Writing for Men


Welcome back, loyal listeners! This week, in honor of Father’s Day, we discuss writing for men. We’re joined this week by Tom Morrisey, author of several novels and the craft book The Novel and the Novelist. Be sure to check out his books. If you’d like a copy of the show notes, they are below the audio and video versions of the cast. Be sure to leave a comment and tell your friends! Thanks!



Writing for Men

  1. “First Lines Fridays” winner:  Lori Roeleveld From Far from the Tree: “You dropped your pen in the body bag?”
  2. Pub term of the day: “McGuffin”
  3. Writing for Men
    1. Men are readers but like to stick in their genre
      1. Fantasy
      2. Sci-fi
      3. Action/Adventure
      4. Military
      5. Police procedurals/Crime/Hardboiled mystery
      6. Horror
      7. Literary
    2. Just as in writing any character, you need to avoid clichés and stereotypes
      1. The “man’s man”
      2. The hard-boiled detective
      3. The bully/the bullied
      4. The savior of the world
    3. DO use real men as examples
      1. They should be flawed
      2. They should want something specific (avoid power, money, etc. instead, ask WHY they want these things)
    4. Let them interact with other men
      1. Remember character status (dominant, submissive)
        1. Try to vary these.
      2. The way men interact with menisdifferent than the way they interact with women.
        1. Men I know and like vs.
        2. Men I know and don’t like vs.
        3. Men I don’t know
        4. Women I know and like
        5. Women I know and don’t like
      3. The male brain is different.
      4. Males differ by generation.
      5. Knowing these things helps a novel “ring true.”
        1. Perry Sachs leads a team of very different men.
        2. I had to show male bonding, teasing, distrust, etc
        3. The same was true for the Struecker books but with more macho talk.
        4. Metallica: funny drunks v. mean drunks
    5. Let them interact with women
      1. How they treat women can help develop their character
      2. Men are often confused by women.
        1. We know that we can’t treat most women like “buddies.”
        2. Men tend to be protective.
        3. Men have the same emotions as women but they usually process them differently.
      3. Men act differently when only other men are present. Insert a woman (like a wife) and the dynamic changes.
    6. Men have emotions, though they may not be as demonstrative
      1. Fear, love, hate, jealousy, anger, peace, insecurity, etc.
    7. Think of men in context of their professions, their hobbies, and their relationships.



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