Most of my books center around male protagonists. I am a female writer, but I just find male characters much more interesting (and much less stereotyped). Whether you’re prone to writing from the point of view of the opposite gender or not, at some point, you’re going to need to know how to do it.
I’ve seen plenty of blog posts on how to write guys if you’re a female writer, (and sometimes vice versa,) and they’re helpful, but I think they put too much emphasis on getting into the other gender’s mind. Sure, that’s necessary, but it stresses me out trying to be like, “Okay, I have to make sure this male character does NOT think that because guys don’t think that way, he always has to be doing this and this, if he does this thing for certain reasons it’s wrong”.
It’s an obvious truth that boys and girls think differently. It’s a fact of life that we’ll never quite understand how the other works. But I don’t think it’s helpful to constantly be obsessing over your character’s every thought and if it fits with the male/female standard. For me, it’s overwhelming to try to remember everything I read about the male mind as I write a character.
My advice is to look at your opposite-gender character not as a different species, but just as a person. Treat them like you would any other character. Figure out their personality and the other things that make up their character, and run with it. I rarely look at my male characters and think, “You’re a boy, so I have to write you as a boy in this scene. You need to be boyish and you need to not overthink this because boys don’t do that.” Rather, I see it as, “With his personality, how would he act in this situation?”
I would suggest not bothering with memorizing and trying to understand all the different ways the opposite gender thinks right away. Give it time. Write your opposite-gender character, and let people read it. If they raise concerns about, “Wow, this guy is acting totally girly” or “Your girl character just did something a girl would never do”, and you think their criticism is valid, then rethink how you’re writing the character and read some articles on how the other gender thinks.
Of course, it’s always good to get information from people of the opposite gender that you know in real life (moms, dads, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, etc.) if you need help, and keep their advice in mind, but other than that, write your characters without worrying about the schematics of their behavior and thought process. Most times, writing from the opposite gender’s point of view isn’t as hard as it might seem.
Keep your mind open and your pen sharp!
It’s your turn! Do you favor writing in the POV of the opposite gender? How do you do it? Do you have any tips on how your gender tends to think and solve problems? Do tell!