How To Be a Man… When You’re Writing

Today’s post full of GREAT tips if brought to you by the lovely Kristin from Musings of Me, author of One of a Kind and Better Off Friends.

A commenter (Hi Tina!) asked about writing male dialogue, and it reminded me that Kris and I had JUST had a conversation about the very same thing a few days before!  She had some great advice, so I asked her to put something together to share, and she definitely delivered.

Without further ado:

How to be a man. . . When you’re writing

So you wanna know how to tap into the mind of man when you’re writing? It’s probably easier than you think.  Take off your granny panties and put on some boxer briefs or whatever male attire you’d like and have a seat for a moment while I gave you some tips I’ve learned about writing like a man.

1. Stop thinking like a woman. Yea I know that’s much easier said than done but it’s a must! Women don’t think, talk, act like men so if you go into thinking like a woman, your male characters probably won’t be relatable to men.

2. Listen to men converse in real life. Men don’t converse like women. Women have a tendency to talk all over each other, men don’t do that. In a conversation between 2 or more men, one is going to talk more than the other(s).  Men don’t banter back and forth.

3. Where women will confront each other and kind of tell it like it is, men don’t do that. Men like to keep things light even in serious situations with each other. They’ll joke with each other about serious stuff. Although the tone may be light, the message is always ( usually) taken in.

4. Men come up with nick names different than women.  A woman’s nick name is usually something she’s had since she was a child. It’s typically a play off her birth name. i.e Patrica is Pat. Christina is Chris, Jameekah is Meekah, you get where I’m going with that. Men’s nicknames are silly most times. Something they do or say can spark a nick name amongst other men and a lot of times they have nothing to do with their given name.  For example, my brother had the nickname Crash because he used to get into a lot of car accidents. In my newest novel my main character’s name is Benjamin. I had his friend in the story calling him B, short for Ben. One of my best guy friends told me that his nickname shouldn’t be B because that’s not what other men would call him. He said to call him Oats like the guy on the oatmeal box or Franks as in Benjamin Franklin or Stacks, like stacks of hundreds. I do think this rule applies mostly to African American characters but I’m sure it can be used universally.


There are just a few of my tips. I hope they help. Happy Writing!

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Dahlia Savage
7 years ago

Love this…and so true on #4. I once wrote a piece years ago where a girl was cool with a guy and he gave her a nickname that had little to do with her name. Someone asked what did the nickname mean and I had no real explanation…that’s just what dudes do! Later on when I wrote another piece that involved a nickname given to a girl by a guy I was ready with the origin of said nickname.

And it’s true, guys don’t have the same kind of dialogue as women. Listening to how men talk to each other is key.

K. Elizabeth @ YUMMommy

I can vouch for number 4. My husband has two nicknames and neither of them are related to his real name. And once I started thinking of it, none of my male cousins with the exception of one have nicknames that are abbreviated versions of their names either.

I also agree that observing men in action is a great way to pick up on not only their speech patterns, but their physical mannerisms as well. And of course, there’s always YouTube if you don’t have a lot of men around to observe on a regular basis. There are quite a few male-celebrities and non-celebrities- who have vlogging channels of some sort now days.

Thanks for sharing!

7 years ago

Thanks for the tips in your response to my comment and this post. I will definitely start watching some clips and just observing men’s conversations more in general. Most of my characters still feel a lot like extensions of me, with maybe a bit of inspired dialogue based on a conversation I had at some point. My goal is to start just getting down more dialogue, even if I think it needs work. I really appreciate both of you sharing your thoughts on the matter.

7 years ago

I’m glad these tips were helpful and relatable. I personally have my guy friend read over my male dialogue and tell me if it sounds believable. In my first book he told me my male dialogue read like a woman trying to sound like a man. . . well duh! But I don’t want it to come across that way so I take his advice when he gives it and it reads much better to me.

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