Trying to Write in the Opposite Gender

This is something that many writers decide to try at least once, writing in the perspective of the opposite gender. At first it doesn’t appear easy, and it isn’t when you start for one reason:

You follow the stereotypes.

With “selfie” culture we tend to forget that we are more than the superficial thoughts of what should I wear today and will my team win this week. People in general worry about work, their finances, if that person across the room will walk over to them. Everyone experiences fear, anxiety, love, passion, hatred, and it goes beyond gender because each individual experiences it differently.

Mannerisms can be fake if we try too hard. I mean sure everyone has their tics, when I’m stressed out I run my fingers through my hair, but when you force a mannerism because you think it ‘fits’ their gender you are going to sound very fake and out of touch.

Phrases are also not specific to the gender speaking it, or spoken to. Females can call each other Bro, just as much as a guy can call her that.

What you finally learn on your first few tries?

You learn that to write in the opposite gender you first and foremost must know what is natural to the character outside of gender identification.

Have you tried working with a different gender? What have you learned from it? Let us know in the comments below!

Character Biography (Not Backstory)

I know I always come back to writing backstories for your characters, but sometimes it isn’t enough for the writer. Maybe your character is wanting their life story told so you know how they have become the person they are at the beginning of the plot. Or maybe you are more of a narrative person and want to connect everything on your character sheet together.

Doing a character biography is something you can do strictly for your world binder.

It’s a good way to get to know your character and feel closer to portraying them in a realistic way. Also this can be a good activity for a rainy day when you have nothing to read.

How Do You Start Off?

Start with their name and date of birth and parents. If you want, you can include things like a summary of the parent’s love story, or their circumstances when the character was born.

From there keep going until the present moment of the story. Let your character guide you through it. Take a look at Jane Eyre. The story is a complete character biography, and you feel it. Remember that it is through the character’s eyes you are looking through, not you as the narrator.

What Else Should I Include?

Talk about lost love, deep secrets, that time they had rocks thrown at them by the local bully. Write down all of it. If nothing else use your character sheet as a form of reference for this. Tie in questions that you answered and expand on them more.

Don’t worry about the length of this biography. It can range from a few paragraphs to about as long as your book will be. This is all about your connection to the character and making them as real as possible to you for when you start writing.

Have you tried something like this before? Did you feel closer to your characters, or did you feel like it was just TMI? Let me know in the comments below.

Backstories

A while back I wrote about how backstories are our friends, despite the fact that some readers have major issues with them. Sometimes this dislike is understandable since there are books where too much backstory is included or at least not introduced properly. Because the trouble of backstory is that you can’t throw it out there like an old gaming console to show that you used to play a very long list of games when they came out. Too much can easily turn away a reader even mid-novel. Continue reading