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Writing Books – How men and women tend to differ

Posted by in Books for Sale , Self Publishing on April 1, 2011

There is a significant difference in the way men and woman write books; primarily the plots.  Take a trip to your bookstore or online bookstore today and pick any two contemporary books from the shelves: one by a male author and one by a female.  It doesn’t matter what the genre is, just read them.  The reason I tell you to buy them now is that I want to prove to you that this phenomenon is still ever present and will continue to be forever.  This is not designed to encompass every writer out there at the moment, there are many very great writers that can offer you a rich variety of plot writing that do not fit into either male or female categories.

It might not sound outstanding but the differences really are.  So we’ll begin by looking at the way in which the male author tends to write his plot.

The male author

These plots can tend to be:

  • Endless.  There is a tendency for the plot to never really stop being developed.  In a crime novel this can be a very bad thing to do because you don’t give the reader any chance to read the book and make judgements on their own; you just give them more plot.
  • Over Structured.  If you write a lot and the plots are over structured there is a tendency to become a little predictable, and perhaps, dare I say boring?  Over structured plots are easy to read over and get bored with, and then you get to a point where you don’t know what is happening and you end up having to re-read huge chunks of the book.

The Female author

These plots can tend to be:

  • All about character development.  It’s all very well have beautifully drawn characters that you can visualise and see clearly when you read the book, but if they proceed to do nothing in your novel then you have failed in your attempt to write a good book.  The balance of character development and plot needs to be just perfect.
  • Under Structured.  Just like a book that has been over structured the tendency of a female writer to under structure her book is equally as bad in that it makes the book boring.  If you are constantly looking at character and short chunks of their life for instance then nothing is really going to get going.  These novels tend to be more about moments in time and meanings that are below the surface of the text.  Virginia Woolf is a prime early example of this.

Robert McKee

The first person to recognise this was the script writer and teacher of professional writing Robert McKee.  I have written this post because I concur with his ideas, and it’s a helpful way of preventing potentially career destroying decisions when you’re writing a novel.  If you consider yourself as a serious writer you will at least think about what McKee had to say.

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