Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Writing like a chick

As my picture shows, I'm a guy ... never been a girl ... never wanted to be a girl ... and I did a stellar job of ignoring my two sisters growing up... but perked up when they had girlfriends over.

This raises some interesting challenges when it comes to writing female characters, something I've done with my Adventures of Guy series and the upcoming release of Fang Face.

That's not to say I didn't do any research. I've spent my entire life ... especially back in college ... studying females, what they looked like, how to get them to like me, what they looked like ...

Yeah, I was pretty shallow back then.

Then I found a beautiful woman who was foolish to marry me, and together we brought a couple of girls, now women into the world (note to kids: I'm REALLY sorry about the whole George Bush thing).

Anyway, they're here now, so there ya' go.

So for the last twenty years, I've lived in a home peopled with the female side of the species, and I learned some things about women, like ....

... they really aren't very good with the remote ...
... they have strange tastes in romance ...
... like romance, itself ...
... at certain times, they are more savage than, well, savages ...
... they like baked goods ...
... they like to smell good ...
... boy bands don't make them grind their teeth ...

... and stuff like that.

I used all of my combined research to write the Warrior, a female character in The Adventures of Guy. I did my best to make her believable, identifiable to females, strong and vulnerable. And then I waited.

To my absolute joy, women love her. I've received a lot of mail from women who said she was their favorite character in the book. One lady renamed her Myspace name the Warrior, then Buford (when the Warrior took on her warrior name).

Then I took on a greater challenge in Fang Face. This time I wrote not just one, but two females as major characters. And not just any females ... teenaged girls! Imagine this.

The really cool thing is I don't have to wait until the book comes out to hear what girls think of the characters. When I was about halfway through the book, I asked a neighborhood teen to read the first fifty pages and tell me if I was getting the 'voice' right, if the characters resonated. She contacted me later and asked if her teacher could read it, too. Sure, I shrugged.

Then she asked if her entire school could study the first fifty pages as a school project.

Erp. Really?

A month later, they asked me to come and spend the day at the school, talking with the students, listening to their views on the book, and they asked me about writing and getting published. It was a blast.

But here's the cool thing, the girls loved the girl characters; and everyone liked Trug, an extremely ugly boy dealing with all of the stuff boys deal with in high school.



  1. Dude. I am SO much better with the remote than my husband. Parallel parking, however, is not in my DNA.

    Gayle Carline (aka GeeCarl)

  2. Studies at the University of Maryland show statistically this is most likely an anomaly. He probably puts the toilet seat down, too.

  3. It's so refreshing to read about a guy who's not afraid to get in touch with his "feminine side."

    No joke this time. (but I'll think of one later)


  4. Sounds like you may have a hit on your hands, Norm!

    Morgan Mandel

  5. If a whole school of girls likes your teenage female voice, then I think that maybe I'll like it too.

    Great job, Norm! Can't wait for the book!