Bookweek 2018, Day 2: Men in Books


Recently I heard someone say that men, in books that are written for women, are’t men. They’re women.

I don’t remember who said it, or where this idea came from. If this rings a bell please let me know. As far as I can recall, the reasoning behind this sentiment was that these fictional men sense a woman’s pain without out being told, and empathize in a way that’s actually much more like how a woman would respond than how a man would respond.

I found it an interesting concept. It did make me worry a bit about my own male characters, though. How can I write authentic male characters when I don’t understand how men think?

I began looking, in literature, for male characters that felt distinctly male. And then I started reading more P.G. Wodehouse, and found this this opening description of the main character in Uneasy Money.

He paid no attention to the stream of humanity that flowed past him. His mouth was set and his eyes wore a serious, almost a wistful expression. He was frowning slightly. One would have said that here was a man with a secret sorrow.

William FitzWilliam Delamere Chalmers, Lord Dawlish, had no secret sorrow. All that he was thinking of at that moment was the best method of laying a golf ball dead in front of the Palace Theatre.

It was his habit to pass the time in mental golf when Claire Fenwick was late in keeping her appointments with him. On one occasion she had kept him waiting so long that he had been able to do nine holes, starting at the Savoy Grill and finishing up near Hammersmith.

I laughed and laughed. This opening took the stereotypical male hero trope and turned it on its head, and suddenly the main character seemed like that guy you knew in high school.

Because he liked sports.

Most guys that I know love sports. Most male leads in books, particularly those written by women for women, don’t care two figs about sports.

As a writer, I love tips and tricks for how to make characters feel like real people. My writing teachers told us to make our characters want something. My friends told me to give my characters flaws. I’ve decided that from now on, my male characters are going to love sports.

What do you think of my theory?

Have you read any books by women for women in which the main male character loves sports? (Boxing and/or Bull riding as a way to release pent up anger stemming from his father’s abandonment don’t count.)

Do you have any other simple tricks for making male characters seem more male?

6 responses to “Bookweek 2018, Day 2: Men in Books

  1. Ohhhhh! P.G. Wodehouse is just the best. 😊 He’s so brilliant that I don’t think I’ve ever read one of his books without one of those same “laughed and laughed” moments.😊😍

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love your thought patterns! I should be reading books for pleasure. Does reading your blog count? It did give me pleasure, and a good laugh! Of course, I love golf, but don’t do it near as often as I would like! Tut, Tut! I remember a saying, that we all have so much time, and we have time to do what we really want to do! Have a great day.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love when guys have a guy-like obession in books. Most guys like sports, trucks, and working out, in my opinion. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think this is very insightful. There is a real danger in reading of heroic men who could never exist in the pattern of God’s grand design for men. You set yourself up to be disappointed in them when real men don’t act like the ones conceptualized.
    As far as insight to how men think: Men like to feel a need to fix things. You tell us a problem, we immediately look for a solution. Merely lending emotional support seems unproductive.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I meant men like to fix things, or we feel a need to fix things. Not like to feel a need…(this may just be an example of me fixing things…)


  5. I am loving this series, so relatable! If you’re looking for inspiration to portray men as real men, I think you would enjoy the book “Wild at Heart” by John Eldridge. I found it fascinating.


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