I’ve been sitting on this question for a while because I wasn’t sure how to answer it. I think I finally figured it out! Aliana wants to know…
What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered when writing about characters from the opposite sex?
Writing men is hard. And not just during the fun moments! Seriously, though, men are a challenge.
Yes, I’m married. I have an amazing husband, a six year old son, a brother who is 17 months younger than me, and a wonderful father. But none of that means I understand men!
Women are complex. We’re moody and temperamental and emotional and a little crazy sometimes. I get that because I am one. I know we’re all different, but I feel like I understand women since I am one. I’ve felt all those things. All those struggles.
Men want us to believe they’re simple creatures. If they have sex, they’re happy. If they have food, they’re happy. If they have a bit of sleep, they’re happy. Not necessarily in that order, and definitely not in balance, but you know what I mean.
The challenge is that men are not simple. Men are just as complex as we are. They have mood swings. They have emotions. They want more than sex, food, and sleep.
Most of the time.
Characters though, they’re not real men. Sometimes, they’re the men we want real men to be. An alpha with a softer side. A beta with a dangerous vibe. An average Joe who is damaged.
Writing men is tough.
No matter how many men I know personally, how many I am close to, I’m not inside their heads. I don’t know them, the way they think, the reasons they do things, their fears, hopes, and dreams. I can speculate, but I haven’t been there.
Graham, Puffy & Precious, was a challenge for me because he’s a little bit alpha and I struggle with that. Don’t get me wrong, alpha can be sexy, but I’m not intimately aware of alpha. My husband isn’t alpha, a fact I’m very happy about. So writing a guy who was a little alpha was tough for me. A guy who was going to jump to conclusions, get jealous, and try to control things. I don’t know that I would have put up with as much as Abby, but then again, she was a challenge for him, too!
Brady, Fat & Fine, was another struggle for me. He was so wounded and angry that I had trouble relating to him. I sympathized with him, felt bad for him, but I didn’t know him. Sam was hurt also, with her own wounds. The two of them were both in need of someone who could help them heal, but I felt like I’d walked in Sam’s shoes more than Brady’s. And I struggled a bit with him.
Every man is a challenge for me. Every man gives me more than a few moments that I hesitate. I agonize over their words, their thoughts, their actions. In the end, I write them the best way I can, and hope that they are real enough to make you a believer, but fictional enough to make you love them!
Thanks so much, Aliana, for your question! If you have a question, send me an email (mary (at) maryethompson (dot) com) with Q&A in the subject, or post it in the comments below, and I’ll answer your question right here on the blog!