Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Points of view

I had an appointment at a financial institution yesterday.

Dear People With Offices With Doors: If the door is open, people sitting right outside can hear you complaining that you're very busy and who set up this appointment anyway???

Also, if the client has short hair, but is named Margaret? Chances are the client should not be addressed as "Mister."

I've always had short hair, so this wasn't the first time I've been mistaken for the male of the species.

I suspect that's one reason why I have no qualms writing from a male POV.

I also suspect I don't find it writing from a male POV an issue because I write historicals. All my characters have different world views and perspectives than I do, regardless of gender, so I'm making a major creative leap whatever character's POV I'm in.

Other writers, I'm curious -- do you think about gender differences a lot when you write?


Kimber Chin said...

I think writers have to.
Men and women are SO different.

I recently read a brilliant (and surprisingly entertaining) book called Leadership And The Sexes. Did you know that motion helps men think? That's why they throw those irritating stress balls around the office. And why they slam dunk the garbage can. And why you see them in the middle of meetings stand up and walk to look out the window.

If we don't capture all that,
we don't create believable characters.

On the subject of financial institutions, I love it when reps spend the entire presentation giving the hubby the hard sell and then when decision time comes, the hubby turns to me and asks "Kimber, what do you think?"


Kimber Chin said...

BTW... I can't see how you could possibly be mistaken for a boy.

If it was an Asian person saying that, it could be because most Asian languages don't have male/female pronouns or addresses. They have a single word. It is one of the toughest concepts to grasp.

I've gotten used to being Mister Chin.

Leah Braemel said...

I got the shock of my life the first time I let my eldest son (who was in a college Screenwriting course) read something I'd written. It was right after I came out of the 'writing closet' about five years back. He trashed it completely, saying "Mo-o-m, a guy wouldn't think that way/do this that or the other. He'd ..." and then he proceeded to give me an indepth analysis of guy-speak and guy-think. And from the books I've read on it since, he was dead right. So I turn to him (and my hubby and teenage son as well) when I want to ensure I'm writing a realistic male POV.

BUT I've also had a female critique partner tell me they "didn't think a guy would speak like this" when she was reading a manuscript my HUSBAND had written. (She'd forgotten she wasn't reading my work.) So I have to wonder, are women authors tougher about just what the male POV is than male authors/readers are?

Margaret Moore said...

No, it wasn't an Asian person. My hair had been squished by my toque, and I was in my usual jeans and no make-up, but even so...the fact my name was right in front of her face made it extra surprising.

Margaret Moore said...

I guess the thing is, I don't think "Is this the way a guy would talk? I think, "Is this the way my character would talk?" Gender would be a factor, but it's not something I consider first and foremost.