Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Gender Games

I'm back! I've had computer woes for most of the past seven days, so have been offline pretty much all of that time. It's good to be back :)

I was just floating in and out of the #yalitchat over on Twitter. For those of you who haven't participated, it's a rollercoaster ride on Twitter with a whole bunch of great folks who are interested in YA (young adult) writing.

Tonight's topic swerved around a bit, and one of the topics that popped up was gender. Specifically, if authors ever wrote outside their gender, and why or why not.

I enjoy writing from both the male and female perspective. Probably because most of my writing has a romantic side to it, I tend to have two main characters - one male, one female. I write from each mc's pov in separate scenes.

A friend pointed out a website called The Gender Genie that analyzes a piece of writing and tells you which gender appears to have written that section. I've checked out several sections and am happy to report that each mc shows up as the correct gender :)

I think I'm comfortable writing from the male pov because I've always had great male friends, and of course there are my great relationships with my hubby, son, dad and other family members. Plus as a teacher, I get to know boys pretty well!

How about you? Do you write exclusively from the pov of your own gender or do you switch it up a bit?


Elspeth Futcher said...

I shall certainly check out this Gender Genie; what a useful tool! I write from the pov of both sexes, in fact for my current wip I've got six different pov's telling a mystery involving 12 characters. Of the six, four are men and two are women.


Jemi Fraser said...

It's a great tool!

Sounds like a great story. I haven't taken up the challenge of more than 2 povs yet. That would be a lot of fun! What a great way to add some misinformation and bias to the story :)

Elizabeth Bradley said...

I often write from the male POV. How fun, thanks for the tip about Gender Genie! Glad you got you computer troubles handled, I hate when that happens.

Just Wendy said...

Welcome back!

Interesting topic. As most of my characters are male, I hope I do the gender justice with my writing.

Will definitely be checking out Gender Genie, whilst crossing all my fingers and toes and holding my breath!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

No, I've mainly just written from the female perspective. I will occasionally hop into the head of a man (that sounds weird to put it that way!), but I don't spend long there.

Very interesting topic and thanks for the link!

Mystery Writing is Murder

Jemi Fraser said...

Elizabeth B - It is a fun tool - cross your fingers my computer troubles are over!

Quillfeather - Let me know how it turns out! I bet you'll be just fine :)

Elizabeth S - I agree - head hopping is a lot of fun - even if it does sound a little odd!

Debra Lynn Shelton said...

So far my mc's have all been female. I like "peeking" into the mysterious male mind in my supporting characters. Maybe one day that will change, but so far that's been my MO. See you next week in YALICHAT! ;-)

Cat Woods said...

I write a lot from the male perspective. Of course, I am a mother to three boys and married a man, so go figure.

Maralys Wills (Damn the Rejections Full Speed Ahead) has a great chapter on writing cross gender. Especially for us women. Boy speak is very different than girly chat. She suggested having a male read your ms so your dialogue rings true.

This NaNoSeason I'm writing a novel about multiple personalities. My MC has twelve alter egos: 5 of whom are for sure male. If I pull this off, it will be a miracle!

Carolina M. Valdez Schneider said...

I write from both. But I have to admit, I have my husband read over my wok to make sure my male characters don't sound too feminine (unless intentional). Gotta check out the gender genie.

I think overall, it can be difficult to write from any other character's pov, regardless of gender. I think as writers, we have to slip on our acting hats, otherwise all characters end up sounding like different versions of us.

As a side note, tried checking into the YAlitchat last night--boy, totally frenetic. Needed a Matrix plug to just download all the data coming in! So much valuable info! I could hardly keep up, let alone comment.

Jemi Fraser said...

Debra - it is fun checking out the male perspective, isn't it? Looking forward to the next #yalitchat too :)

Cat - That's great advice! Having a male reader check out the thoughts and dialogue would certainly be worthwhile! Good luck with the character. That will be such a fun challenge :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Carolina - You're so right. I think writers all have some "actor" in their soul :)

#yalitchat is extremely chaotic! My computer can have a really hard keeping up. I tried using TweetChat, but my computer kept freezing. I've switched to TweetDeck, and it is better. You can make a #yalitchat column, but you need to remember to write in the hashtag - I always forget!

jmartinlibrary said...

It's great to read everyone's thoughts on this. So far, I've been to afraid to write from a male perspective. I haven't perfected my own female voice yet!

This post made me think of Neil Gaiman's belief in female vs. male gendered books. He says every book is either one or the other. Interesting thoughts...

Thanks, Jemi!

Logan said...

I'm a little worried about the potrayal of my female characters-- I want to do them justice, but it can be very difficult to get into the opposit gender's mind-set. It seems like it take me three times as long with a female character's dialogue, much less her POV.

Jemi Fraser said...

Jenny - the more I read about Neil Gaiman, the more intrigued I am. I'll definitely have to check out the link. Thanks for sharing it :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Logan - It is difficult! I find the more I get to know my character, the easier it becomes. At the beginning of the story, it is definitely slower. I find after a few weeks of writing, I slip into their mind sets more easily. But, it's always tough to know if you're doing it well!

VR Barkowski said...

Thanks for the Gender Genie - how fun. Been pasting in text for the last half hour. :)

I have two protagonists, one male, one female. I write the female 1st person and the male in 3rd. Similar to Logan: I'm afraid if I try to write the male in 1st, I'll lose *his* voice.

Jemi Fraser said...

It is fun, isn't it :)

I haven't written much in 1st person in either gender. I'm always more comfortable in 3rd. The times I have done 1st, though, I've always written in the female perspective. I might have to try male 1st just for fun!

Belle said...

I hope I've improved. Quite a while ago, I wrote a romance and let my sister read part of it, a scene where my hero and his brother are having lunch. She said it sounded like two sisters talking! Thanks for the Gender Genie link - I think it will come in handy.

Jemi Fraser said...

Belle - You're welcome! I hope it helps you out a bit. I'm sure you were able to fix up that scene in no time :)