As a female author, writing for a predominantly female audience—it’s my job to make the reader fall in love with my hero. That takes thinking like a man, not like a woman. When I’m in a male POV, my sentences are shorter, crisper, cleaner. My heroes tend not to give long monologues about emotions or baggage. They are pretty easy-going and quick to think. Their reactions are fairly simple. Looking a naked heroine is better than one who has on frilly layers. Men are visual while women romanticize.
My heroines are far different in comparison. Deep thinkers, emotionally invested in other women, they’re helpmates and nurturers. They want to please everyone. They’re insecure (but won’t show it) and want to be taken care of.
Here’s a classic scenario that displays the differences between how a man behaves versus a woman.
Betty wants Jane to go to coffee with her and Sally, only Jane doesn’t like Sally so Jane has to come up with a reason why she has to decline. After explaining that she has to defrost her freezer, make cookies for next month’s school carnival, do the laundry and get her husband's suit from the dry cleaner—she’s unable to meet for coffee.
Same set up with a man. Bud wants Tom to go to coffee with him and Jim, only Tom thinks Jim is a jerk, so Tom says, “Can’t make it.”
The difference is, women explain everything when a simple one word reply would suffice. A man knows he won’t lose a friendship over a basic decline. A woman will fret over it long after she’s given a lengthy explanation.
Ever go to a clothing store and listen to the women? The word “cute” flows freely. A woman is in search a dress so she tries on selections at Store A. She likes a floral dress, but Store B might have something better. After exhausting her search on Store Z, she goes back to Store A and buys the first dress. A man in search of a dress shirt, goes to Store A. He likes the fit of the shirt so he buys it in five different colors.
I give these examples, not to diss my gender! But because I’m predisposed to thinking like and behaving like these women. And yet, I must create a story with a powerful male figure who thinks the opposite of me.
In a romance novel, a female author has to be able to switch gears and write a male point of view in a very basic and straight-forward manner. Women want to fall in love with a hero who takes action, uses few words, can protect her, and make love to her until her toes curl.
Of course there are no hard-set rules. I give my heroes some female qualities and my heroines some male qualities. I like when a hero can reveal a soft heart and a heroine is capable of defending herself. There are complexities to a hero, he may be rough around the edges, have a past that haunts him, and when I express this in his voice, I use shorter sentences and less time analyzing why he is, who he is.
Just like a man—they are who they are, and they like keeping women wondering: What is he thinking?
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