In work for the other author ego, I had a critique partner mention a joke I had put in about bathroom habits. I knew it was on the line, so it wasn't a big deal, I probably would have taken it out on the read through. But it started me thinking about how real is too real for writing?
Authors do a lot of research and take classes in making their characters sound real, especially men. I know a couple of writers who struggle with making their male characters sound more like men and less like women.
A long time ago, I read a review somewhere of a book by S.L. Carpenter and Sahara Kelly (and it might have just been Carpenter on his own, I can't remember what book it was), which...really didn't like the use of fart jokes.
I'm also reminded of a scene in Mulan
where Mushu and Mulan are walking through the soldier's camp. Mulan says, "They're disgusting." Mushu replies, "No, they're men."
Men and women do talk and act differently, that's a given.
One way, I think men can be different is that they are a little bit cruder with language. I worked in an office with four men and was there a lot of time, just me and the guys. It's amazing what they will say. And yeah, *sigh* fart jokes aren't exactly unrealistic.
Men do not use as many words as women. My DH makes me laugh a lot because he will answer a three paragraph email from me with one word (we email sometimes while he's at work instead of phoning). If I get more than four words from him, I'm asking him is he sick.
So when writers strive to be "real" with their men, when is it too real? How much realism is wanted or needed?
This doesn't just extend to writing men. I know some writers have wondered in sex scenes, how real is too real, especially when writing anal sex and with the use of condoms.
I'll answer the question, too, a little later.
May the muses have men