Cindy Spencer Pape writes paranormal, contemporary, historic and erotic romance. She’s also a fan of fantasy and mystery, so she’ll fit right in here. I first learned about her through her urban fantasy, MOTOR CITY FAE, which I purchased when I first got my nook (along with a whole slew of Carina Press ebooks). She decided to write about how to write from a male point of you, (if you don’t happen to be male). So without any further ado, heeeeeeeere’s Cindy!
Through His Eyes
Let’s face it—most romance readers and authors are female. Most. Not all. But it’s that bulk of you ladies I’m addressing today, though any guys out there can probably put a reverse spin on what I’m about to say and get some use out of it. Anyway, it can be difficult to write deep point of view when the POV character is the opposite gender. I’ve been told I have a knack for writing believable male POV, which isn’t a huge surprise. As a teen, I spent most of my time as “one of the guys,” a tomboy despite my fondness for jewelry and romance. I have two brothers, no sisters, and a mom who didn’t own a lipstick—or if she did it was older than me. Now I live with a husband and two sons. My father and brother share a house nearby. One of the dogs is female, but otherwise, I’m on my own.
So, as much as any straight woman can, I’ve got a pretty good grip on the male psyche. Oh—and I still can’t grasp the concept of $300 shoes, so maybe I get guys better than I get other women! One more caveat: every man is different and unique. Many have soft spots—even the most macho man can have one or two typically “feminine” traits. So guys, please don’t take offense at this if one of my generalizations is dead wrong for you! My very masculine husband is a clothes snob and a gourmet cook. I can burn water.
So maybe that’s rule #1: there are always exceptions. Adding one or two of these characteristics will actually make your guy MORE believable—even if he’s a vampire or space alien.
And here are a few more generalizations that might help some women write more believable male POV. Take the ones that work for your character and ignore the rest.
#2: Shorter, crisper sentences in speech and in thought processes. Guys tend to be more linear, and prefer less complex language. Read Ernest Hemingway or Elmore Leonard.
Also cruder terminology, and don’t skimp on the sports analogies. A woman may think of a last-ditch attempt in a dire situation as just that. A guy will probably call it a “Hail Mary pass.”
#3: Protectiveness of his family and friends is bred into the bone and reinforced in his upbringing. He can’t help it. Possessiveness of his female is an outgrowth of that, and pretty hard to overcome.
#4: Simplify descriptions, especially colors & clothes. Unless he’s an artist of some sort, or has six sisters, he probably neither know or care about the difference between lilac and mauve. He probably also doesn’t know the difference between a cardigan and a shrug, kitten heels vs. princess heels, and he doesn’t know that strappy is an adjective about shoes. And he doesn’t care. He thinks “tight blue sweater” not “soft azure, angora wraparound.”
#5: Once he makes a decision, that’s it. Skip the internal agonizing. Guys are far less likely to waste time second-guessing themselves. In our society, they’ve been raised with far more self confidence than we women.
#6: Sports are important. They just are. Maybe not all sports, or all the time, but they’re part of the male lifestyle, and discussing them is as important for male bonding as talking about boyfriends or babies is for females.
#7: He WILL think about sex pretty much whenever he thinks about the heroine, unless they’re in immediate danger—and maybe even then. Love can make all the difference in his life, but sex is hardwired into his brain.
While I could go on for days, this is a little bit to get you thinking about using a slightly different voice for writing in male POV. And guys, remember—I said there are always exceptions! Vive la difference!
To illustrate her point, Cindy has provided an excerpt from her contemporary romance, The Cowboy’s Christmas Bride. To give you some idea of what it’s about, here’s the blurb:
Running from a wedding gone wrong, Allison finds herself snowbound with a sexy rancher. CJ has been left at the altar once, so he’s leery of getting involved with a runaway bride, while Allison is afraid to love at all. Can the magic of the holidays, and CJ’s big crazy family, help them overcome the past, and make this the best Christmas ever?
And the excerpt:
He carried his sleepy nephew over to the portable playpen and laid him on his back, the way his sisters had taught him with their kids years earlier. After covering the boy with a blanket, CJ stalked down the hall toward the bathroom to find the woman who’d invaded his home.
The door was still shut and the light was on, he noticed right away, and he closed his eyes in relief that she wasn’t wandering around his house on her own. No, he reasoned, she’d probably just decided to take a shower or bath to warm up, which he’d have suggested himself if his brain had been working properly. Still, he’d better make sure she was all right. He could practically hear his mother’s voice. Ever since they’d died, his conscience had sounded like one of his parents. Which one, well, that depended on the situation. Mistreatment of a houseguest was definitely Mom’s territory. He leaned forward and knocked.
“Everything okay in there?” Then he heard the sobs. Damn it all to hell, she was crying again. He hated it when women cried. Neither his mother nor his sisters had cried often, so CJ had never learned to deal with sobbing females. To him, tears had always meant a serious problem, though as an adult, he’d learned the error of that belief. Some women, his ex-fiancée, for example, used tears as a weapon. Every time he’d upset her, it had cost him plenty—pearl earrings for missing dinner, a diamond bracelet for forgetting one of her imaginary ‘anniversaries’. No, women like his sisters were rare compared to women like Daphne, so CJ instinctively put Allison Kendricks in the latter category.
Still, his overactive conscience nagged, if something was genuinely wrong with the woman in his bathroom, he was the only person available to help. Responsibility was a pain in the butt. He tapped politely on the door. “What’s wrong, Ms. Ken—Allison?”
There was a shuffling noise, and the door opened to reveal her standing there, still wearing her bedraggled wedding gown, though it looked somehow deflated. Politeness required him to stifle a chuckle. With her stringy hair and smeared mascara, she bore a striking resemblance to a young Alice Cooper in full makeup. Figuring she wouldn’t appreciate the comparison, he kept his mouth shut.
“I c-can’t get the stupid thing undone!” Two fat tears rolled down her cheeks, and he noticed she was shivering again. When he raised an eyebrow, she turned to reveal a long line of tiny pearl buttons running from the gown’s high neckline to the curve of her butt. A few buttons at the top and a couple more at her waistline were loose, but the rest remained secure. The thing had clearly been designed for a bridegroom to take off slowly, rather than being removed by the wearer.
Gritting his teeth, CJ reached out a hand and rested it steadily on her shoulder. Allison jumped like a skittish colt, but then quieted almost immediately.
“Thank you,” she murmured in a tiny voice as he began to unfasten the damned dinky buttons. There had to be at least thirty of the little suckers, he griped silently, his thick callused fingers slipping off of the damp plastic pearls. He finally got the chance to peel a woman out of her wedding gown, and not only did he not get to sleep with her, but even his hands wouldn’t cooperate. He hoped the fates were laughing their heads off at their great cosmic joke on CJ Hall.
And let the discussion begin! Feel free to post your own related excerpts and to comment on excerpts that others may post.The usual rules apply:
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