Friday, May 11, 2012

Going Undercover

I recently realized that I don't know how to speak like a man.  Since I'm not a man it isn't normally a problem. But I'm writing my current WIP from two POVs, one of which is a male character.  For most of the scenes I think I've got him down pretty well.  But whenever he's with a group of his male buddies, his speech becomes more forced.  I find myself adding "hey man" a lot.

Do guys really talk like that when they're with one another?  Probably not.  And what do they talk about?  Is it all sports and women?  I'm sure they have other stuff to say right?  (Not that women are better, we mostly just gossip about other women!)  But what is the essence of male conversation?  Well I'm going to try to find out.      

For the next few weeks I'm going to be extra nosy wherever I am and zero in on conversations between men.  Of course I might have to wear a baseball cap and a long coat and go under cover because it seems men say things a lot differently when women are around.

Guys out there can you help me?  Tell me what it is you men talk about.

And girls, if you've figured it out can you tell me how you did it?

Have a wonderful weekend!  And for all those moms out there have a Happy Mother's Day on Sunday!!!

Kathy :)  


  1. I feel your pain. I tried to write a play with one of the MCs as a 12 year old boy. It was so hard - I have no idea how 12 year old boys talk!

    Good luck with your eavesdropping!

  2. Good luck with your research. I think men have a kind of shorthand, incomprehensible to women, a lot of them use swear words which I doubt very much you would want to use.

  3. I really have no idea why or how, Kathy, but I'm actually very comfortable writing from a male POV and I've been told it's convincing. However...

    I have great trouble trying to speak from a YA POV. I'm well aware that what I'm writing is coming across as some old bag trying to sound like a kid--LOL--and it's really frustrating. Teens and young adults are quite savvy and would never be convinced by my YA thoughts or dialog. Oddly enough, I can write from a young child's POV easily and convincingly. Weird.

    Like so many writers, I love to sit and eavesdrop on conversations. I really think it's the best way to learn to write a normal give-and-take conversation well. Just people watching in general helps me to craft better, more believable characters.


  4. I did a lot of research when I was writing from a male POV. The two things I remember are that A: they use pronouns more; and B: a group of guys will insult each other a lot.

    Good luck with the eavesdropping. I'm sure that will provide some interesting insights.

  5. I Googled "How do men talk to each other?" Many interesting things came up. Check it out!

  6. My experience of listening in to men's conversations is that they're mostly boring and talk about work. This is because the ones I eavesdrop on are usually hanging out with work colleagues. I suspect that they swear when we're not around in the misguided belief that we don't know about swear words and would faint if we heard any. Then there are the wind-breaking competitions, because men surely do that when they're in a group, don't they?

    As you can see, I haven't got a clue either. Maybe they just don't talk because when I'm out in a mixed group the men never seem to say anything at all... or that could be because they can't get a word in edgeways!

  7. BTW there's a blog award waiting over at my blog for you.

  8. If I were to write something from a female perspective I would write it AS I WANTED HER TO BE. The truth is that you know "manspeak" better than you think. Just think about how different types of women speak different from each other.

    Most men may seem alike but we each have our own personalities and beliefs. Yes there are "Hey Man" men, and "Duuuuuuude" men, but I'm not one of them. A man's age can change how he speaks. His spirituality. The depth of his person. Is he introverted or extroverted? Intelligent? Wise? Stupid? Self actualized? Single? Family man? Egotistical? Sincere? Etc, etc...

    Write your male as the person he is and who/how you want him to be in the story.