I recently got the opportunity to be a part of a very cool anthology called IN HIS EYES (releasing on Valentines Day, 2012). The idea was for me and my fellow Indelibles to assemble a collection of short stories told from the point of view of our favorite male characters. I have never written anything from a first-person male perspective before, but I happily accepted the challenge.
My idea was to re-write Chapter 2 of The Veil (the “cougar-in-the-math-class-scene,” for those of you who are familiar). The original Chapter 2 was told from Addy’s perspective (as was the entire book), but this version of Chapter 2 would be from Luc’s perspective. After all, that day had been a life-changer for him as well.
As I sat down to write, I started to get nervous. I really wanted to do Luc justice, and I was stuck on how and where to begin. I asked for advice on #yalitchat. I procrastinated by tweeting about how I was preparing to get into the male mindset by grunting, scratching myself, and hitting stuff. Then I finally got down to business and pounded out Draft #1.
The problem? Luc came off sounding like a jerk.
His sentences were all short, choppy, and rather Neanderthal-sounding. There was absolutely nothing appealing about him at all – and every character that he described (including Addy and Emily) came off sounding two-dimensional as well.
Sigh. My “write like a dude” writing experiment had failed.
I took a break and when I came back, I realized that my approach was ridiculous. Focusing on the fact that Luc was a “dude” was turning him into a cartoon of himself. It was also preventing me from getting inside of his head.
So I took another pass at the chapter, this time setting aside the “write like a dude” assignment and instead focusing instead on coming up with a meaningful version of that day’s events, from Luc’s point of view.
And that’s when things started working. Luc started to sound like Luc again – and through his eyes, Emily and Addy started sounding like themselves again too. Ironically, it wasn’t until I actually forgot Luc was a dude that I was able to make him sound like one.
I’m not sure if this exercise has convinced me that I could ever write an entire book from a male perspective – at least for the moment, I am much more comfortable writing from a female point of view. But it has opened my eyes to the fact that focusing on just one aspect of any character makes for very flat and boring writing.
I am very proud of my immersion into “writing like a dude” and I am even more proud of the end result. You can find Luc’s story, Precalculus, in the upcoming anthology IN HIS EYES, along with fifteen other short stories that were written from the male perspective. This Valentines Day, why not take a moment to get inside the heads of some hot, intriguing – and fictional! – dudes? Let The Indelibles show you what the romance looks like – in his eyes!
Coming Valentines Day, 2012!