Inside the head of a boy…(How to write from a guy’s POV)

Writing from a guy’s POV is something I find kind of hard. It’s interesting but it also requires some different things than writing from a girl’s POV. Since I am a girl, girly things come easier to me and I tend to prefer writing from a female character’s POV for most of the story. But sometimes you need to write from a guy’s point of view and to make things easier for all the gals trying to write like a guy – I put together a list of things I found helpful to think about when writing a male character when you’re just starting out.

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This is from reading male authors, talking to some guy friends and reading about writing guys as a girl. There are apparently a few things guys do differently than women – these are not fact or anything just some things that seem to be true and help me.

Things to think about when writing from a guy’s POV

1) Gossip is stupid. At least the way girls gossip. Boys will, of course, talk about people but often it’s more direct perhaps than how girls do it (I think we tend to be sneakier and repeat things over and over).

This, of course, depends a lot on where you set your story. In high school, everyone gossips; who is dating who, who has the coolest new haircut, who got a nose job. Also, guys find a different kind of gossip interesting. Sports, who has a ‘gay’ shirt and other topics that are key in their lives (could be an art contest or Taylor Swift concert, it just depends on your character) is of course important. This applies for all characters, we don’t gossip about things that we don’t find interesting or might somehow influence us.

This is not to say boys aren’t deeply affected by gossip. They are, because men, in general, tend to have less of an emotional support network (say a mean girl class you fat. You go talk to your friends about how that upset you/ or they’re right next to you and they tell you, you’re not fat – you’re perfect the way you are. If a guy gets told he looks fat or some other insult, a friend might stand up for him (or they for themselves) but afterward guys rarely re-hash or talk about how an offensive comment affected them emotionally. So the comment might get more ‘power’ in their mind because it’s not denied by someone they care about.)

2) Can only “do” one thing at once. This is something I’ve heard a lot about and I’ve noticed in my guy friends. It’s not that they can’t do more than one thing it’s that they like it. Like if there is a problem they want to fix it before doing something else and once they have a plan to do it, go for it. I feel like me and my girlfriends tend to spend more time thinking of different ways to fix before actually doing it than my guy friends.

Which I think this is important when writing. As a woman and writing female characters I tend to skip around in their thoughts. So when writing guys I try to focus on one idea or thought or plan get full focus and then move on, rather than run a whole bunch of plans at once. I feel like this makes the character’s POV different from the female one. So while it might not be how all guys work, it’s a good way to separate the internal voices of your characters.

3) More visual. Guys are often about things they can see rather than things they can feel, at least at first. Also, a lot of studies show boys think about sex between two and three times more often than girls, so maybe keep that in mind (this does not mean all guys go around just thinking about sex all the time but when writing a male character adding them noticing something sexy about their love interest licking her lips – yes, I’m looking at you Mr. Gray – might be good.)  But this also applies to other aspects of your male characters, I find some male authors often repeat descriptions of things they like (which could just as well be his car or new sneakers as his love interest) so that could also be something to try.

What Do Guys Do?

1) They do things: Unlike girls who like to talk about what we’re going to do guys actually do things! 😛 At least that was how it always was in older books, “the passive woman” and “the active man”. There is however still a lot of this still around and in some instances, it might be worth being aware of. If you want to play the trope straight or try to subvert it is up to you.

A lot of the time, though, guys tend to “go for it” when they have an idea more than girls. Especially as teens, men can be a bit more rash which can be seen in the stats on how many more accidents teen boys are in compared to girls.

Not that there aren’t active and action focused characters that are girls and more thoughtful planers that are guys. That works and the other way around is cool too. This has a lot to do with a character’s personality and who the main character is. If your main character and POV is a girl, she needs to be the one who gets them out of trouble. She needs to take action on her own, she can’t be ‘saved’ by the male character/ hero/love interest at the end.

2) Don’t talk around things, this is another stereotypical thing but most of the time guys are a little blunter. If they don’t want to do something they just say “That sounds boring. I don’t want to do it.” while most girls go “yeah sure that’s a pretty nice idea but maybe we could do this other thing instead.” Your male character might be shy or timid and not want to offend the character he’s talking to but if that’s the case he’ll probably just shut up and go along with it. No matter how boring he thinks it sounds, rather than talk his way around it. This will, of course, differ depending on who your character is around, but overall, guys tend to have “learned” they don’t need to apologize as much for their opinions as girls.

3) Do care about their hair and clothes. This one might be obvious but I’ve seen some stories on Wattpad that makes me think it’s not. Even if you are a guy (or writing from the POV of one) you’re not going to be like “I picked up whatever was on the floor and didn’t brush my hair or teeth before leaving the house” unless your character is a complete slob. Your guy character might not pick up a pair of jeans and go “wow my butt would look so great in these” but they probably have favorite clothes they think make them look more muscular, thinner or taller too. Don’t go overboard but remember it’s not just girls that want to look hot!

Now, this is very general. Not all guys are this way – because we are all people before we’re men/women. I think what’s really most important to remember when writing male (or female character for men) is that all your characters are human (well unless they’re werewolves or wizard but you get my point). I really like what G.G.R. Martin said about writing women “You know, I’ve always considered women to be people.” I think that’s one of the key aspects of writing a character, be it a he or a she, is that s/he is an individual with dreams, desires and inner demons. So when you’re having trouble with writing a male character just remember, we’re more similar than we’re different; so focus on the character as an individual and you’ll do just fine!

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Mary Sue – Who Is She and Why She’s Bad News For Your Story | The Plot & Other Problems
  2. Trackback: All Best Selling Book Series Have This In Common | The Plot & Other Problems
  3. Trackback: How J.K. Rowling changed the world! It’s all about timing. | The Plot & Other Problems
  4. leoney
    Feb 25, 2018 @ 16:25:32

    To be honest, I kinda think you are wrong. I don’t mean that your analysis is wrong, since you clearly put some thought and effort into it, and I don’t know how men think or how other authors write. But writing for men and how men really are is different.

    1. everyone who isn’t ace or demi, thinks about sex a lot. And it takes around 2.8 (I’m not joking) seconds for a human brain to decide whether or not someone is attractive. We do this for everyone, and writing that down every time a new person arrives in your story is bullshit. It’s like writing down that a room is roughly four by five meters, nobody cares, you are describing the mood and trying to express how someone feels. You are not a scientist.

    2. Boys gossip sooo much. The problem isn’t there, it’s with what they gossip about. Especially teenage boys are very unsure about themselves and others, there is a lot of pressure on them, mainly from other boys. You need to be a man, you shouldn’t cry, you should be athletic, not too high grades, but not too low either. You need to dress right and most of all: don’t act like a girl. Gossiping is girly, so replace that word with talking and you’re set. Here’s an example I heard in the cafeteria once:
    Boy 1: What do you think about Adam?
    Boy 2: I don’t know. He dresses weird. I think he’s gay.
    Boy 1: What do you mean?
    Boy 2: He has these weird shoes, they’re like yellow and pinkish-purple
    Boy 1 (laughing): You’re kidding?!
    Boy 2: No really, their Nikes. That’s gay as fuck
    Boy 1: Hey, I wear Nikes!
    That sounds like gossip to me. But it’s things they care about and people they know. I wasn’t really interested in Adam, but they clearly were.

    3. You know that’s just mean and perpetuating stereotypes. To be honest, I have the idea that your conversation with real men wasn’t a good conversation, I think it was taking a guy in his friend group and asking him personal questions. Remember that boys too have a reputation to uphold in front of their friends. Remember that they have pressures too. Remember that the act like human beings.
    I can’t believe I have to say that..

    Well, good luck anyway. I hope this helped, I’ve been writing for about eight years now and was kinda hoping there were some real tips here.

    • Alyssa Brandon
      Feb 25, 2018 @ 20:22:22

      Hey, thanks for the comment and I’m sorry the post wasn’t helpful to you. I wrote it more for the Wattpad community which is a lot of teen (girls) just starting out with their writing.

      A lot of the time boys / male characters over there are written very oddly and so I just wanted to give them some tips and things to think about.

      Just like you did in your comment, I do point out at the end that it’s about characters as individuals and people and not their gender that is best to focus on that.

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