Friday, March 25, 2011

What is the Difference in the Male voice versus the Female voice?

I'm reading a book right now, written by a very popular indie published author, a man, who is a very talented writer. There's just one thing this writer doesn't do well (IMHO) and it's kind of an important thing. He doesn't know how to write in a female voice.

This book is part of a series about a female police detective. I didn't realize when I started the book that the main character was a woman. Her name is Jack, short for Jacqueline, but I didn't know that until a couple of chapters in. Imagine my surprise when I figured it out because Jack had sounded and acted just like a man up to that point. #:0)

So what are the differences between the two voices?

That isn't a purely simple answer. Obviously, no two women (or men) are alike. Some women, have non-traditional jobs for a female, such as cop or military. These women might have different motivations and characteristics than their more delicate sisters. #:0) Some men are priests or decorators or dancers.

But generally, certain rules apply.

Women look at life through a more emotional lens. Men focus more on sensations, and how things affect them physically.

Men tend to speak more gruffly, in kind of verbal shorthand. Women like to describe and explain.

Women think about whether others like her. Men don't really care.

Women tend not to argue or fight unless it's really important or they feel they have no choice. Men...well...they don't call them the warrior sex for nothing!

Women think about things like how they look, their relationships, whether they should eat the burger or the salad. Most men think they look like movie stars and would be shocked to learn that they don't. For the most part, men eat what they want, unless there's a reason to start watching what they eat. (Like, for example, someone told them that they DON'T look like a movie star!)

These types of details should come through in a story's characters if they are to ring true and find a place in a reader's heart. And when a writer fails to capture the essence of the other sex in his/her writing, it can pull you right out of the story.

And sometimes you aren't able to find your way back in.

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