Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Guest Post - Writing From The Male and Female Perspective by Jon Rance - Blog Tour

Hello and thanks so much for having me on your blog! I’ve very excited to be here and to introduce my new romantic comedy novel, Dan And Nat Got Married. This is stop six on my blog tour and today I’m going to talk about writing from the male and female perspective. 

When I sat down to write Dan And Nat Got Married, I knew I wanted to write it from both perspectives. I’ve read some great novels that use this device from the brilliant, ‘The Best Thing That Never Happened To Me’ and to a different extent, ‘One Day’ by David Nicholls. I knew I wanted to write it this way because I wanted to tell both of their stories. This isn’t just a love story, but a story of two people. You just can’t tell the same story if you only write from one perspective. 

I’ve written from female perspectives before. In my novels, ‘Happy Endings’ and ‘Sunday Dinners’, I wrote from both male and female perspectives, so it isn’t something I haven’t done before. It is hard though and requires some serious thinking. So how is it different writing from the male perspective? The biggest thing is that I’m a man. I know, obvious right. I know how men think, what they talk about, how they act, and how they interact. I’m not a woman, although I do know and have known many women, I still have to put myself inside their head and make it sound believable. And it’s the believability that’s the hardest part. Especially so because a majority of my readers are women and if it doesn’t work, they will quickly tell me! There are a lot of scenes in the book between Nat and her best friend, Ellie, and I think (I hope) these really work. They’re the best of friends and I think their relationship, for me at least, is one of the best things about the book. I especially love the scene when they’re talking on the train. 

I’ve read quite a few novels by women about women and it definitely helps. I’ve been married for twelve years and so knowing my wife so intimately definitely helps. But here’s the thing. When I’m creating a character from scratch, I have to get inside her head, walk in her shoes, and so despite knowing a lot about women, I have to actually think like one and that isn’t easy. It’s like the difference between watching sport and playing it. It’s like watching the Great British Bake Off or actually being in it and I don’t know about you, but I’m rubbish at baking. It’s a real challenge, but I think the sort of challenge that writers need to take to get better and improve.  

I did really enjoy writing Nat’s story and especially her scenes with best friend, Ellie or Elle’s Bells as she calls her. It took me a bit of time to really get both of these characters, but after a few drafts I really fell in love with them - not like that! I love how they’re so close and can tell each other anything. In contrast, Dan and his best friend, Adam, are typical blokes and don’t like discussing anything a bit emotional or deep with each other. Although due to events in the book they’re forced into it and it’s funny and interesting seeing how they deal with it. It’s actually easier in some ways writing from the female perspective because I get to be completely open and honest, which isn’t always the case with men. With men, as in real life, we keep everything in, skirt around the issue, and don’t feel comfortable discussing anything slightly personal or awkward. Dan and Adam just end up spending a lot of time in the pub, which is basically where men go instead of actually discussing problems. It’s a nice contrast. 

For me characters are everything. If you read a book with flimsy, badly written characters then it doesn’t matter how great the plot is, you probably won’t enjoy it. But great characters can make even weak stories comes alive. There’s the great quote about the sitcom ‘Seinfeld’, where Jerry Seinfeld calls it a show about nothing and essentially it is. I think he’s doing his storytelling ability a bit of a disservice because some of the plotlines were brilliant, but what he’s essentially saying is true. It’s just a sitcom about four friends in New York - as Friends was just a sitcom about six friends in New York. But what made both of these shows so successful was the characters. Characters are everything. So writing from both the male and female perspectives as I did in, Dan And Nat Got Married, made it even more important to get it right and I think, I hope, I have. 

So this is, Dan And Nat Got Married, a love story told from both sides. If you’re a woman you’re going to get a real insight into the male psyche - it’s scary, I know - and if you’re a man, hopefully you’ll enjoy reading about love and marriage from a female perspective. It’s also a story about two sets of friends and how they help each other overcome obstacles. It’s men and women together, apart, and somehow making life work. It’s a book of two halves that hopefully makes a fantastic whole! Thanks so much for having me on your blog. It’s been an absolute pleasure. 

You are very welcome Jon, its been a pleasure to host you, and I really enjoyed Dan And Nat Got Married.

About Jon Rance

Jon Rance is the author of four novels: The Kindle top ten bestseller, This Thirtysomething Life, Happy Endings (both published by Hodder and Stoughton), This Family Life and Sunday Dinners. He's also the author of the short story prequel, This Twentysomething Life and the Christmas novella, A Notting Hill Christmas. Dan And Nat Got Married, is his fifth novel. 

Jon studied English Literature at Middlesex University, London, before going travelling and meeting his American wife in Australia. Jon loves comedy (especially sitcoms), the films of Richard Curtis, travelling and tea. He just turned forty, which is a terrifying time, so his books might get a bit edgier and possibly angrier as a result.

Jon writes dramatic, romantic, comedy fiction similar to the work of Mike Gayle, Matt Dunn, Nick Spalding and David Nicholls.

You can email him at: jonrance@yahoo.com

Please visit his website: www.jonrance.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @JRance75

The British romantic comedy you need to read this year. 

From the bestselling author of This Thirtysomething Life, Happy Endings and Sunday Dinners, comes a brilliantly funny romantic comedy, perfect for fans of Love Actually, Notting Hill and Bridget Jones. 

Marriage can be difficult. Especially when you've only just met. Meet Dan Fox, 34, an online marketing manager from Clapham, who was jilted at the altar two years ago by the love of his life and hasn’t dated since. 

Nat Howard, 32, is living back at home with her parents in Dorking after her perfect boyfriend dumped her and she had to move out of his bespoke flat in Putney. 

On separate Stag and Hen weekends in Las Vegas, Dan and Nat wake up married. Both too drunk to remember what happened, they return to England and try to get on with their lives. But there was something about Nat that makes the usually cautious Dan think they should give their marriage a go. Nat’s still in love with her Ex, but maybe Dan can help mend her broken heart. 

Can marriage between two relative strangers really work? And when Nat's ex-boyfriend - the gorgeous Charlie - comes back into her life, she must decide - something old or something new? 

Set in London, Dan And Nat Got Married, is a funny and full of heart modern romantic comedy about marriage, relationships, and giving love a second chance. 

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