Are Your Male Characters MASCULINE?
Is your favorite Yaoi character YOU as a guy -- only BETTER?
Are you committing a MARY-SUE/Gary Stu?
According to Aestheticism.com:
"The Mary Sue ... is the highest form of fannish devotion to a series. You like it so much you want to come play in it yourself. Most fan writers are content to do this by sneaking in under cover of one of the canon characters.
Slipping on my Hakkai mask, I jump in the jeep and set out for the west with Sanzou and the guyz, pretending all along that it's Hakkai telling the story I'm writing and not me at all..."
Except for one BIG problem...
-- Hakkai shows Female Behavior -- not Male.
A common error that every beginning Female writer makes is that they assume that their male character will feel and react in the same way they would. They show them talking, thinking and behaving not as guys, but as they would react if facing the same situation -- as females.
Unfortunately, while the female writer may miss this, their Readers WON'T -- especially if those readers are Guys.
When a female writer's male characters think, act, and talk in a feminine way, her audience will get annoyed - even if they don't understand why. The same is true if a male writer's female characters don't think or act or talk like real women. (And I know you've all seen examples of that!)
So how do you keep this from happening to Your characters?
A convincing masculine character WILL:
Act casual even in serious discussions
Use short sentences
State his preferences clearly
Talk about concrete issues
Verbalize only things that he sees as important
Ask specific questions
Choose to sit at angles from the person he's talking to
A convincing masculine character will NOT:
Ask lots of questions
Ask leading questions
Turn statements into questions
Invite a "just talk" situation
Speak in euphemisms
Downplay his ideas
Let his sentences trail off
Make agreeing noises
Volunteer his reasons
Hold eye contact for significant periods
Say "I'm sorry" unless he really means it
Tell stories about his failings
Use personal anecdote to make a point, especially in a professional setting
Get bogged down in introspection or self-doubt
Ask for help, especially with emotional issues
Volunteer information about his feelings
Ask about others' feelings
Ask for validation
Now that you have your answers, here are the reasons behind them.
The REAL differences between Males & Females:
Men see life in competitive terms.
Women see it in cooperative terms.
-- Men see compliance (going along with what someone else wants) as submission; women see compliance (going along with what someone else wants) as cooperation.
Men focus on action.
Women focus on emotion.
-- Men don't like to 'just talk.' They see conversation as a way to relay information, to show independence, and to illustrate status. Their conversations tend to be brief, episodic, and focused on concrete issues and events.
Men make decisions.
Women form a consensus.
-- Men state what they want; women make their preferences known and often add reasons for their requests in an attempt to convince the other party. Men don't volunteer reasons, and when asked for reasons, they often feel they're being challenged or checked up on. They feel as if the other party doesn't trust them.
Men try to solve problems.
Women talk about problems.
-- Women listen to other people in order to give support. Men listen to other people in order to give advice.
Men are direct.
Women are indirect.
-- Men tend to make statements; women make suggestions. Women use understatement and speak in euphemisms; men are blunt.
Men's actions and body language often do NOT reflect their feelings.
Women's usually do.
-- Men are direct when talking about concrete things, but indirect in talking about emotional issues. This is because being affected by one's emotions is not considered masculine. When forced to discuss emotions, men may attempt to distance themselves by avoiding eye contact, slouching, or turning away.
Men see themselves as protectors of women, and Women as protectors of children.
-- When a man is protective toward a woman, it is to show that he feels responsible for her safety; he's taking care of her. When a woman is protective toward a man, it is to show that she cares about him. Unfortunately, he's likely to interpret a protective act as condescending, as though he's a child.
Women see eye contact as concern.
Men see eye contact as challenge.
-- Women sit closer and look at people directly while talking to them, especially about serious subjects. Men sit at angles to each other and look at other things, almost never directly into each other's faces.
Women wait their turn.
-- Men interrupt in order to change the subject or to express their opinion; women interrupt with supporting noises or to avert conflict.
Men ask questions to get information.
Women ask questions to further the conversation.
-- Men see talk as information; women see talk as interaction. Women are more likely to make a telephone call just to talk; men make a telephone call to accomplish a specific purpose.
Women make agreeing noises when they're listening.
Men listen in silence.
-- "I know", "I understand", "Really?", "Yes,", "Uh-huh" are all feminine mannerisms. Women nod and smile and make agreeing noises to show that they're listening and to invite further conversation, not necessarily to indicate agreement. Men don't nod or smile or make agreeing noises unless they actually agree.
Men avoid discussion of emotional information.
Women invite it.
-- Women express emotion relatively easily, even in public - - except for anger, which they tend to repress at all times. Men generally do not express any emotion other than anger in public.
----- Original Message -----
"Men have no less need to deal with emotions just because they're not allowed to admit they exist, and so men have interactions that are ostensibly about something else but really about that. A casual observer won't notice, and even an insightful observer would not notice because that singular interaction/conversation ... will appear as one of the other allowed competitive (safe) interactions. But viewed in the wider context of how those two men interact previously and after ... the interaction will seem off-topic, unusual, almost as if one (or both) men isn't the same person as in the other encounters."
-- Literary Guy
Women figure out how they feel - by talking about it.
Men figure out how they feel - by thinking about it.
-- Women are more likely to sit down and think through the whole history of a problem. Men are more action oriented, thinking what he's going to do about the problem.
Women say "I'm sorry."
Men say "I apologize."
-- "I'm sorry" implies taking responsibility, while "I apologize" indicates regret that there's a problem without necessarily accepting responsibility for causing it.
Men are more approving of their self image.
Women are more critical.
-- Men tend to boast publicly; women to boast privately, if at all. Women tell stories about their failures; men tell stories that make them look good.
Women are more specific with information.
-- She'll tell you a dress is robin's egg or teal or aqua or periwinkle. He'll say it's blue.
Women are most comfortable talking when they feel safe and close.
Men are most comfortable talking when they need to establish and maintain status.
-- She tells him everything. He tells her what is important to him.
Men are more able to compartmentalize and separate issues.
Women are more likely to let feelings in one area spill over into another area.
-- A man can go from angry to amorous much faster and more believably than a woman. An argument or a bad day will be more difficult for a woman to set aside when getting into bed.
Women share secrets to build rapport.
Men hide secrets to maintain status.
-- Women see talking to outsiders about their relationships as part of friendship. Men see talking to outsiders about their relationships as disloyalty.
Men see challenge as constructive.
Women see challenge as destructive.
-- Women see disagreement as threatening; men do not. Women find raised voices and arguments upsetting; men see the ability to fight as a sign of intimacy, because only those who are intimately involved with each other argue.
Men react to the message.
Women interpret the meaning.
-- Both men and women have a tendency not to answer the question that was actually asked, but they have different justifications for doing so. Men see it as a protective measure to get to the real point of the question. Women intend it as a helpful and caring measure to get to the real point of his question.
Before anyone starts screaming, this is merely a list of Traits for the Adult Male ARCHETYPE. NO man acts 100% this way. Teen-aged boys in particular are considerably more emotional -- until they learn to control it. (I've actually seen my 17 year old brothers cry or throw full screaming-kicking tantrums just to get their way!)
Consider this a basic model to build upon. What you add to that base -- motives, dreams, fears, likes and dislikes -- is what will make your characters unique.
"Men are from Mars Women are from Venus" - by John Gray, Ph.D
"Straight Talk to Men and Their Wives" - James Dobson
"Men, Women and Sex" - Margaret Paul, Ph.D
"Yes, Biologically Speaking, Sex Does Matter" - Karen Young Kreeger
"Gender Differences Are Real" - Frank York