I recently went to a conference and entered a workshop taught by Maralys Wills. Obviously she’s great because this is a post on all the tips she gave us on masculinizing your book for the male market. (If you like what I gleaned from Ms. Wills, you might want to check out some of her books like Damn the Rejections Full Speed Ahead: The Bumpy Road to Getting Published.“
Men tend to stick with books written by men. I get irritated when I read books from teen perspectives only to find the writer can’t write a teen voice, why not men when they read a book written by someone clearly misinformed on men? You’ve got to know your subject! And the dilemma for most women writers is that we write men as we see them, not as men actually are.
When it comes to dialogue, here’s what Ms. Wills advises.
Tip # 1: Eavesdrop on men.
If you missed your Stalker 101 class in high school, then just try hanging around men you know. I’ve got guy friends, and am close with my brothers and other male relatives. Listening and watching them is great for my male characterizations. Just don’t tell them you’re studying them. I can’t imagine why, but they think it’s creepy.
Tip # 2: As you write think terse. Think brief. Think tough. Think strong. Think cut-to-the-chase.
Some of the men you know may not actually be any of those things, but that’s how they view themselves, so get with the delusion.
Tip #3: Ask the most masculine man you know to read your manuscript. Suggest that he offer alternative word choices anywhere and everywhere (e.g. Instead of “Let’s leave now,” how about “Let’s shove off.”)
I’m fortunate to have my dad, brothers, uncles etc. Since I’ve got several main guy characters in my book, I bullied them *cough* I mean, asked them politely to read my manuscript. They’ve told me when things get boring, how to reword things to make my fiction boys more realistic, and, my favorite, “a dude would never say this, what is wrong with you?!”
She also had some stuff about attitudes but I’ll save that for the next post!
So what do you think is the best way to masculinize writing? Any tips of your own? Any favorite manly books?