Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Other Side of the Coin

I was a boy crazy fiend as a teenager and I have many journals to prove it. I won’t embarrass myself by revealing any of the content here, although I shudder just thinking about what a total psycho I was when it came to boys. I constantly tried to figure out what boys were thinking. Does he like me or not? I over analyzed the way a boy looked at me or his tone of voice when he said hi. As I look back at my relationships over my teenage and young adult years, clearly, I did not have a handle on how boys think.

Now that my son is fourteen it’s been quite interesting to watch the other side of the gender. Last week he caught a girl writing his name in hearts. He told me it totally creeped him out. All I could think of was, I wrote guys names in hearts, did I creep guys out?
After reading through my journals, I probably did.

Most YA books are told from the girl’s perspective. What I wonder is do I have an accurate account of how the guy would act in a relationship that’s just starting. I just read through my courtship with my husband and there were many ups and downs. The whole time I kept wondering what he was thinking. Sometimes I still wonder that. I’m hoping that by having a son whose entering those teenage years, I can get a glimpse that will give me a heads up on my male characters, which will come in handy as my next book is told from a male’s POV.

Is your MC male or female and if male what are you doing to make sure you create an accurate depiction of the male psyche? For those male readers the opposite question applies.

17 comments:

Paul Greci said...

So far, all my MCs have been male. In order to develop my female characters I ask women questions, and when I was teaching, observed the few female students I had. I worked in a school for at risk teens and 95% of the students were boys.

Jessie Oliveros said...

I'm in the same boat as you. Boys are a mystery, and I don't even have a teenage boy to observe. I think I have a better grasp on their psyche now that I'm not distracted by loving them, but I feel the same way! (And we may have rivaled each other as teens with journaling and boy craziness.)

Dara said...

LOL, I was the exact same way when I was a teenager. I have half a dozen journals that I wrote over the course of three years, and the bulk of them were me trying to figure out if a certain boy liked me and pining over him the entire time. They're quite pathetic actually and I'd be MORTIFIED if anyone ever read them, even now nearly ten years later.

Anyway, almost all the characters I've written have been female and I generally only write one POV. Still, when the time comes that I'll need to write a male POV, I plan on asking hubby a ton of questions to make sure the character comes across as accurate.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I'm lucky - I have two sons and I teach high school. For me, it helps a ton!
www.shannonkodonnell.blogspot.com

giddymomof6 said...

LOL! First off your son cracks me up... but honestly, he knows deep down he liked it, but came to you not knowing how to handle it. and if it was the really pretty girl, he'd have been smiling and freaking out.

I love guys. Though i write (so far) from the girl POV, I would love to tackle some guys. When I write plays it's from all POV's and I find the heroes the most exciting!

Diane said...

It's great that you have those journals to look back on and get insight from. It would be kind of cool to read a book from a boy's point of view. :O)

strugglingwriter said...

I'm writing from a female girl's point of view. My critique group is comprised of all women, so I'm gonna lean heavily on them :)

As for what guys are thinking at that age? I think we pretty much say what we think and otherwise, not much else is going on up there.

Of course, there's Jeff Foxworthy's quote on what a man is thinking, "I'd like a beer, and I'd like to see something nekkid"

Shelli said...

i think a first person boy would be interesting. You don't see many.

Patti said...

Paul: It's good to see the problem exists on the other side.

Jessie:I agree with the understanding better now that I'm not obssessed. I remember your post about boy crazy, and I think I might just beat you, but we'll never know because no one is ever reading these things.

Dara:I'm totally with you on that mortifying bit.

Patti said...

Shannon: Lucky. I spent a weekend with 6 teenage boys in a car and that was quite enlightening.

Jenni: I think he was kind of happy, scarier was the fact that his almost 12 year old brother was kind of jealous.

Diane: I really want to write one.

Paul: Great insight.

Shelli: There definitely isn't many around.

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

All my mc's right now are female, although I do have male characters. I think it's a big challenge to get inside a male mind and see where he's coming from. I'm not perfect at it, but I really try to be authentic!

Robyn Campbell said...

My MC in the YA mystery that I started in August is male. And seventeen! I have six boys and one girl. So writing in boys perspective comes pretty easy for me.

And Patti, you will be able to write the next book told from the male's POV much more easily, with a young male living right in the same house with you. You go!

Katie Ganshert said...

As a romance novelist, I write both female and male pov's. I went to the ACFW conference and there was this class called Male POV. Very intriguing. Very informative. Very hilarious too....not men, just the presenter. He had some funny things to say.

So funny about your journals and your boy-craziness. Maybe we were secret twins, because I have journals to prove the exact same thing!

Lisa and Laura said...

We haven't tried to write the first person from the male perspective yet, but we have a couple ideas for boy books. I'm sort of fascinated by the male mind, but scared too. Seems like it would be easy to muck it up!

Patti said...

Kristen: That's the goal to be authentic, but not too much because I've been around teenage boys, very few are as romantic as they're depicted in books.

Robyn: You have it made.

katie: There seems to be a trend of embarrassing journals.

Lisa & Laura: I can't wait to see if my idea will work.

Cammie said...

Oh my gosh, I kept those journals too! I really ought to burn them but I just don't have the heart ... I think I did rip out a few particularly ludicrous pages at one point, though!

I grew up without a lot of understanding of the male psyche myself, and am amazed by how much I've learned since meeting my husband. Boys are certainly different, but not so much so that we as women writers can't tackle them - literarilly speaking- ... but it's certainly a work in progress, isn't it!?

Tamika: said...

For this very reason, I have hesitated at taking a male POV. I am far from being in tune with the mystical "other gender." You can peg me as terrible interpreter of emotion, reason, and logic. Except for a womans, of course!