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Wednesday Writing: In the Voice of a Man

A to Z Stories of Life and Death

Become a fiction writer, and you live with these people in your head. I live with so many of them, and they speak up at odd times, wanting to be heard.

I wonder why so many of them are males, and not all nice ones at that.

There’s :

this teen with The Knife, who likes painting on human skin
there’s a grieving, murderous father, who wants to avenge his child
there’s an old man who’s feeling his age,
another nasty, abusive old man who darkens the life of his protégé

a fat man with a grudge,

another sad, fat, lost man.

There are women too, but not so many.

I wonder why I’m so much for comfortable writing in the voice of a man. Is it because they’re so different from me? Because I read a lot of books, or watch movies with strong male characters?

A lot of these voices have found their way into  A to Z stories of Life and Death, and who knows which of these voices would make me write their stories in a longer format….

Do you write much in the voice of your opposite sex? Do you think that the voice the writer chooses reveals something about  the writer himself or herself?

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • This is fascinating. You are the first woman writer I've encountered in blogs that really enjoys writing in the voice of the opposite sex. I find it difficult to do so and I know a lot of other people do too. It intrigues me so I'm adding your book to my to be read pile.

  • Damyanti says:

    Patricia, glad we're similar!

    Scott, that sounds like an interesting novel, and it is fascinating that you did not realize that you equal number of characters for each gender only now. I wish i knew what gender choices really say about a writer.

    John, I think one of my reasons is the same as yours.

    Janna, I used the second reason for one of my published stories.

    Donna, absolutely. Nothing more mysterious than the opposite sex.

    -E- that seems like a story all by itself.

    Raquel…I've been thinking of this a lot lately.

    Sylvia, I remember…and have scheduled a post. Not sure I've done it right though, but I guess we'll only find out on the 16th!

  • Sylvia Ney says:

    Interesting. I never thought about it before, but in the short story I just shared on my blog, the main character is male. I guess I write just as much from male perspective as female.

    I just wanted to remind you about the "Wonderland Giveaway" Blogfest you signed up to be a part. I look forward to your post!

  • Hmm…now you got me thinking. I used to write in the 3rd person male protagonist voice. And you're right…where do all these strange beings come from. Great post.

  • -E- says:

    can't say i've ever written from a female perspective. probably because i have mommy-issues.

  • Donna Hole says:

    I do like the male POV; but I think that's b/c I'm exploring the unknown. And what can be more of the unknown than the opposit sex?

    An interesting perspective question.


  • jannatwrites says:

    I've written a few stories in the male point of view. There are a few reasons: (1) to avoid stereotypes (if one would expect it to be a female experience); (2) to distance myself from a story (if I'm writing about an emotion or experience that I have actually lived, it feels emotionally safer to write male POV); (3) it's fun to experiment and tap into another side of myself.

    I like the cover for your short story collection, by the way 🙂

  • John Ling says:

    The female point-of-view appeals to me a lot, mainly because women have a different perspective to violence than men do. So I find myself engaging in that POV quite a fair bit.

  • In the novel I'll finish writing this week (fingers crossed), there are 14 characters who each get extended passages from their own POV. Exactly seven are men and the other seven are women. I didn't realize I did that until just now.

    The protagonist is a woman, which is a first for me. I can't say if writing the men or women was more fun to do, but I know the men were easier to write. I'm just not sure if I wrote the women as bravely, if you know what I mean. I worry that even though I tried to make them all unique individuals I have still managed to make them into stereotypes.

    I don't know why I chose a woman as a protagonist, though I had been thinking that I hadn't really written a woman before and I wanted to do that. I hadn't written any scenes where women talk to each other with no men present, and I wanted to do that, too.

    I have no idea what character gender choice means for a writer, especially for me, since I've sworn to not write in first person ever again.

  • I am the same. I'm always writing from a guy's POV. I just like it better, think I like guys better in general too. Or maybe we're both just weird. =D