You are a woman writing from the point of view of a male character.
You are a man writing a novel from the 1st person perspective of a woman.
This type of writing can be tricky if you’re not used to doing it. You want to know your characters best, but can you really know what’s going through a woman’s mind if you’re a man and vice versa?
Why it’s different
As a writer, you’re used to writing what you know and being the opposite sex is something you are most likely to infer from tv shows or dramatic romance movies.
So how do you write a character that is a man/woman when you’re not one?
How I do it
In my first novella, When Love Hurts, I switch point of view with my second main character, Jaylen. Even though he’s a man, I write his words and dialogue as if I was a man myself. I picture Jaylen as a strong and confident man and since a woman can have those traits as well, I was able to get into a confident person’s mindset to make it work.
I did this by focusing on gender similarities instead of their differences. Both genders need to eat, sleep, and feel acceptance. They also both have strengths and weaknesses. You can create your character to have whatever personality you choose regardless of gender.
What you need to think about is dialogue. You don’t want your female characters to sound like men and your men to sound like women. (At least, if you don’t intend for them too.)
Reread your dialogue and ask yourself if a man or a woman would really say that. Yes, your character can be unique but you don’t want it to be unintentionally out of place for your character.
If you’re really unsure about your dialogue, don’t feel discouraged to ask a friend of that sex if it sounds like it would come from a man or woman.
Don’t worry too much about the different thoughts men and women have because they are different from character to character. If you keep your story plot-focused then your story should continue to be moving forward.
As people, we interact with the opposite sex every day and there are things we learn from them. We have some things in common but we’re still different.
We can learn a lot from just observing people. Not in a creepy way but to study how different people handle different things whether they are a guy or a girl. You can read more about observing people or eavesdropping here.
I think the main thing to remember is to go with your gut instincts. If you have a feeling something doesn’t sound right, it’s better to ask a few people and be sure than to keep questioning it over and over in your head. Men and woman are the same and very different at the same time so writing from a different perspective like that can be challenging at times.
What do you do when you write a character from the opposite gender of your own? Share your creative findings in the comments.