How about a slice of truth to start us off?
If you're a female, chances are very good that, no matter how hard you try, you'll sound like a female when you write (even if from a male POV). Same goes for you males.
While there are authors who've managed to pull off writing as the opposite sex, I'm positive their editor made a huge difference. If that editor was male and the voice in the book was male, he likely told the author that a man/boy would never think/say/do "this." Likewise for the male writing as a female, using a female editor.
So how can we, as writers, fix it?
Let's go into the male writing as a female first:
Women are emotionally driven creatures. We cry, we care, and we talk about our personal lives a lot. When we talk, we generally use softer words like "would you mind" and "what do you think about this." We're often unsure about what we say or how it will come off to other people (we care about what you hear), and we don't like to hurt feelings or be crass.
Our thought process leans toward our families or responsibilities when we're in peril, and most of us aren't as highly competitive as men. To get us interested, you have to put out a ton of feeling and market to our gentle, helpful, feminine side. We also love to be empowered.
Now, women writing as men:
Men are action and solution driven creatures. If there's no clear goal, and the character isn't fighting toward something they can achieve against all odds, men won't identify. They use clear, demanding speech, that tends to lean toward sarcasm and "taboo" topics. They don't talk about personal things, and they generally prefer confrontation to descriptive floweriness.How do you get to know a woman's thought process? Spend time talking with them, asking questions, and paying attention to how they interact with their peers. Same goes for how to get into a man's head. You have to really immerse yourself in the gender if you want to be believable.
Their thought process leans toward the thrill of the moment, and most of them desire to win. To get them interested, you have to market to their competitive, thrill-seeking side.
Go now and take a look at ads geared toward women, and then look at some geared toward men. See any difference? That's what connecting with a gender is all about. Books work the exact same way.
If you're a non-fiction writer, you may need to create two separate books; one that uses language women want, and one that appeals to men.
Male readers consume only 20% of the literary fiction read today. Know what that means? Right! Women are left with a whopping 80% of the pie.
So what do the other 80% of men read? Sci-Fi, History, and Political. Certainly food for thought.
Have you stepped into the shoes of the opposite gender? How did it work out for you?
Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!