Help! My guy MC is toooo girly

Forums Fiction Characters Help! My guy MC is toooo girly

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    Alaia Ballantyne

    Okay, so as a girl I’m not great at creating very manly guy characters.

    But I’ve never done this badly.

    My guy MC at this point is a poet. Who also sings.

    A singing poet.

    And it took me a month to notice how…. feminine that is. But I really need him to be that, for my plot. So, any thoughts on how to make that a little less… girlish? Even if it means figuring out a way to cut some things out, like his singing or something.

    Now, I’m not saying that if you write poetry you’re girlish or anything, but it just seems to me how I’ve put it that it is. (Like, please nobody take offense to this or anything πŸ™‚ Just writing poetry seems to me as more of a girly thing to do, and I’m wondering how a guy would go about doing it. )

    He’s 17 if that helps, and his name is Mak. He lives in a dystopian world, but stories aren’t told there. (He was told stories illegally as a child… long story but that’s why he has the ability to write poems.)

    To boil that all down, I guess I’m mostly asking as a guy, how would you write poetry, without being super girly?

    So, yeah, I’d love any advice. Especially from guys, but if anyone has any input I’d love to hear it.

    Please ask me any questions for clarification… my explaining skills kinda suck sometimes, so that may not have made any sense XD

    ENFP | I should be writing...

    Daeus Lamb

    Well, I sing all the time and write poetry occasionally. King David was also a singing poet.

    πŸ‘– 🐒🐒🐒🐒🐒

    Alaia Ballantyne

    That’s a good point. Thanks!

    Writing poetry and singing in and of themselves aren’t always girlish, I just think how I had them in the story were. I’m starting to figure out how to fix it though.

    ENFP | I should be writing...


    @mckinley, The bards were singing poets if I am not mistaken. There ballads, weren’t about girly subjects, though, but were rather stories of heroes and wars and similar things.

    Your story is yours and no one else's. Each sunset is different, depending where you stand. -A. Peterson

    Alaia Ballantyne

    Yes. Bards. I think that was my original idea but as I went along I made him a lot more girly… and then realized it and panicked XD.

    And yes… stories of war. Yessss that makes it quite a bit more manly. Thank you all so much!

    ENFP | I should be writing...


    @mickinley Historically there’s never been anything girly about being a bard (or singing poet if you prefer). Any more than singing bass is more manly than singing tenor. We need all kinds. I would actually like to read a story with a guy who’s not typically “manly” without him being portrayed as weak.

    Jenna Terese

    @mckinley I’ve heard some people suggest that if you’re having trouble writing about guys, to ask the men or boys in your life questions about how they think about your character’s situation, how they might react to certain things, etc.

    I personally don’t think that being a singer and a poet is super girly. I think just as long as you don’t make Mak’s personality girly, it should be fine. πŸ˜‰

    "If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write." -Martin Luther


    @mckinley , hello, and just saying, this forum is fantastic for these kinds of questions, I was helped so much last Christmas on the topic of whether guys shed tears or not (which morphed into conversations of how the brain of a guy works [and it was extremely fascinating!!]). I’m NOT an expert on this, but here’s me own two cents on it (and btw, waves and gives you a giant fellow ENFP hug). πŸ˜‰ I love your signature… Reminds me of, well, me. πŸ˜€

    So… Less manly dudes… Well… I myself can be a paradox in the sense that I adore girly things, will dress up as formal as I possibly can, I’m just a girl the whole nine yards… But when you pull out the four-wheelers, mud, sweat and weapons I am the girl who either pulls herself together and plays hard or tries to get the other girls to play too #progenyofaneasttexasredneck. I have a ton of fun having my very outdoorsy dad rock hopping along the river, getting sweaty and dirty, and in short trying to prove that I have no problems kicking off lace and donning denim for a while.

    So what do I respect in a guy? Guyishness.

    I’m sorry, but I can’t respect wimpy guys… They drive me nuts.

    At the same time, I’ve had to learn that gun-toting, athletic fellows are sometimes the jerks while the bookish, less physically-strong guys are the real men.

    For example, the men at our church. You have Mr. H who is called a river rat in every bone of his body, or my dad who is very, very into camping, guns and the like. Then you have Mr. L who is short, lean and not very strong. But is he wimpy or girly? Not at all! He’s still a gentleman, and tries his very best to be manly, even though he is not as physically strong as the other guys in our church, and camping may not be his second nature. Some guys just fit in an office or behind a computer much more than they do on the river or in sports. Not every guy has to be a football player.

    So, here’s what I respect in a less guyish guy:

    A gentleman’s heart. Kindness, gentleness, is considerate towards others. But at the same time, even though he isn’t the strongest, he isn’t cowardly, a pushover or easily manipulated.

    Willingness to serve. I appreciate when less strong guys make an effort to be pushed out of their comfort zone and try instead of sitting around with the ladies. That really, really bugs me. He doesn’t have to run out and play basketball, but I will respect his willingness to set up chairs or tables instead of chatting with the moms.

    Not afraid to be pushed out of his comfort zone. This goes with the last one… When guys are afraid to try… blegh… I’m not saying they have to be fearless, but when they’re afraid to get their feet wet- that disgusts me in boys and girls.

    When they use their knowledge or gifts to help people. Sometimes very musically oriented guys (especially pianists) can be a little more… Sometimes a little more on the less athletic side (sorry if I just offended any male pianists). But less athletic doesn’t mean weaker (mentally). C. S. Lewis wasn’t athletic, but he used his writing gift to help people and glorify God. So, if the guy isn’t a sword-wielding fellow or rodeo-loving fellow, I respect when he is still very much into his profession and is good at what he does- in short striving for excellence and not floating around.

    What I do not respect:



    Resigned to weakness

    Emotionally weak. I’m sorry… But a wimpy, emotional guy… Gross. Not that they shouldn’t be emotional, but when they cry like girly-girls… Pull yourself togetherΒ please!


    Doesn’t try to do better at anything

    Tries to purposefully fit in better with the ladies than the men. That. Is. Disgusting.

    So there you have it… my thesis on what a less athletic guy should be.

    And really, push-overs, wimps, prissy, soft, spineless people goes for guys and girls too.

    So, I have no idea if any of that rant was helpful at all…

    My last attempts at saying something useful will only be helpful if you’ve readΒ The Wingfeather Saga. I’d say Armulyn the Bard is a great example of a bard who isn’t a Podo Helmer or Gammon, but he’s a fantastic character… And truthfully Janner himself isn’t as into sneakery and such as Kalmar, but he wasn’t afraid to try. If you haven’t read those books (begs with puppy eyes, PLEASE!!) then that was totally not helpful…

    Totally random…Β There once was a screeching evil named Gnag the Nameless… My siblings who are having violin lessons are having their lessons today. They share a violin and couldn’t decide on a name, so it’s now given the name of The Nameless One. Totally random cringing on SE over… Even though I am still enduring the screeching screeches of a beginning violinist (woe).

    If you want one more person who is 100% more helpful than this long-winded rant or still have questions, see if you can get @wordsmith (apologizes ahead of time for causing a disturbance at his front door) out of his hobbit hole. He can be quite helpful on this topic.

    Now adios, I’ve got to bid the music teacher adieu in a few minutes.

    Tek an ohta! Tek an cala!

    Alaia Ballantyne

    @jenwriter17 Yeah, and I think making his personality girly was really my problem.

    …whoa. That’s a lot of really really good advice. Thank you! I’ll try to keep all that in mind… (will definitely be coming back to this post)

    And YES I have read the wingfeather saga… well some of it. We’re reading it as a family and we’re on book 2. I love it! I see what you mean about Janner at least (Not entirely sure if I’ve met the others… most of the names seem unfamiliar but it could just be that I’m used to hearing them not seeing them).

    And ‘the nameless one’… sounds hilarious XD.

    ENFP | I should be writing...



    Great! I’m so glad it was helpful! I was sort of about to do a facepalm wondering if I had just typed out not really applicable nonsense. XD I really enjoyed typing it out though, it’s really helpful to organize my thoughts in a written format, so things like this are super fun to think out.

    O.K. Armulyn was briefly in the first book, but then you don’t see him again until the last book. I’ve read the entire series twice and am reading them for a third time to a couple of my siblings. We just started the third this week. I absolutely LOVE those books!!!

    Ha ha!! Gnag the Nameless certainly is a perfect fit for the violin though, considering the absolute havoc it can have upon your ears. XD



    Tek an ohta! Tek an cala!



    Naw it’s not girly at all as long as you have the right motivators so to speak. Like…a guy isn’t going to write poetry about skipping through flowers…I don’t think anyways…but neither does he have to write about going to battle and winning the day.

    I’ve got a good friend who writes poetry (he also sings and loves it). His inspiration comes from his past, describing things he felt and experienced. Also he has poems dedicated to our Savior or praising God’s creations.

    β€œScarlet, What are you eating?” ~ β€œGhost peppers...” ~ Robin sighed.

    April J. Rhys


    Hey! Looks like you’ve already gotten some really great advice on this and I’m not a guy, but just thought I’d throw this in here in case.

    I totally agree with everyone that singing and writing poetry isn’t girly. In fact I think it’s super manly, ’cause those are very passionate, deep, driven pursuits. (Not that girls are not passionate, deep, or driven either. But it’s a different flavor than when guys do it, and it’s a flavor that should not be lost).

    Like others mentioned, I think you’re going to want to work on his personality, not his pursuits. However, sometimes I know fixing those personality elements can be hard. I think the difference between guy and girl personalities is almost intangible. We all know exactly what those differences are, but when we try to put names to them, it doesn’t work somehow. For instance, in the paragraph above, I started off by saying poetry was manly because it required manly traits, like passion, depth and drive. But then, after I started thinking about it more, I realized, no. Those are feminine traits too. But they feel different on a girl than a guy. What is that difference?

    This is going to sound strange, but I wonder if the difference is actually the visual component of our imaginations. The things we see when we look at our characters from the outside and kind of “sense” radiating from inside of them. It’s things like body language and stance and the tones of their voice and the shape of their eyes. When you look at your character in your mind’s eye and watch them do things, you’ll be able to subconsciously detect when they are starting to feel like the wrong gender because their essence starts to shift somehow. Again, it’s not really something you can put your finger on. It’s just something we all /know/. I hope this makes any sense!

    As far as practically applying this, if you haven’t already, try visualizing your character in your mind, from the outside, and feeling their essence. Then try visualizing the character again, but this time, do a version of them as the opposite gender. Does their essence change if you do that? Does it feel like, “Wait. This is a new character, new story.” I propose that if it does, that’s good. A person’s gender is a massive part of who they are and you want it to feel like they would be a different person if you changed that. If you don’t really feel a change–if it in fact it feels like the new gender actually fits your character better–then that may mean that you are subconsciously letting your own gender morph your character and you need to start rethinking them.

    So, that’s just a theory and I hope it works. XD I really hope your story goes well! I had this same problem with my first novel and it was miserable, but it is not insurmountable. πŸ˜‰

    ~To Infinity and Beyond

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