Switching Perspective – Writing from the Opposite Gender’s Point of View

This is a guest post by Stephanie Worlton. We are hosting her today as part of her blog tour which runs through November 11th. Find out some perks about her blog tour on her websiteor watch the book trailer.

Stephanie was raised in the suburbs of Salt Lake City where she developed a love for designing, building, and ultimately creating pretty much anything she can get her hands on. Her love for design drove her to pursue an Architecture degree, her love of family pulled her home to be a mom. She is the proud mother of four amazing children whonoisilyshare her home with her, her very patient husband, their two dogs, and on any given day aplethoraof neighborhood kids – mostly teenagers.”

I’m not a boy, although occasionally I have a sense of humor like one. And, I’m not sure it’s a good thing, but I’ve been told I can be a bit adolescent like one too. Not really useful traits, I suppose, unless of course, I were to decide to write from the perspective of the opposite sex.

Which is exactly what I did in Hope’s Journey.

It didn’t start out that way though. The original plan was to tell the story solely from the perspective of Sydney – a 17 yr old girl. Yah, not exactly an original idea, I know. What I needed to do was tell both sides of the story, but how was I supposed to do that with a single, first-person narrator? Impossible. So, I tried a third-person narrative”¦ again, bad idea. In order to encapsulate the deep emotion and complex thought process of both main-characters, I needed to dive right into both of their heads.

So, I dove in”¦. and I dove deep. Here’s what I learned:

Research it out – Because I’ve never been a teenage boy, I had to depend heavily on those who currently are or, at some point, have been. I spent a lot of time observing and asking questions. (I’m sure there were people that thought I was a nut job!) And, because I wanted to show vulnerability and depth, this interviewing process was irreplaceable. The last thing I needed was to create a big, tough, pansy boy! I needed Alex to be as realistic as possible ““ a “fake” or “idealized” boy had no place in my story. He needed to be tangible ““ authentic to the point that even I had to believe his existence.

Consult an Expert – My amazing husband became my greatest male-psyche asset. We had many, many late-night conversations. I asked questions like how would you feel? What would you do? And a lot of other what’s, why’s, and how’s. Sometimes I’d write something only to be told that I’d completely missed the mark. There were other times that I wanted to make Alex do something or say something that would’ve made total sense to a girl, but as I was kindly reminded, would’ve been completely uncharacteristic for a boy. So, I edited”¦ and edited again.

Hope's Journey by Sephanie Connelley Worlton, Teen Pregnancy, lds romance books

Keep it organized – I was so intent on accurately portraying Alex that I never worked on his chapters and Sydney’s chapters simultaneously. I had to keep them separate ““ not just on paper, but especially in my mind. They had to have their own thoughts, their own voice, and even their own narration styles. My writing journal became priceless.

Writing from the opposite gender’s point-of-view is only as insurmountable as you let it be. If you’re open to input – and maybe even a little constructive criticism – it can be a very fun and eye-opening endeavor. I really enjoyed looking at things from a different angle and anticipate the challenge of writing from a male perspective again.