Battle of Sexes: How 2 Write Real Men, Women #Romance #Sleuth #Writetip #WIP @AdriennedeWolfe

Writing Novels That Sell with Adrienne deWolfe

Men and women do not think alike.  You, being either one or the other, already know this fact.  However, you may have trouble writing it. 

When it comes to male / female psychology, it helps to think in terms of Alpha/Beta personality types.  However, your plot conflicts won’t be believable unless you keep your characters evenly matched, psychologically-speaking.  In other words, a stronger, bolder, more aggressive female (black widow murderess) needs a stronger, bolder, more aggressive foil (wisecracking PI).  

If you think in terms of Alpha/Beta personality types, you can write a submissive male and an authoritative female by reversing psychological archetypes.  A “yang” or dominant personality would possess psychological characteristics that are traditionally considered masculine.   For instance, men take pride in knowledge.  They’re problem solvers.  They focus on solutions.  Miss Marple would never approach a murder case the way that Sherlock Holmes would.

Men don’t admit to problems. They’re socialized to define “manly” as stoic and invulnerable – which is probably why comics often portray male characters as refusing to ask for driving directions or disdaining to consult instruction manuals.  Can you picture Rhett Butler slamming back a shot of whiskey and asking Ashley Wilkes for advice about Scarlett O’Hara?

Nope. Me neither.

Men have been socialized to take charge. They vie for position. Deeply concerned with where they stand in the pecking order, men want the respect (or fear) of other men. Can you picture Aragorn, from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, abandoning the Fellowship of the Ring because his Elfin lover was pining for him?  Of course not. He would have been scorned by every character in the series – including his lover.

Beta characters possess psychological characteristics that are considered “yin” or feminine.  For instance, women may be observed repressing anger because they’ve been socialized to believe that outbursts are unladylike.

Women tend to be consolers.  They enjoy talking about problems (analyzing them) and sharing experiences – which is why Cozy Mysteries, which are read predominantly by women, give female detectives a slew of gossipy informants to talk to.  

Women (and "Beta" males) are more likely to exhibit nuances of emotion (eg, show emotional vulnerability.)  Alpha characters may believe that anger makes them powerful.  They may also believe that expressing vulnerability is a sign of weakness.  Thus, textbook "Alpha" characters repress all emotions but joy and anger. 

Now it’s your turn!  What techniques do you use to portray Alpha and Beta personality types?  Body language?  Communication patterns?  Internal dialogue?  Share your tips in the comments section, below.

If you're a Romance writer, you may also be interested in my bestselling ebook series, The Secrets to Getting Your Romance Novel Published, including a discussion of the 14 bestselling Romance novel storylines in How to Write Wildly Popular Romances, 50 Tips for Making a Hero Lovable in How to Write Romance Heroes with Sex Appeal, and How to Write Sensual Love Scenes.   ‘Til next time, keep the faith, and keep writing!
Novel Writing Coach, story critiques, manuscript critiques