Earlier this week we looked at How to Write From a Guy’s POV. This time, we’re going to explore how to write from a girl’s POV.
Fellas, I’m going to try to help you out the best I can here. I know a lot of you are confused by us females and the thought of getting into a girl’s head to write a story from her perspective might be kind of scary.
But I’m going to try to help you understand us girls a little better, and give you pointers for writing convincing female characters.
Now, into the fray!
Person First, Girl Second
To help take some of the pressure off, remember that a girl is a person just like a guy. Be sure to write a person first and a girl second. Sure we may see some things differently, but we’re connected by the human experience—we’ve all experienced pain, loss, joy, fear, excitement, etc.
Though sometimes it may seem like we come from another planet, girls are human too! 😉
Avoid Gender Stereotypes
Not all girls are good at cooking, wear makeup, love fashion, freak out over bugs, obsesses over their weight, cry at sappy movies, suck at math or science, are clueless about cars, can’t use power tools, are helpless damsels in distress…shall I continue?
This doesn’t mean you can’t have a girl character be any of these things. Just be aware of the stereotypes and add more to her character than a labeled identity. Which brings me to my next point…
Create a Character with Depth
Give your heroine more than a pretty face–develop her character and personality. What was her childhood like? What’s her worst fear? Her dreams for the future? What does she like and dislike? What are her talents? Her interests? Make her more than the hero’s love interest or a damsel for him to save.
And please don’t make her impossible, super-model gorgeous. You know how you hate when female authors do this with their male characters? Yeah, we don’t like it either when the tables are flipped. We want a female character we can relate to. And unattainable beauty is not relateable.
Some Things for Guys to Consider About Girls…
**DISCLAIMER: Girls are unique individuals just like guys. Not all of these will apply to every girl, just like some things (like being athletic or good at math) don’t apply to all guys. So get to know your character first.**
I know there’s probably nothing more terrifying than girls and their emotions 😉 We can’t help it; we tend to be more emotionally driven like guys tend to be more physically driven. We crave an emotional connection and intimacy, which is why girls value friendships so much.
Girls like to talk about their feelings–it’s how we deal with them. Most of us are more comfortable with letting our emotions show than guys. We want to be understood, and we want to share our innermost selves with you. It’s how we make a connection and deepen a friendship or relationship.
Girls love to talk. We gossip, we talk about boys, we have heart-to-hearts, and we share the dumbest little details like what we ate that day. To us, talking is how we get to know a person and form a bond with them. Guys bond through physical roughhousing and sports, girls bond through talking and sharing emotions.
For us, silence can be uncomfortable. Why aren’t you talking to me? Is something wrong? Are you mad? Did I do something? For a girl, silence might signal a rift in the bond.
Girls also aren’t as direct as guys–we don’t always come out and say what we’re thinking. Which is why if a girl snaps at you that she’s “fine” you should assume she’s anything but.
And by the way, if there is a cute guy in the room you had better bet if we are with our girl friends we will probably whisper and giggle about him and point him out to each other if we can get away with it without being caught.
Girls have a lot of stuff going on in their brains. When a guy tells me sometimes he can simply think about “nothing,” I can’t comprehend that. My head is always full, my thoughts are always darting from one thing to the next.
Picture an internet browser with 20 tabs open. Yep, that’s the female mind.
But not only do we think about a lot of stuff, we also tend to over-think anything and everything. From what we should wear today, what color we should dye our hair, what book we should buy, to…does he like me?
I don’t think there’s anything girls over-analyze more than a guy’s behavior.
If we like a guy, we will look for any excuse to give us hope that me might like us back. Even if that means making excuses for his words and actions or interpreting them the way we want to hear/see them. (If you want to see a funny representation of this, watch the movie He’s Just Not That Into You. Good insight into the female thought process 😉 ).
Traveling in Packs
So this completely bewilders guys. Why do girls always go to the bathroom together? Why are they always traveling in packs? Sometimes, girls don’t even understand it themselves.
But basically, it’s not just a social comfort thing and our need for friendship, it’s also a safety thing (even if we aren’t aware of it). This is hard for a guy to understand, but sometimes being a girl feels like being prey. Guys “hunt” and “chase” us…and unfortunately sometimes even stalk us.
Girls have to be more careful than guys because as much as I hate to say it, I know for me at least there is that fear in the back of your mind of being attacked and raped. Now of course I don’t think about this all the time, but there are certain situations when I become very cautious.
For example, when I have a night class I don’t walk out to my car alone. Girls are taught to stick together, use the buddy system, avoid dark alleys, don’t go running at night, don’t walk alone at night. We carry mace or walk to our cars with our keys threaded between our fingers as weapons.
We’re also discouraged from traveling alone. As a girl who wants to see the world, this really gets under my skin. I hate feeling limited because of my gender. In fact, it pisses me off. But I have to face the facts: I have to be careful because a guy is physically stronger than me. If he wants to hurt me, I’m at a disadvantage.
So basically, try to understand the vulnerability girls may sometimes feel.
Talk to the girls in your life and don’t be afraid to ask them questions! Observe us, watch some chick-flicks, try to get into our minds.
Also, read books from the POV of female characters. That will help you to get a feel for writing female characters more than anything! (I’d also recommend The Fault in Our Stars by John Green–he writes the female character very well.)
And be patient. It may take practice and time for you to feel comfortable writing another gender. And if you still have doubts, have a girl read your story. She will be able to point out any faults and you will be able to learn from your mistakes.