Writing from the Viewpoint of the Oposite Sex


I've written my novel THE BRIDGE BECKONS from both male and female viewpoints.

My main character is Mark Wilkerson, a boy suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome brought on from his having witnessed his family's demise in a fiery crash on the Carquinez Bridge in California. He is musically talented and dances like a professional. He had been somewhat popular in his previous school, but in his new school, John Swett High, in Crockett, no one knows him, nor do they care. They only know he's strange, being afraid of the bridge.

Genie Lombardi is the main heroine of this novel. She is a lovely young lady, yet not very popular, who only wants to find a boy she can respect and love. A lot of my writing is through her viewpoint.

I also use the viewpoint of Charisse Davis, a popular, if somewhat shallow, cheerleader that Mark has a crush on. She tries to use Mark to further her popularity.

Probably the most interesting character through whom is wrote, is that of Jeff Marino. He’s the main antagonist. I've tried to make his story sympathetic as he rationalizes why he hates Mark and goes insane near the end of the book.

I've had several women, including my daughters, who have commented that I've painted my female characters very accurately. I have them thinking, saying, and acting the way girls really think, talk, and act.

I'm not sure how I'm able to do this. Maybe it's just because I try to empathize with them, trying to see the world as they see it. I've been around enough women and girls that, while I'm no expert in how they think, I evidently can portray them fairly accurately.

I've seen some great authors who have done the same. Nicholas Sparks and Richard Paul Evans come to mind. I think Anita Stansfield does a pretty good job of describing how men think and feel.

All-in-all, I don't think it's impossible for a person to write convincingly about someone of the opposite sex. You just have to observe and try to understand what you're observing. I keep trying and hope to get better as I keep writing.

About Paul West

Paul West is a freelance writer and novelist. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Paul claims to be a "Prune Picker," though he now makes his home in Taylorsville, Utah.

You can follower him on Twitter: @PaulWWest

Published: Wednesday, July 20, 2005

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