I PROMISED MYSELF IÂ’D NEVER DO THIS!
Secrets from writing in the trenches of the male mind.
Â What do teenage boys thinks about?Â Ask your friends this question and they will inevitably say sex! This is exactly why I promised myself IÂ’d never write a novel from a teenage male point of view.Â Especially one in first person where I get a front row seat of every thought that races through my characterÂ’s hormone-drunk head!Â But my new novel ALL WE LEFT BEHIND didnÂ’t come to life until I started writing from KurtÂ’s POV, and boy did he have some secrets to tell!
Three secrets I learned while writing in the trenches of the male mind:
- Guys donÂ’t talk pretty.
My female characters love to ponder, reflect, and use poetic metaphors to share their feelings.
Â“I hear the crash of water in my ears. Rolling waves, yearning, and all the things that are new to me. How softness can ache out the past I regret. How skin has a language made of quietness and breath.Â”
My male character wouldnÂ’t be caught dead saying something like this! No way. Poetry is for girls. Kurt thinks in short crisp fragments, with sentences that are active and to the point.
“DonÂ’t think. DonÂ’t breathe. Charge. I trap the ball and dribble up the line. The ease slides over me, like a numbness, and everything else ceases to exist. I square up the shot and take it. Like itÂ’s all IÂ’ve got. Â’Cause if I believe thereÂ’s more Â— IÂ’ll miss.”
- Guys like action, not feelings.
The clichÃ© says that guys donÂ’t like to talk about their feelings, but this doesnÂ’t mean they donÂ’t have feelings. I discovered the best way to communicate KurtÂ’s internal landscape was to have him express it though action. He didnÂ’t want to think about his emotions. Instead he wanted to do something about it! So, I let him.
- Guys DO think about sex all the time.
Several of my male friends read early drafts of ALL WE LEFT BEHIND. I asked them to give me candid feedback on my teenage male voice, and boy did I get it! The margins of my manuscript were full of comments like this:
Â“HeÂ’d be looking at her boobs here.Â”
Â“HeÂ’s ready for a second round.Â”
It was eye-opening to see all the Â“opportunitiesÂ” IÂ’d missed!
In the end, I loved writing KurtÂ’s point of view in ALL WE LEFT BEHIND. Crafting his voice is something I struggled with up to the last revision. I hope I did his story justice, and IÂ’d happily write in a male POV again.All We Left Behind by Ingrid Sundberg
Published by Simon Pulse on December 1st 2015
Genres: Fiction, Young Adult
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For fans of Simone Elkeles and Courtney Summers, this haunting debut novel is about two teenagers battling their inner demons as they fall in love for the first time.
When Marion Taylor, the shy bookworm, meets sexy soccer captain Kurt Medford at a party, what seems like a sure thing quickly turns into a total mess. One moment theyÂ’re alone in the middle of a lake, igniting sparks of electricity. The next, theyÂ’re on dry land, pretending theyÂ’ve never met. But rather than the end, that night is the beginning of something real, terrifying, and completely unforgettable for them both.
As Marion and Kurt struggle to build a relationship from the fractured pieces of their pasts, every kiss they share uncovers memories both would rather keep buried. Marion desperately wants to trust Kurt and share the one secret sheÂ’s never told anyoneÂ—but some truths arenÂ’t meant to be spoken out loud. Kurt is also still haunted by his motherÂ’s death, by the people he hurt, and by the mistakes he can never take back.
Explosive together and hollow apart, Marion and Kurt seem totally wrong for each otherÂ—but could they turn out to be more right than they ever thought possible?