Welcome back Handsome Hansel of Dance of Romance to Romance University. Today, HH gives us his POV on POV!
Let me begin this post by saying that, even I, who doesn’t get surprised by much, was overwhelmed with the comments to my last posting for female writer’s insight into the male point of view (POV). After a deep breath… or five… I realized this is exactly why I was brought into the bosom (please forgive me) of Romance University.
So how ‘bout we get to it!
The male point of view…hmmm. As a male I suppose I am expected to have an inside track and to some extent I do. But it’s not because I share a similar chromosome with the rest of my gender, it’s that I’m allowed inside an inner circle because of my chromosomal similarity and you’re not. (Na na na na na na.)
All kidding aside now, the male mind is only as complex as the female’s. Why do I present that? Because my approach to finding a POV, male OR female, is that we are all characters of our own design. When I am writing from a female POV I make a conscious decision to dismiss the fact I’m not female. (Not really a stretch) I have to. I believe as a writer we are all guilty of overreaching, overanalyzing, and over-thinking everything. In a lot of cases it’s best to take a step back and write what we believe our characters would do, say, destroy – regardless if they are male or female. The Point of Views of either are not really that polar.
I had someone comment to my last post that they had a male friend read a scene in a story she had written to get his opinion on the male character. He dismissed most of the dialogue she had written for her character because, “I wouldn’t say that”. So she rewrote and probably rewrote, rewrote, rewrote as we writers tend to do.
My take on this is that as writers we are writing characters! Our characters do what we say, what we tell them to do and when we tell them to do it. Period. A science fiction writer never gets a chance to interview and follow around the grey/green large skulled, three legged yet very sexy (romantic tension is very important in sci-fi novels) alien. Yet they make these characters believable. Why? Because of the development of their characters.
I believe the best way to develop characters is by observation, not by interviewing. We can take bits and pieces of people we see or watch on a daily basis and construct a character from them. A believable, viable, with spot-on dialogue if we simply just pay attention to our daily surroundings.
I have listened to the frustration vented by fellow writers of not feeling they are getting honest feedback from people they share their work. They are told, “This is great”, “I loved it”, yet they walk away feeling kowtowed to. They see the surface but their gut tells them something is happening deeper down. This is the level of observance writers need in order to mold great characters.
I hadn’t had a vacation in over 5 years. So, based on an evening I had in Miami over 20 years ago, I decided my vacation would be spent in Miami and Key West. Once there I realized the people were entirely different. Pompous, impatient compared to my mid-westernness, and treated every just-turned green light as an emergency call yet they were still male, female and American so I should be able to relate, right? Hell no! Instead, I spent a LOT of my time watching, observing, enjoying the curtain calls each and every character gave me so I could get to the writing. In order to conquer a POV, you have to have one first for your characters.
Before I develop a character I remind myself there are over 7 Billion people on the planet. Cut in half to separate the boys from the girls and that still leaves 6,999,999 characters I haven’t a clue about. That sucks! For some reason we invent a character then try to reverse engineer it later. I’m telling you, that is NOT the way to go. Just as every person on this planet should embrace their originality so should the personas we choose for our characters. Again…period.
I am the guiltiest of the guilty. I will take the POV of a character and convince myself it’s not right. It takes a moment of self correction to put it back in place: “Hey, I’m a writer and *I* call the shots!” My characters are mine and mine to puppeteer. No one else’s.
So, in a nutshell, with sorrow in my heart, there really isn’t a true-diehard male POV anyone of us can tap in to. We are just characters in your writings. A man can be whatever you do and don’t want him to be. Make them believable. Make them real within their own fabricated skin and your readers will immerse themselves amongst your words.
The best writing in any kind of fiction, I feel, isn’t writing from research but from the ebbs and flows of day to day observations of the people around us. The soul resides in the living not the made up. It’s our duty as writers to bridge that gap for our fans. We make up characters but the best characters will be a culmination of what we observe of others, not a spaghetti-against-a-wall approach to the opposite sex.
When it comes to the male POV it’s NOT any different than writing a female character into your story in which you are unfamiliar with what motivates her. They are characters. We decide what moves them. What motivates them. What makes them tick. Don’t pigeon hole yourself into believing there is some tried-and-true answer to making a male POV work. We are characters in stories just as females are to men like me. Observe Observe Observe.
That is where the truth in a character resides.
So what do you think, RU Crew? Do you have a “trick” for writing in the male POV?
Join us on Wednesday for Adam Firestone! Woot!
Bio: Like most of us, I’ve been around the block a time or two (or three) in the relationship world. I like to think of myself as having a pretty thick skin, however, that skin doesn’t surround the heart.
I’ve been in love; I’ve been in lust. I’ve been hurt and got up to do it all again, each time having learned more of myself as well as “wants” and “don’t wants” for my next relationship. Amazingly enough, I never gave up on that one true love wrapped in Romance. You can visit me here, at http://thedanceofromanceonline.com
- Empathy. It’s Where Characters Are Born – Handsome Hansel
- Characterization Through Dialogue
- Writing for Boys
- M is for – Motivation with Laurie Schnebly
- Anatomy of the Male Mind: Women Writing in the Male POV