't see it happening.)

Love to Learn via online writing courses because I don't have to get dressed. RWA has some fabulous OWLs coming up. I particularly like the look of Sandy Vaile's 'Treat Backstory Like a Pungent Spice', starting on June 6th. Find out about more OWLs (Online Workshop List) here: http://www.romanceaustralia.com/new/showowls.asp


It would be remiss to let ANZAC Day pass by without acknowledging all those unsung heroes who fought to protect the way of life that we here in Australia are so privileged to live today.

Lest we forget.


























20 comments:

  1. This was great, Marilyn. Very handy list. Thanks!

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    1. Hi Cathryn, and thanks for dropping by. So glad you found the post helpful (although your male characters are always very believable, anyway *grin*).

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  2. Great piece, Marilyn! Always enjoy the posts here.

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    1. Hi Anna! Love seeing you here (not that you need any help in writing believable heroes *wink*)!

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  3. Thanks Marilyn! I love these suggestions on how to make male characters more believable! Can't wait to have a deeper look at my manuscript and implement them!

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    1. Thanks Dee! Glad you found them helpful. :D

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  4. Thanks very much for this list, Marilyn. I've never thought about the different thought processes men and women have during arguments before. Your blog should be a great help to me in trying to develop more believable male characters.

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    1. Hi Sharon. I notice the difference in the male/female way of thinking in particular in 'debates' (some might call them arguments *grin*) with my sons. Thanks for dropping by.

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  5. I have two favourite book boyfriends - Mr Rochester and Ross Poldark. Both very flawed, conflicted to point of being tortured, but deeply passionate.

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    1. Hi Avril! Lovely to see you here. Aahh, Ross Poldark (sigh) - such a worthy book boyfriend. Can't say I blame you. :D

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    2. As an aside, I watched Aidan T in 'And then There Were None' last night. OMG he looks good in nothing but a towel (in case you were wondering :) ).

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  6. I love this post Marilyn. I love writing the male pov and am inherently interested in how they tick. Maybe because they do think and respond to things so differently to me. My book boyfriend would have to be Vere, Duke of Ainswood from Loretta Chase's The Last Hellion. One of my all time favourite books.

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    1. Hi Cassandra. Yep, males are from Mars, no doubt about it (but we love them anyway!)I must read The Last Hellion.

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  7. I really enjoyed this post, Marilyn. I especially loved your example of differences in communication,i.e. when she smiles meaning it to be sarcastic and he takes the smile as genuine. Being as literal as I am, I'd take the smile as genuine too! :)
    Choosing a book boyfriend is so hard when I have so many faves, but if I have to choose, then it's Lucas Hawkins, aka Hawk, from Gayle Wilson's The Bride's Protector. (Ha! Surprised you, didn't I? Could have named a Nora Roberts hero - I love them all, but Hawk just has that 'something extra special' about him).

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed the post, Enisa. WHAT???? A non-Nora book boyfriend??? I know you love your wounded heroes (so do I)so I'll make The Bride's Protector a must-read.

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  8. I did that course by Dr Debra Holland too, Marilyn. It was fascinating. I often referred to my notes on it too. Thanks for reminding me to take another look - perfect timing as it happens :) Lovely post.

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  9. Hi Jennie. So nice to see you here! My sons and I had many 'interesting' discussions arising from the research Dr Holland presented. At least it was one way to get them talking (they were teenagers at the time)*grin*.

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  10. Great suggestions for the male viewpoint, thanks Marilyn!! Sometimes it's the men are from Mars, women are from Venus situation! But can't writers have fun with that. Love romantic comedy when this is done well, with goog effect without being ridiculous about it. Love the way you always sneak Jamie into everything. He is an adorable hero.

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    1. Thanks Malvina! Romantic comedies thrive on those differences, don't they? It's one of the reasons I enjoy romantic comedies so much.(PS:Is my Jamie obsession getting out of control?? Lol.)

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