Fun fact: up until recently, I found it more difficult to write female POV characters than male POV characters.
Now that’s not to say that I consistently wrote one with a greater degree of success than the other, but I often found the voice harder to nail with my female POV characters than I did with the guys.
For the longest time I couldn’t really figure out why that was—as a heterosexual woman, it would make sense that I’d find it easiest to write from a female POV…right?
Problem was, I often got bored with the voices of my female characters. They largely came out sounding the same, which I knew was a problem, and if I was being honest with myself, they really weren’t all that interesting. It wasn’t until I wrote a WIP with a female POV character who was absolutely nothing like me that I realized the problem—my previous female characters were too much like myself.
Writing is an opportunity to take a journey through someone else’s eyes. It’s a chance to step out of yourself and experience someone else’s life. I love that about writing, and so it makes sense to me that I love to write characters that are very different from me.
Granted, parts of myself do slip into my character’s personalities. Many of my MCs share my love for sarcasm and have analytical minds. Some of them have trouble with empathy, like me, and many of them are pretty strategically-minded.
I’ve often seen people online ask how to write characters different from themselves, and the biggest bit of advice I’ve seen is one that I couldn’t agree with more: think of them as people first. Beyond race, gender, religion or sexual orientation, our characters are people first. They have opinions, desires, fears and dreams like everyone else, they have tempers and motivations and pet peeves and loved ones.
If you figure out who they are first, the rest falls into place. It’s just a matter of getting to know them well enough so that you can.
Do you find it difficult or easy to write a character unlike yourself? Why?