So, you want to write a male character. How do you go about that? I am an author myself, and I love putting a lot of effort into my characters. There are multiple directions you could go: you could develop the character as you go in the story, create the character ahead of time, or do a mix.
Some of my characters I create as I write the story, especially if I’m stuck on what to do. If you chose this route, it’s best to write down any new developments you give the character. Just a quick note, such as “He is easily irritated” or “He likes dogs” or “He hates his mother” or “He is afraid of snakes.” Keeping track of your character will help you to write them better and keep with the way you are developing them. Once you are done with the story, you can go through and change a couple things to fit the character more if you so desire.
The second route is to create them ahead of time. This path can be a little more difficult and may interfere with how you want a situation to turn out, but it can make writing the story easier, since you don’t have to worry about keeping track of your character so much. You’ll have to go through things, such as his sexuality, where he’s from, his fears, what he likes, what’s his favorite food, is he special in certain ways such as being double jointed, what’s his family, who raised him, does he have any pets, what’s his race, and more. You have to put a lot of effort in this way, and I myself tend to find the former route easier. But this can be more rewarding in some ways, giving you a character with richer detail.
The third is a mix. By that, I mean develop the character some ahead of time and develop the character as you go along. This is my favorite method, as you can get good details down while not restricting yourself when it comes to the development of the character himself. You can discover stuff, such as his sexuality, where he grew up, his family, but leave stuff like personality up for development. You should keep track of stuff, such as what you already know and what develops.
Now, when writing the character, you have to keep a couple things in mind. You have to research, stay consistent, look at your character’s point of view, and don’t do character abuse. The last is the most important, which I will tell you why in a little bit.
Research. Let’s say that your character is double-jointed. Do some research on double-jointed people! Find out information about the condition and take notes. Learn about what it’s like to be double jointed from people who are double-jointed. You can find stories online or in real life. Double-jointed people range in all types of double-jointed, from one joint to several, and can have problems involving their double-jointedness or not have problems involving it. I myself am double-jointed, but only in my left thumb. It’s pops into the double-jointed position smoothly and doesn’t pop without me wanting it to. You should also research different cultures, genders, sexualities, lifestyles, and more. You said that your character is emotionally abusive. Research why that happened. It could be because his mother was abusive to him (mothers are far more likely than fathers to be abusive to children, so that’s why I said mother), or that someone else what abusive to him. People who are abusive usually come from places of being abused.
Stay consistent. Take notes and keep with your character’s personality and background. Personalities may change, but where a character came from does not.
Look at your character’s point of view. What does he think and feel? What is he like and what got him there? Seeing as he is about the age of a teenager, you’ll need to look into how teenagers often think and act. Teenage brains do differ from adult brains considerably, so keep in mind that your point of view and his will be different! And seeing how he is about to get out of being a teenager, you need to learn how it changes during that period of time. Try to look and see things from his point of view. People tend to justify what their doing using their point of view, so keep in mind that his reasons for doing something will be different from yours. Also, study how men usually are. We differ immensely and are all different, but we do kind of differ from women in similar ways. We are usually afraid of showing weakness, and that fear can range. When writing male characters, look at it from a man’s point of view. Ask how your male friends would act during a situation and compare it to a female’s. You want to try to get him as realistic as possible, since it will help you to get your audience to connect with him better.
Don’t do character neglect. This is the most important, since this is the one that determines how good your character comes out the most. There are a couple rules to follow when making a character, all important in the aspect of character neglect. But first, what is character neglect? Character neglect is when you make a character in such a way that you are neglecting the actual character. Now, here are the rules: Give them flaws, give them limits, give them strengths, give them weaknesses, give them a background, give them a reason, and give them life. I will explain each down below.
Give them flaws. A character can’t seem real without having flaws. Everyone has flaws, and to make someone flawless is a flaw of the author. It also makes the character uninteresting. The best stories are usually the ones with a hero who has to become better personally and maybe also do something for others. If your character has no flaws, they have nothing to improve on. People like to see someone become better, not someone already perfect. People are always trying to perfect themselves, in different ways. They also want to see a character that they can connect with. If a male character is super girly, he’s not going to connect with much people. Some, yes, but not much. Just like how boys are going to connect with male characters better and girls are going to connect with girls better. You’re going to need to make your male character connect with boys and men more if you want it to sell. You’ll need to understand guys more, and by that, you have to understand our flaws more. It’s also important to remember that everyone is unique and have different flaws, but it’s important to remember that some are universal. Like the fact that us men are usually afraid of showing emotion and weakness.
Give them limits. By that, I mean physical, behavioral, and emotional limits. For example, women are extremely weaker physically, so it would make sense that women would not be able to do as much physical activity as a man would. But women’s brains are built so that there are more connections across the right and left sides of the brain, which makes it easier for women to multitask. Men have more connections within each side of the brain, which means that men tend to use only one side of the brain while doing a task, while a woman tends to use both. There are also more genius boys than genius girls, and more medically retarded boys than medically retarded girls. Double-jointed people are usually going to have a harder time than non-double-jointed people, but not always. People are going to be restricted physically, behaviorally, and emotionally. Men are going to have a harder time with emotions than a woman necessarily would. A woman is going to have a harder time with physicality than a man necessarily would. A person who has a harder time controlling their behavior, and an addict is going to have a harder time with behavior than a non-addict.
Give them strengths. They need strengths, and not necessarily physical strength. This is an area that Feminists and SJWs tend to have a hard time in. They tend to believe that in order to make a woman strong, she must be physically stronger than a man. But that’s not the way to go! A strong person is someone who can face their fears, be courageous, pull through, refuse to stop, or something else. A strong character has really almost nothing to do with physical strength. Afterall, you can be physically strong, but not strong enough to face your fears.
Give them weaknesses. In order to improve, they not only need flaws, but weaknesses too. A flaw and weakness are a little different, with a flaw being something such as anger issues while a weakness being something such as a fear. Give them fears, parts that they hate about themselves, etc. Somewhere they can easily be hit home with. An example would be: A father has to go rescue his children. The man could lose his children, which is a fear that keeps him driving but could also be used against him.
Give them a background. Even if your readers never learn the background, you need to make one, at least for yourself. They are important and could help you with creating a character a lot. And it doesn’t need to be big, either. You could literally just have a couple sentences. Example: Jennifer Smith was born on a secluded farm out in a quiet countryside. In order to escape her abusive mother, she joined the royal army as a messenger. This tells you a couple things. It tells you who the character is (Jennifer). It tells you where she was born and raised, which could affect how she sees the world and what talents and knowledge she has. It tells you where she is (royal army), how she got there (joined), and why she got there (to escape her abusive mother). With her being abused, she will probably end up abusing, being abused again, trying to stop that from happening to others, or other. A background can tell you so much about a character, making it a lot easier to design the character.
Give them a reason. The character needs a reason. Like the example in “Give them weaknesses,” the father’s reason was his children (to rescue them). In the example in “Give them a background,” Jennifer’s reason was her abusive mother. What is your character’s reason? What is he doing? Etc. You need to answer these questions in order to see what reason he has.
Give them life. What I mean is that you need to make the character seem real, or realistic. Like this character could be a real person. They need flaws, limits, strengths, weaknesses, a background, a reason, and to be realistic. Make sure your character also has emotions, behaviors, physical limits; basically, patterns. When you write him, make him seem real. Example: (What NOT to do:) “He looked over at her, glancing at her.” (What to do:) “He looked over at her, glancing at her, envious.” The first merely tells an action, not enough to know WHY. The second tells you that he’s envious, which gives him a reason to look her direction, as if he’s envious of her or something she has. The second one not only shows his action, it shows his emotion. What he’s thinking, what he’s feeling.
Thanks for listening. I see that I’m a little late to the question, but hopefully this can help anyone that sees it.