Interesting topic came to mind during a recent chapter revision.
It’s probably for the same reason you don’t see many male romance authors out there, simply because most men have no clue how to write a woman character and make it believable. Every little detail: gestures, word choice, slang, as well as what a woman would notice first looking at a man, or even another woman.
A lot of earlier romances had the stereotypical male hero: rough, tough, very little emotion, and all action. Either no words at all, or any words were based on the Tarzan psyche (Me want Jane. Me hungry.) I wonder if those male depictions in earlier writing were because most women authors didn’t know how to portray a realistic male character.
I ran into that issue the other week. My male character said certain things and behaved certain ways that didn’t sound believable. So I sent the chapter to a male critique buddy of mine, who helped me ‘man him up.’ (Another reason why I highly suggest joining a writer’s group!)
Such simple things like phrasing:
Original version: “People are mean.”
Manned up version: “People are cruel.”
Or how they refer to their own bodies:
Original version: ‘Thin Man clunked his beer bottle on the bar and jerked up his worn jeans over his hips.’
Manned up version: ‘Thin Man clunked his beer bottle on the bar and jerked up in worn jeans over his exposed whity-tighties.’
(I was told men never refer to their ‘hips.’)
There were several other areas that my critique pal noted were too ‘feminine’ for a male character (or at least the male character I was trying to portray). It’s amazing how different men and women will describe even a setting or what someone is wearing.
Women writers: how do you write your men? What tricks do you use to keep them realistic?