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I’m writing a new story. The main character is male. I know how to write from the viewpoint of a male (I am one), but I’m lost on writing him.
Here’s the story so far: His family was killed, he ended up in the court of a royal family, and then he ended up in the position to save a kingdom.
I’m lost on how to write him. What I mean, is I don’t know what sexuality, race, personality, etc. he has. Is there anyway that I could figure it out? Or got any ideas? I also need to figure out how the story is going to end up. I’m going to have a mainly male cast (I’m more comfortable writing males than females), but should I add more females or other characters?
I’m really stuck on the sexuality part. I would be fine giving him any sexuality (I would rather not do asexual, since I do want some sexual tension in the book), but I don’t know if he should be gay, straight, bi, or other. The problem is that I’m gay, so I wouldn’t know what to write about if he were straight or bisexual. And I don’t necessarily want to make him gay, though I’m not sure why. I need to know what sexuality would work and if he does end up being attracted to women in some way shape or form, what is it like?
Roll some dice.
Create tables for sexuality, race, possible personality traits, etc. For example:
bisexual, mostly attracted to women
bisexual, no preference
bisexual, mostly attracted to men
Alter probabilities to taste and depending on the cultural context. You can use survey data if you want to do more research.
If you have more than 6 options, or want to tilt the probabilities, there are online dice rollers that will let you determine a random number in any range. Tables of personality traits to roll against also exist, usually in roleplaying game forums.
I’m not actually advocating making your characters completely random, but I use this approach when I’m stuck. Often I end up vehemently disagreeing with the result of the die roll. Sometimes that’s a bias I need to overcome and I stick with the dice roll, other times it tells me something essential about the character and I ignore the dice roll entirely. Either way, no longer stuck.
(Note: This works for characters of any gender. Gender is the primary trait I use this technique for.)
There is no one telling you what your character can or cannot be. You don’t necessarily need to flesh out his sexuality if it isn’t relevant to the story. Just slip it in. Or give a ton of thought, if you want to. Sometimes, if you’re stuck on developing a character, you can discover who they are by pantsing (Know that term? It means to write without a plan. Just dive right in with no barriers, throw him into some random situations, and see how he reacts. You’ll probably pull together some characteristics of his. Pantsing might also help you figure out where you want your story to go.).
Being a female and finding other females attractive, I can’t give you a straight man’s perspective. But if you want your guy to be somewhat attracted to the female gender, aside from giving a girl some personality traits he likes, make him notice some physical things. I feel like the traits on a female that people tend to notice are:
- Lips (especially if this girl likes lipstick, right?)
- Boobs (sorry but it’s true)
Yeah, there are more but you get the idea. You weren’t born last night.
Depending on the personality and tendencies of your character, he would be attracted to different things. Honestly, this totally works for guys, too. If he views himself as strong and domineering, maybe make him notice the soft hair on a girl, or a guy’s playful smile, etc, because they seem gentle. If he likes people who seem tough or ‘above him’ in some way, maybe a guy’s muscles are what he notices, or how creepy and mysterious that dark-haired girl in the back corner is, but somehow in a good way.
Also, if his family was killed, depending on how, he will probably have some difficulties stemming from it. Maybe he doesn’t trust easily. Maybe it’s PTSD or anxiety. Maybe he has some crazy thirst for revenge. Maybe he’s super confused about the whole thing. And if he’s in a royal kingdom, is he entitled? Or does he have so much going for him that he feels guilty, and constantly gives to the less fortunate? Or does he himself not have a lot, in spite of that (I don’t know how your fictional world works)? You can find many character traits and motivations from backstory, I’ve learned.
As for worrying about a primarily male cast, that’s fine. Think of Lord of the Flies. There is not a single female in that story, and I love that book. But if your story doesn’t center around a deserted island full of British schoolboys, it might be realistic to get a few women in there, or others in between. You just need to appeal to readers somehow and they shouldn’t care.
Hope this was of at least some help. Good luck and have fun.
Straight or gay, men are men.
Some of the other answers you’ve gotten have focused on writing techniques, but I’m going to focus on the main point of your question: how to portray the sexuality of straight men. Firstly, however, I want to say that I’m going to be using stereotypes and generalizations in this answer. As always, when you’re talking about people, there are always exceptions to every rule.
Based on my experiences as a heterosexual man, and my understanding of how the attraction of gay men tends to work, I think it’s safe to say that, in general, men are men, and the basics of how their sexual attraction works are similar. The primary difference are in the objects of their attraction: men aren’t women, as a result, the ways that their attractions expresses itself is different.
Both straight and gay men are very visually-focused. They want partners who they find physically attractive. Where gay men might find twinky boys, muscular bara men, or big hairy bears attractive depending on their personal tastes, heterosexual men fixate on the features of the female body. Some men like butts, some men like boobs, some men like legs. Some guys like fit, muscular women, and other guys like petite, slim women. Some guys even find women’s feet sexually attractive, though that tends to be regarded as a (relatively common) sexual fetish. Basically, take your own experiences as a gay man admiring male bodies, and consider how a straight guy would admire female bodies.
Similarly, straight or gay, men generally want to sleep with lots of partners. It’s a basic biological urge, based on how our gendered reproductive system works – it makes genetic sense for a man to try to spread his genetics as far as possible, while women want to obtain a single high-quality partner since the biological costs of having a child are much higher for them. As a result, gay men tend to be more promiscuous than heterosexual men, since neither party has as much of the biological drive towards gatekeeping intimacy that women do – if straight guys could go out to a night club and fuck a dozen willing women (and they didn’t need to worry about things like STDs or accidental children), a lot of them would! However, women are generally choosier than men are, so that’s a lot more difficult – sexual promiscuity and “harem building” is typically reserved for wealthy, high-ranking, or otherwise highly desirable men.
I’ll also say that my understanding is that what women find attractive in men is different to what gay men find attractive in men. I’ve heard a number of complaints that female-written gay romances have a tendency to write the male protagonists as “women with penises”, for instance. Reading a few of them and contemplating the differences to your own experiences as a gay man might help you better understand how female attraction works.