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The Key to Writing Women (If You’re a Man)


Get Rid Of Slimy girlS

It seems daunting, i know. To be a man and write from the perspective of a woman. But i can help. I, too, was afraid of writing a woman. Sure, there were some girls in a story or two but they weren’t really at the forefront. I remember i did an exercise in my creative writing class where i had to write as the opposite sex and i didn’t do so well. But after the class was done, i wrote 3 stories told from the point of view of a lovely lady. I think i may have the key to writing women, which i’ll share soon because it’s a simple little tweak that will change the way you write women.

So many of my peers do it wrong. They look at women from an outside perspective. They write women how they see them. The problem here is that many writers (especially the males) are the heartbroken type. They have what we call in the industry “issues”. They’ve had bad relationships and it’s given them an insidious, underlying misogyny.

It’s a little bit alarming and it’s everywhere, not just in writing. Men are so misguided when it comes to women and instead of dealing with their issues (like i did), men would rather just put it off onto women. It’s easier to just shift the blame onto someone else than to work through it yourself. Look, if you’ve had tons of shitty relationships and you hate women because of it, guess what? It’s time to look at yourself instead. Take some responsibility, you chose that “crazy ex-girlfriend”, you’re just as much to blame for the shitty relationship as she is. I don’t have any crazy exes and all of my relationships, though ended, were interesting and sublime to be in.

“But what about the key to Writing Women you spoke of earlier?”

Shutup, it’s coming. I’m not done preaching at you yet.

I’m pretty selective when it comes to women and it works. One girlfriend worked for Geek Squad and modeled on the side and she was absolutely beautiful. One was in a naval brig for 6 months. One taught Tae Kwon Do. One was a 6 foot tall escort. One could probably quote the movie Clerks word-for-word. Are you getting my point here? Choose wisely. I love and miss all of my exes.

If you think all girls are annoying, stop picking annoying girls. If you think all girls are bitches, stop picking mean girls with no redeeming qualities. If you think all girls are dumb, fuckin’ a, stop picking dumb girls. You should come at girls purely and with no judgments or projections because you’ll just end up sabotaging the whole thing and proving yourself “right” about your judgments.

I’m digressing more than i wanted to, sorry. But it’s relevant, i promise. Your view on women will drive how you write them.

Back to the misogyny in male writing. Most don’t even realize they’re doing it. But they’re projecting their hated ex onto the redhead in their story. She’s tied to a chair for a vague and underdeveloped revenge. The guy in the story punches her in the face over and over until teeth fall out and her face collapses. Pretty disgusting, i think. That’s an actual example, by the way. It’s one of the stories that inspired me to write this.

The only girls in my peers’ (i hate calling them that, actually) stories are strippers or teenage prostitutes or unrepentant bitches deserving of awful revenge. It’s immature and your work won’t be remembered for it. Find another way to get over an ex. Therapy works, there’s no shame in that. Or just do what i do and drink her away. It’s worked for me so far.

“So? The key?”

HA. Still not there yet, rude person. Keep reading. Always wanting more, aren’t you…

Although i thought The Average American Male was well written and funny, it suffered from a hidden misogyny. Unfortunately, it’s a wholly accurate example of the modern average American Male. And thank God i’m not average. The Delivery Man is another example. The women in that book are ruthless career women or tossed-aside conniving prostitutes.

Look instead at James Ellroy or really any good noir writer. You can’t have noir without a badass chick in it. I love Ellroy’s work. It has such a macho, brutal edge to it. But the women in his stories are brilliantly done. The women support the men and the men (secretly) rely on the women. Such is life. Or life amongst the more intelligent folk.

You’ll have to change your negative, shitty view of women if you want to write them effectively. I think women are wonderful, interesting creatures. They’re not a total mystery to me like that idiot Stephen Hawking. He hasn’t been with a woman in like 30 years, what does he know anyway?

It’s an energy, an unspoken knowledge between me and women. A secret garden, if you will. It’s not about getting laid or having affairs. It’s simply a connection. It’s shared experiences. I have this connection with married women, foreign women, ex girlfriends, girls i’ve never even spoken to. It’s a deeper understanding of things. Anyone can find it if they just looked for it. In fact, i’ll give you some resources when i’m done, which is soon.

All that said (and i’m sure i’m forgetting stuff i wanted to impart), what’s the key? I promised it’s very simple and it is. It works for me, i love the stories i wrote from the perspective of women. They always want more. That’s it, that’s the key. No matter how happy they are, how content they are, they always desire a little bit more. It’s a passion, a longing that most men lack.

Women always want a little more.

99 Problems...

If you can convey that one little point somehow in writing your women, it’ll work. It has worked. The other stuff should fall into place. It did for me. Now i love writing women, it’s a blast.

Think of it this way: You have this cool character, maybe he’s an assassin or a former secret agent or even just a badass bank robber. He uses knives, knows some shady people. He has a badass convertible he drives sometimes but most of the time he rides his badass motorcycle.

Now just imagine this character is a woman instead. See how much cooler that is?

Some resources, you misguided, misogynist asshole:

The Game by Neil Strauss

Zan Perrion

The Red Queen by Matt Ridley

James Ellroy

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 01/24/2012 2:58 pm

    So, I’m actually not a man, but I did enjoy your article! There is one thing I’d like to point out though. If you’re looking for great examples of men writing from female perspectives, read up on some Native American Literature. Smoke Dancing by Eric Gansworth is my favorite. I seriously thought I was reading from a woman author until about halfway through the novel, since the female lead was written flawlessly.

    • 01/24/2012 3:12 pm

      I’ll check it out. I definitely need more examples of it. Neil Gaiman’s pretty good at it too.

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