I've noticed in many romance novels that female writers will make their male characters (in first person POV) curse constantly and say really gruff things, along with grunts and spitting in order to prove themselves more 'male.' I've always found that to be disingenuous. I grew up a tomboy and was always more comfortable around guys. They certainly had a different way of looking at things, but they weren't all vulgar, rude assholes. I believe writing from the male POV takes some consideration, not just a change in dialogue. He can't only be a male when he's talking.
There were things I had to keep in mind for every scene and are general enough that I thought I would share them:
- He isn't going to be thinking about how he feels all the time. His reactions are directly related to his experience with others. He isn't going to hold on to old feelings. He is more in the moment, not in the past.
- He isn't going to be as inquisitive. He won't ask unnecessary questions just to be saying something.
- He won't be able to catch subtleties in things women say to him. He will be more focused on their physical reactions to him and is likely to miss any emotional cues. Women who know him well understand to be direct with him.
- He enjoys working on classic motorcycles during his free time. (research classic bikes, types, repair, etc.) He prefers Guinness beer.
- He isn't going to be watching how women's clothes interact with their body. He is going to notice their ass, their legs, their breasts. In more intimate contact he will then be likely to notice eyes, lips etc.
- He isn't as in touch with his emotions, when he is hurt, jealous, worried he expresses them all the same —as anger and frustration. In moments of real distress he reverts to the reckless behaviors of drinking and promiscuity.
- He isn't going to know much about romantic movies, songs or what kinds of flowers are prettiest.
- He isn't going to approach sex the same, how it is going will depend entirely on how he feels and her reaction to what he is doing. He isn't going to be planning or mapping things in his mind. He will be focused on the physical.
There are other considerations for your guy that might not have applied to mine (some men are more sensitive than others etc.). Example: Most guys don't know much about clothes, but James Day became interested in the role of clothes in attracting women in college, so he knows a bit about his own clothing and cologne. He is also a male escort so he cares how he dresses and wants to be pleasing to a woman's eye.
DIALOGUE: James dialogue wasn't going to be as specific or as detailed as the women in his life. His reactions were more physical and he struggled with putting his emotions into words. He was much more direct in what he chose to actually say. It was the reason I made his story first person. His thoughts and reactions were better indicators of what he was feeling than his words.
HIS SEX LIFE: When it came to sex I had to consider how he would react to touch. Like anything else, I did some research. You'd be surprised the information out there, when you ask guys about their penis, they are more than happy to talk about it on the worldwide web. You don't even have to ask, someone else already has! I read these two books as part of that research also:
Guide to Licking and Sucking - How to Impress Him with the Best Blowjob - Jean-Claude Carvill.
The Men's Health and Women's Health Big Book of Sex: Your Authoritative, Red-Hot Guide to the Sex of Your Dreams
HIS LIFE: I researched motorcycles, repairing them (a quite focused look for a particular scene), beer, physical therapy (he is a physical therapist), amputees and prosthetics (his job and his twin sister Jenna is a double amputee). How he kept his hair and what he wore (when he wasn't dressing for his clients, he liked jeans and shirts)
Don't let gender frighten you. When you're writing as a different gender I believe it's important to consider their experience of the world around them. Women are naturally more in tune with emotion and broad details. Men tend to be more logical, reactive and specific. Write your character out on several pieces of paper and start! Don't let it stop you from making the story as direct as it can be.