Sunday, February 20, 2011

On manly writing

I was asked to give a presentation in front of several of my fellow managers about diversity. To set the scene: there were about twenty people in the room, with a mixture of men and women, and all sorts of ethnic backgrounds.

The first thing I said was, "I am a minority." Understand this is coming from a white male. The reactions varied from shock, disbelief, skepticism and confusion. In addition, I thought one of the people in the room was going to throw something at me.

I followed up by saying, "I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormons."

The atmosphere in the room eased up a bit, some people even smiling. And then I hit them up with this question, "All right, now how many of you are wondering how many wives I have?"

There was scattered laughter and a few nodding heads.

My response? "Well, I do believe most, if not all of you, have pre-judged me based on my gender, race and religion."

What point was I trying to make? That it is human nature to connect attributes or make assumptions about people based on their overall classification.

In developing my career as a writer, I've found that male authors seem to be in the minority. Maybe it's just my imagination. Also, it seems that if you are a male writer, it's almost expected to be more rough and, well, manly, in your writing. And there is some truth in that.

I found the response I got from The Hidden Sun was quite interesting. Women loved the romantic elements, as well as the character development. The guys? Well, they liked the action sequences and the twists and turns. Me? I'll have to admit, it was more fun to write the action parts. In fact, the follow up book, The Waxing Moon, is much more of an adventure story, though there are still plenty of interesting characters and yes, there is romance.

Have I found it more difficult to be a male author versus being a female author? Well, I can't say, since I've never been a female author. Is there is stigma when it comes to being a male author? Possibly.

The simple truth is that men and women are different. I've uncovered this highly scientific diagram to prove my point:

Need more proof? After a nine year study by some super top secret government agency (at a cost of 17.3 Billion dollars to the tax payers), the following study was released about shopping habits of men vs women:

So, are there different expectations for male writers versus their female counterparts? I'll have to go with "yes" on that one.

When I was first shopping The Hidden Sun, I got a response back telling me that if I were to add some sex scenes, swearing and more violence, they would be interested. I wonder what would have happened if I had submitted the same story under the fictitious name "Suzie Unicorn". . .


  1. Jason, how I love your wittiness! I think you forgot children in the female brain there somewhere--or at least that's how the Elizabeth Brain works out over here on my end.

    I feel that if you had listened and put in sex, more violence and swearing, you wouldn't be LDS. Just like the missionary saying: Look once, your a man. Look twice, your not a missionary.

    I'm glad you stand up for your moral values and portray them in your work. I also LOVE Don Carey's Bumpy Landings. It's So wonderful, have you read it? It has a LOT of romance, but a 'turning of age' kinda thing for the MC.

    This is funny, but when I come across a male author who keeps things clean (IE, you, Don...), I throw my fist up in the air and pump it. Okay, not literally, but spiritually. Those kinda men are rare! Gotta love 'em!

    Thanks for this funny post, you made me laugh!

    ♥.•*¨ Elizabeth ¨*•.♥

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. PS--I hope I didn't offend anyone by my comment on "you wouldn't be LDS". I was just pointing out the "missionary" comparison.

    Sorry if I stepped on any toys.

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