The great divide

I haven’t been reading much nonfiction lately (although my dad has given a copy of Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf by Ben Hogan, which I’ll be looking at after work today, lol) but The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine sounds way too interesting to pass up:

“The Female Brain” weaves together more than 1,000 scientific studies from the fields of genetics, molecular neuroscience, fetal and pediatric endocrinology, and neurohormonal development. It is also significantly based on her own clinical work at the Women’s and Teen Girls’ Mood and Hormone Clinic, which she founded at UCSF 12 years ago. It is the only psychiatric facility in the country with such a comprehensive focus.

Although I’m wary of over-intellectualizing my fiction writing, I have another motive besides straight curiosity for my interest in the book: in my current WIP I’ve moved to third person, so instead of a first-person female narrator observing men (something I’ve spent some time researching, ha ha) I’m going to have to hover a bit within a man’s head — oooh, scary!

(Or maybe not. According to the article on Brizendine’s book, “Thoughts about sex enter women’s brains once every couple of days; for men, thoughts about sex occur every minute.” So to make my guy authentic, all I need to do is have him think about sex all the time! How hard can that be? :-D)

You’ve probably also caught the AP story on the recent RWA conference by Kate Brumback, which reports that a growing percentage of romance readers are male (22 percent in 2004, up from from 7 percent in 2002).

That article includes a bit about Don’t Look Down, the “military romance” collaboration between Jennifer Crusie and former Green Beret Bob Mayer.

I read the book on Friday (staying up until waaaay past my bedtime to finish it btw — when will I learn?) If you want to write commercial fiction, this is a great book to mull over — the characters are so quickly drawn, the pacing triptrops along–and then there’s the link-up between Lucy & J.T., crafted with its built-in reality check:

Mayer and Crusie met at the Maui Writers Conference three years ago. Both were looking to do something different, and they decided to collaborate. Crusie writes the parts that come from a woman’s point of view, while Mayer weighs in with the male perspective.

“Usually, you have women writing the male point of view, too. I read some sometimes and go, ‘No, that’s not what the guy is really thinking,’ ” Mayer said.

“He’s actually thinking about sex.” ha ha ha Mayer didn’t really say that :-)

I plan to read the book a second time as a writer, just to pick apart the male female stuff. For example, when the narrative follows Lucy, that’s how she’s referenced — by her first name. When it follows J.T., he’s referenced by Wilder, his last name — the only time he’s called “J.T.” is in dialogue, or when Lucy is thinking about him. It’s a subtle thing but it alone really masculinizes his piece of the story. How cool is that?

[tags] writing [/tags]

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