He Said, She Said

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When I took DLB to critique group, one of my critique partners said, “You have to make sure the hero and heroine sound different.”

Huh. I’d never thought of that before. I think I’d DONE it, instinctively, in Hot Shot, because Gabe was so real to me, but in DLB I was aware of what I was doing. I thought in Del’s voice, I shortened his sentences, I swore, even in his internal thoughts, in his observations.

Since then, I’ve been aware of what a man would know and wouldn’t know in a story, like colors – or what a woman would know or not know.

I was reading a book last week where the hero and heroine DIDN’T have different voices. They used the same words for the same things, even when the words didn’t make sense for that character. I mean, a guy wouldn’t call a butt a fanny, would he? Or a bum?

And then there are THOSE words. I manage to avoid them for the most part, but Alex, for example, is a bit more crude than my other heroes, and I can’t get away with glossing over certain terms, ya know? He just wouldn’t stand for it.

So when you’re writing, are you aware of making your hero and heroine sound different? How do you accomplish it?

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dawn said...

i don't even think gay men say fanny...
i think ass is what all men say.

grill those men of yours.

Anonymous said...

I have this problem. :-( I've been told deep POV is the solution, but it's not always.

Anonymous said...

I listen to the men in my life talk...then transfer those patterns to my work.


Jennifer Shirk said...

Not a problem. (Grew up with 2 older brothers) LOL!

With the story I'm working on now, it's pretty easy to make them sound different since the heroine is a real "girly" girl.

If they start sounding alike, I'm going to have BIG problems. LOL!

Anonymous said...

With my similar voices it's not a men/women thing. It's the cadence of the words, the actions, the "feel" of the POV. At a retreat this winter one of my pubbed friends said it was MY voice overriding my main characters' voices.

MJFredrick said...

Dawn, I asked the dh and he said "only if he's GAY." Yeah, completely pulled me out of the story.

Mary Beth, revision is good, too, if you go back through with an eye to that thing. I bet your friend was right - it's your voice. Can you hear HIM?

JoAnn, I think that's what Nora does, too, which is why her guys always sound like guys!

LOL, Jennifer! I'm writing a girly-girl now, too. She's tough, since I'm not one ;)


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I'm a mom, a wife, a teacher and a writer. I have five cats and a dog to keep me company. I love bookstores and libraries and Netflix - movies are my greatest weakness.
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