Guest Post: Writing the Opposite Sex by C.S. Boyack (THE ENHANCED LEAGUE NOW ON AMAZON!) #baseball #shortstories #scifi

(Today I have a special guest whose newest short story collection has just been released.  A few of these stories focus on female characters, so I asked him to talk about authors writing the opposite sex.  So, give a warm welcome and let’s have a friendly chat in the comments.)

Thanks for the invite, Charles, and thanks for the idea. I checked back on my blog tour list and a writing lesson is one of the topics. Before I get into it, I want to tell everyone what I’m promoting today.

The Enhanced League is a collection of short stories that tell an overarching story. This is something new for me, because my previous collections were all stand alone stories. It’s the story of a fictional professional baseball league where performance enhancements are left up to the players. It has a science fiction basis, but the stories are human ones.

The individual stories include a lot of female characters. They aren’t players, but business women, scientists, umpires, stadium performers, and one high school girl with bigger dreams.

I’ve gotten compliments before on how well I write female characters, but I never focused on the differences until recently. I guess the first lesson is not to focus on the differences… yet.

I can only present this as a male author writing female characters. I can’t help but think the lessons are applicable either direction. If you have perspective on the flip side, weigh in.

Quite frankly, I usually develop a character before I assign a gender. Which gender will help me make the impact I’m going for? You might want to try that approach yourself.

Women are all humans first. Humans all have strengths and weaknesses, faults, hopes, and dreams. I’ll add in that if you’re writing a main character, they should absolutely want something. None of this has anything to do with their sex, even if they want sex.

If you write your characters this way, you’re going to make your readers happy. We’re all different, and your female characters can be different too. Some are extroverts, others are introverts. Some are forceful, others are more passive in their gyrations. They might be blunt, or passive aggressive.

I think this is really all you need to keep in mind, but I have a little perspective if you want to take it further.

My original character, Lisa Burton the robot girl, is a strong character. When her novel ended, I got tired of her moping around and put her to work. This all started as occasional blog posts where she served as my personal assistant. I commissioned a couple of new art pieces and forged ahead. The posters were very popular, so I promoted her to spokesmodel, and she helps promote my new books. More posters, this time book themed, and her popularity grew.

This led me to opening a Facebook site for her, and that opened my eyes. One of the first things that happened was some man sending her pictures of his genitalia. Recently, another man followed her and started sending stickers, poking, and sending direct messages. I backed him off.

Lisa is an electronic version of ink and paint, plus my own imagination. Keep it in your pants dudes.

This tells us something about men and about women. Men will do some things that are completely disgusting. Women have to be more careful, lest they become victims. Even then there are cross over issues.

Women are not unique when it comes to rape. While it is less common, male rape happens. Electronic stalkers are out there for all of us. Muggers and hackers are pretty indiscriminate about their victims. Still, women are more at risk for this kind of behavior and they might do things differently that a man because of it.

This proves to me there are differences. Not just physical differences, like female NFL players. Under certain circumstances, we act different. Men are more likely to blow off an important date. We forget six month anniversaries, Valentines Day, and birthdays. Women are less likely to do this.

Men are more likely to pull on a mismatched outfit and run out the door. Women tend to think an outfit through, and to clean up.

My original character, Clovis from The Playground, would walk down a dark alley and not even look over his shoulder. He would be the most dangerous thing in that alley. Most women, and some men, might think twice and go around.

Maybe there is a reason why women go to the bathroom in groups. They are also less likely to scratch themselves, or pick their noses in public.

Your female character can be a complete slob and do all of these things. She might still go around the dark alley. Your male character might prefer the tropical drink with the little umbrella, but he may still lean sideways and fart as he drinks it.

I suggest making all of your characters into humans first. (Yes even the aliens and mythical ones, but that’s a different topic.) If you want to demonstrate some differences, make sure they’re in character, and try them out, just make them subtle.

I’d appreciate you checking out The Enhanced League. It’s a 99Β’ book and if you even like one story it’s worth the money.

***

Cover Art by Sean Harrington

Blurb: The Enhanced league is a collection of short stories and anthems centered around a year in a fictional baseball league. It has a slight science fiction background. This league has a lot more pomp than you might be used to, and nobody seems to care if the players use performance enhancing drugs.

Stories involve existing heroes, up and comers, and falling stars. While there are the obvious stories that take place on the field of play, there are also human interest stories that take place around the baseball gyrations. These stories involve scouting, trades, ruthless business decisions, and even relationships.

I enjoyed researching and bringing you The Enhanced League, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. — CB

THE ENHANCED LEAGUE ON AMAZON!

I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

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About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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86 Responses to Guest Post: Writing the Opposite Sex by C.S. Boyack (THE ENHANCED LEAGUE NOW ON AMAZON!) #baseball #shortstories #scifi

  1. Great post – it’s interesting to see how other authors write about the opposite sex. For some reason, I’ve always found it easier to write male characters. Maybe it’s because I write comedy and it’s easier to make men funny! (No offence meant) πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is interesting. Wonder why males are easier to make funny or subject to the darker side of comedy. I wonder if it’s because people take female characters more seriously, especially if they’re the protagonist. Personally, it feels like I have to be more careful with my heroines than my heroes. There’s a lot of judging and opinion on the former.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m hoping some tips and tricks will show up along the way today. Glad you liked the post. Do you have any tips to share?

      Liked by 1 person

      • It seems to happen in ‘real’ life, too! There are many more male comedians than female, which suggests that people find it easier to laugh at comedy when it comes from a man. As for tips, I can’t really add to your advice – people are human first and male or female second. If anything comes to me later, I’ll come back to you!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I never thought of it that way, but there are more male comedians. It could be yet another glass ceiling, but that’s an interesting point.

        Like

  2. Reblogged this on Entertaining Stories and commented:
    The blog tour is just beginning, and it all starts over at Charles Yallowitz’s place. Join the discussion and share your tips for writing the opposite sex.

    Like

  3. Thanks for hosting me today. Hope we get some fun comments, and maybe a tip or trick along the way.

    Like

  4. Enjoyed this post. Always a challenge to write the opposite sex. Of course, I try to pattern each of my female characters after someone I know well. It makes it easier to do mannerisms.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mae Clair says:

    You focused on some strong differences between men and women, Craig. Another, I’ll toss out for consideration is shopping. Many women love to spend hours wandering around stores, while men are quick to grab what they need, make a purchase, and leave.

    In my opinion (and experience) it’s easier for a woman to write a man’s POV then vice versa, I remember reading a book by a NY Times bestselling author years ago (he’s still at the top today) with alternating POVs, one of which was female. I thought it was dreadful and never picked up another book by him….although in fairness, I’m sure he’s improved tremendously.

    I found your characters in The Enhanced League well thought out an three-dimensional. As a result all of the POVs come across as authentic. For those who haven’t read your latest, I highly recommend it. I think it may be my favorite to date!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your mini testamonial. Shopping is a big difference, for sure.
      There was a time when the lead in Will O’ the Wisp could have been a boy with a sports injury. It just didn’t have the same impact. I think impact is worth considering when assigning characters to stories.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I hear a lot of people saying it’s easier to write male characters and the male POV. Not sure why that is. Although, I’ve come across many male characters that are stereotypes among female characters that are flushed out. So, I wonder if part of it is that we unwittingly expect less depth from male characters. That or men tend to be a lot more blunt and direct than women. Sometimes . . . I know members of each gender that don’t fit those categories.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I think strong female characters were in the minority for decades. In film we had Cleopatra and Scarlet O’Hara, but not much beyond that. Strong females were reserved for women’s fiction. That’s changing fast now, but it still lingers in our subconscious.

        Liked by 1 person

      • So, it’s more that they finally are getting into the male-dominated niches. Maybe male characters would be more difficult if they were placed in the female-dominated roles.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m sure they would. Mister Mom is about all I can think of along that line.

        Like

      • Three Men and a Baby could work too. Beyond that, I’m fairly stumped.

        Liked by 1 person

      • These days we get Lara Croft, Salt, and something coming called Atomic Blonde. Even when women had leads in older stories, they were often victims at least once.

        Like

      • I’m a little confused on Atomic Blonde, but only because of the marketing. ‘The first female 007’ makes it sound like she’s the first female secret agent. Could have sworn there have been others like Alias, Salt, and Point of No Return.

        I wonder about the victim thing a bit. Although, that’s a whole other conversation with me. Simple part: People seem to react stronger to women being victims than men. You can really do just about anything to a male character without getting any backlash like you would with a female character.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s mostly true, Game of Thrones might be the exception. I think we have to accept the female victim will have a better impact though.

        Like

      • True. Women and children getting hurt hits a nerve with all people. A guy getting hurt is almost par for the course in some genres. The responses to my own writing kind of proves that.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mine too. There was at least one woman who said she didn’t intend to read Playground because of the first chapter. (child victims.) She is a friend, so no bad review or anything, in fact she never bought a copy.

        Like

      • I have a few friends like that. Not many fantasy readers in my circle.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mae Clair says:

        That’s a good observation, Charles. There are always those who don’t fit the categories as we perceive them (I know plenty of both sexes personally). I do think it’s easier to write a male POV and that could well be because men tend t be more blunt as you observed. It issn’t always necessary to dig below the surface. I also think that women (with their penchant for perception) find it easier to understand the male psyche than vice versa. A lot of guys just don’t get all the layers that encompass the average woman πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • To be fair, I’ve been yelled at for talking about the layers. So there is some standoffishness for bury genders. Though I tend to be the perceptive one, which causes trouble. A person’s interest in letting others into the layers is a factor. Personally, I’ve found women to be more guarded in this area. So female characters tend to have this tricky dimension. Guess I came back to the bluntness.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mae Clair says:

        I’m with you on that one. I love flawed characters. They’e the best kind. Many women characters are portrayed as perfect…..which is probably why a lot of women readers can’t relate!

        Like

      • I make it a point to add a flaw at the beginning. The heavy hitter in my series is actually one of the women and I gave her a temper. She’s mellowed over time with a few explosions, but that part still helped to make her more human. It just gave her something to grow out of, which is something perfect characters can’t do. Makes them fairly boring. Had a few movies ruined because of the perfect, I can do everything characters in recent years. Feels like a waste.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mae Clair says:

        Craig, I have no idea where I’m replying in this thread either, but your post definitely inspired some great discussion, especially with Charles’ comments. Super heroes are definitely in a league of their own and don’t apply. Strong women in those rolls rock (I love Storm in the X-men). It’s more the modern day female in fiction I sometimes have a problem with.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Interesting thing with superheroes is that the women seem to always be on teams. I remember reading the history of Wonder Woman and I think part of it deals with a change after WWII. A lot of comics based on the war went under, but Wonder Woman survived. Then the company was taken over by a guy who thought nobody wanted a female superhero, so she was put in more romantic and meh storylines. Hence her being the Justice League secretary at the beginning. It’s really only recently that female superheroes have branched out more and gotten recognition. Unfortunately, there is a trend that it’s being done very heavy-handedly. Many of the writers go out of their way to make the hero’s gender a focal point or issue. As much as I understand, it also takes something away from the character. At the very least, it gets redundant with bad guys going ‘I refuse to be beaten by a woman!’ or something like that.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Mae Clair says:

      As a woman, I’m going to step out on a limb and admit something that many women may disagree with. I personally don’t care for many of the kick-butt women characters that are in fiction, movie and television today. I think there’s a point of pushing things too far.I love a strong woman character, but strength is more than physical.

      One of my favorite characters of all time is Maid Marion of Robin Hood. She maintained her femininity while being able to stand up and fight in a man’s world. When I heard the Thor was being made into a female character that was pushing the envelope way too far.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. mikelynes says:

    Totally agree – people re people first and their gender second. That said there are a lot of differences (vive’ la differance) between the sexes and the by play and plot development of having a male or female lead (or swapping between the two) makes an interesting story. I’ve got quite a few strong female leads in “The Fat Man Gets Out of Bed” – and I agree with John W Howell above – it does help to ‘channel’ parts from strong female characters that you know well.
    Best to all CSB – MikeL

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Helen Jones says:

    Great post, Craig πŸ™‚ (and hi Charles *waves*)
    I would agree with your assessment that people are humans first. Get the character sorted, get their motivation sorted and the rest will come. I haven’t had any trouble writing from a male POV (at least I think I haven’t!) and I wonder if Mae’s comment about it being easier for women to write male characters is true?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. rijanjks says:

    Great post and I love the points you bring up. I have a much harder time getting into a man’s head sometimes, than I do a woman’s.It’s a challenge that I love, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sue Coletta says:

    It’s interesting to see how men perceive women. Fun post!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Teri Polen says:

    Nice to see Clovis mentioned. You do an outstanding job with female characters, Craig – I was especially impressed with Patty.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Staci Troilo says:

    Great job, fellas.

    Craig, I loved The Enhanced League, and I think you do an excellent job writing ALL your characters. Me personally? I think men are easier to write. I could be flippant and say it’s because they’re less complex, but that’s not true. Or I could say it’s because they’re more logical so their reactions make more sense, but I don’t think that’s it, either. I think maybe I find them easier to write because I’m crafting them as I want them to be, with elements of men I know thrown in to make them realistic, while I’m more in touch with how a woman would behave, so they’re less interesting for me to create. Who knows? What I do know is I love your characters, and I wish you success with this latest release. (And you know you’re welcome on my site for promo, right?)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Never thought of the ‘familiarity’ factor. With a character of the same gender, we might put a lot more effort into making sure we don’t make them identical to us. To be honest, I never really considered this because I haven’t had much problem with either male or female. The genders seem to only be important for romantic plot lines, the effect of a groin shot, and clothing. Even then, it isn’t a given.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Staci. For various reasons, most are finding men easier to write. I may have to take a raincheck on promo. After fourteen original posts, I don’t know what more I can say about this short book. There is still Yak Guy waiting in the wings.

      Like

  12. Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    Check out this great post from Author C.S. Boyack on the Legends of Windemere blog.

    Liked by 1 person

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