Getting in Touch with my Masculine Side

A challenge for fiction writers is to capture the point of view of the opposite sex. That’s especially true when writing in first person. So as I revise BEFORE THE STORM, I’m working hard at making Marcus’s point of view strong and distinctive from that of the two female characters. I have to say, I’m really in the zone now. Reading Wally Lamb’s I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE surely helped me get into the male psyche. Watching Ken Burns’ absolutely incredible documentary on World War II has also given me a testerone jolt — albeit a painful one. Talking to my resident male, John, helps as well. It took me a day or so to break out of my usual female first-personhood and embrace Marcus’s point of view. Shorter, punchier sentences. Incomplete sentences. More action than emotion. That’s my Marcus!
Tomorrow I work on Maggie, the mature seventeen year old, further separating her voice from that of her mother. I’m giving myself this week to revise. Then I’ll be on the fast track with the sequel. I hope.


  1. Margo on October 2, 2007 at 3:59 pm

    I dont’ know how you do it Diane. I try to imagine if I were a writer (which I’m not), how would I convince the audience that my characters were real…and I think I would have to lock myself in a room and actually become these people to portray them. I’m sure you don’t do that but somehow you capture their essence and everything else just seems right. Changing diff points of view, female to male and back to female…you do it better than anyone D.

  2. Brenda on October 2, 2007 at 5:33 pm

    Teaching “voice” is so difficult. My students don’t understand why that is important.
    I am so really eager to read these books.
    You amaze me–Diane.
    Better go-students coming for study session before college class-and a newspaper reporter again. I don’t think I do that much but…

  3. Brenda on October 2, 2007 at 5:33 pm

    P.S. I would LOVE to spend a month in the summer in NYC and work for an editor…be great experience.

  4. Diane Chamberlain on October 3, 2007 at 1:41 am

    Brenda, you need about five more lifetimes to do all you’d like to do. How wonderful to have such enthusiasm!
    I’m letting my masculine side go in exchange for my seventeen year old side now. It’s nearly 2 am and I just finished working on Maggie’s voice. That was tough, but I like the way she sounds much better now. It’s not just speech that needs to change, but narrative as well. She was sounding too much like her mom, Laurel. Now she sounds like a teenager. At least I hope she does.

  5. Kathy Holmes on October 3, 2007 at 5:27 pm

    You write characters well. I’ve read some authors writing from the male POV and I’m thinking, “No way would a man say it like that.” 🙂

  6. Diane Chamberlain on October 3, 2007 at 5:37 pm

    Thanks, Kathy. I DO think my men tend to be a bit on the sensitive side. 😉
    Since Marcus is a firefighter, I needed to toughen him up a bit. It was fun to do!

  7. brenda on October 3, 2007 at 7:34 pm

    Girls-read the rest of Coben’s THE WOODS after class last night…whew…that man has a way with words…
    Am rereading Reichs’ Bare Bones-one of my students asked me to reread it…
    I am getting excited for Diane’s new books…we don’t want to hurry you but…
    You are correct-I do not have enough time to do all I want.

  8. Krysia on October 4, 2007 at 10:42 pm

    Sounds like a busy week! My 1st week at the new job is going well n a lil painful and my house creaps me out!

  9. Diane Chamberlain on October 4, 2007 at 11:00 pm

    Krysia, you have to tell us about your move. Why does your house creep you out?

  10. Anonymous on October 5, 2007 at 9:02 am

    I’d like to know about your new job Krysia. What’s wrong with the house?

  11. Krysia on October 5, 2007 at 8:52 pm

    The move is still going. I think i have 2 much stuff. The house i am renting is very old and makes a lot of noises as it settles. I haven’t done much at the new job yet, we are doing jefrah training which is restraining (why i’m sore) and de-escalation of situations. The kids have been acting up n have broken 2 staffs noses and 2 classroom windows. But im not scared…yet.

  12. Diane Chamberlain on October 5, 2007 at 9:00 pm

    Oh my gosh, Krysia! You moved across country to be threatened and haunted? Stay safe, please.

  13. Krysia on October 5, 2007 at 9:15 pm

    Nah just moved 100 miles west of where i was 2 a really small town (maybe 100 people). Still in sd though.

  14. brenda on October 6, 2007 at 10:36 am

    Krysia, Wow!!! I can relate as a teacher (formerly at at risk schools and even a prison!!!–no kidding) Your house has a story. Keep us posted. If you don’t want to write it all on the website-email me–might be a story there for me to tell the students in high school…Good luck and stay safe. Sleep with the cell by your bed and sleep with your car keys by your bed…if you have one of those with the horn button on it…

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