Mastering English

Creating Great Characters

Men vs. Women

Chances are your stories contain both male and female characters. In case you hadn't noticed, they are different. Writers need to understand this well, and there are many essays to help. These four are especially clever.

Letter from Man to a Woman

Men and Women: the Point System

The College Assignment

He Said, She Said

This one is of the popular 'list' variety, and is from the male POV.


A Letter to a Man from a Woman.

1.) Learn to work the toilet seat. If it's up, put it down. We need it up,you need it down. You don't hear us bitching about you leaving it down.
2.) ALL men see in only 16 colors. Peach is a fruit, not a color.
3.) If you won't dress like the Victoria's Secret girls, don't expect us to act like soap opera guys.
4.) If you think you're fat, you probably are. Don't ask us. We refuse to answer.
5.) Birthdays, Valentines, and Anniversaries are not quests to see if we can find the perfect present yet again!
6.) If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, expect an answer you don't want to hear.
7.) Sometimes, we're not thinking about you. Live with it. Don't ask us what we're thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as navel lint or the shotgun formation.
8.) Sunday = Sports. It's like the full moon or the changing of the tides. Let it be.
9.) Shopping is not a sport, and no, we're never going to think of it that way.
10.) When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine. Really.
11.) You have enough clothes. You have too many shoes.
12.) Crying is blackmail.
13.) Ask for what you want. Let's be clear on this one: Subtle hints don't work. Strong hints don't work. Really obvious hints don't work. Just say it!
14.) No, we don't know what day it is. We never will. Mark Anniversaries on the calendar.
15.) Peeing standing up is more difficult. We're bound to miss sometimes.
16.) Most guys own three pairs of shoes. What makes you think we'd be any good at choosing which pair, out of thirty, would look good with your dress?
17.) "Yes" and "No" are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.
18.) Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That's what we do.
19.) Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.
20.) A headache that lasts for 17 months is a problem. See a doctor.
21.) Foreign films are best left to foreigners. Unless it's Bruce Lee or some war flick where it doesn't really matter what they're saying anyway.
22.) Check your oil.
23.) It is neither in your best interest nor ours to take the quiz together.
24.) No, it doesn't matter which quiz.
25.) Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. All comments become null and void after 7 days.
26.) If something we said can be interpreted two ways, and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.
27.) Let us ogle. We're going to look anyway; it's genetic.
28.) You can either tell us to do something OR tell us how to do something, but not both.
29.) Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during commercials.
30.) If it itches, it will be scratched.
31.) Beer is as exciting for us as handbags are for you.
32.) If we ask what's wrong and you say "nothing," we will act like nothing's wrong. We know you're lying, but it's just not worth the hassle.

Thank you for reading this. Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight, but did you know we really don't mind--it's like camping!

This one is more of a self-test, and is done from a woman's POV.

Men and Women: the Point System.

Sample Duties

You make the bed.... +1
You make the bed, but forget to add the decorative pillows.... -1
You throw the bedspread over the rumpled sheets.... -1
You leave the toilet seat up .... -5
You replace the toilet-paper roll when it's empty.... 0
When the toilet paper roll is barren, you resort to Kleenex.... -1
You go out to buy her spring-fresh extra-light panty liners with wings.... +5
You come back with beer.... -5
You check out a suspicious noise at night.... 0
You check out a suspicious noise at night and it's nothing.... 0
You check out a suspicious noise at night and it's something.... +5
You pummel it with a six iron.... +10
It's her father.... -10

Social Engagements

You stay by her side the entire party.... 0
You stay by her side for a while, then leave to chat with a college drinking buddy.... -2
Named Tiffany... -4
Tiffany is a dancer.... -6
Tiffany has implants.... -8

A Night Out

You take her to a movie.... +2
You take her to a movie she likes.... +4
You take her to a movie you hate.... +6
You take her to a movie you like.... -2
It's called Death Cop 3.... -3
Which features cyborgs having sex.... -9
You lied and said it was a foreign film about orphans.... -15

Your Physique

You develop a noticeable potbelly.... -15
You develop a noticeable potbelly and exercise to get rid of it... +10
You develop a noticeable potbelly and resort to loose jeans and baggy Hawaiian shirts.... -30
You say "I don't care because you have one too".... -800


You lost the directions on a trip.... -4
You lost the directions and end up getting lost.... -10
You end up getting lost in the bad part of town.... -15
You end up getting lost in the bad part of town and met the locals up close and personal.... -25
You know them.... -60

The Big Question

She asks, "Do I look fat?".... -5
(Sensitive questions always start with a deficit) You hesitate in responding.... -10
You reply, "Compared to what?".... -35


When she wants to talk about a problem, you listen, displaying what looks like a concerned expression.... 0
When she wants to talk, you listen for over 30 minutes.... +5
You listen for more than 30 minutes without looking at the TV... +15

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This one is quite edgy, and all too relevant for both sexes.

* Note that it contains some profanity.


The College Assignment: He vs. She

Remember the book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus? Here's a prime example offered by an English professor at an American University.

"Today [the Professor explained] we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story. The process is simple. Each person will pair off with the person sitting to his or her immediate right. One of you will then write the first paragraph of a short story. The partner will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story. The first person will then add a third paragraph, and so on back and forth.

"Remember to reread what has been written each time in order to keep the story coherent. There is to be absolutely NO talking and anything you wish to say must be written on the paper. The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached."

"The following was actually turned in by two of my English students: Rebecca -last name deleted, and Jim - last name deleted."


(first paragraph by Rebecca)

At first, Laurie couldn't decide which kind of tea she wanted. The chamomile, which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home, now reminded her too much of Carl, who once said, in happier times, that he liked chamomile. But she felt she must now, at all costs, keep her mind off Carl. His possessiveness was suffocating, and if she thought about him too much her asthma started acting up again. So chamomile was out of the question.

(second paragraph by Jim)

Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack squadron now in orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think about than the neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie with whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago. "A.S. Harris to Geostation 17, he said into his transgalactic communicator. "Polar orbit established. No sign of resistance so far... " But before he could sign off, a bluish particle beam flashed out of nowhere and blasted a hole through his ship's cargo bay. The jolt sent him flying out of his seat and across the cockpit.


He bumped his head and died almost immediately but not before he felt one last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman who had ever had feelings for him. Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its pointless hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of Skylon 4. "Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel," Laurie read in her newspaper one morning. The news simultaneously excited her and bored her. She stared out the window, dreaming of her youth, when the days had passed unhurriedly and carefree, with no newspapers to read, no television to distract her from her sense of innocent wonder at all the beautiful things around her. "Why must one lose one's innocence to become a woman?" she pondered wistfully.


Little did she know, but she had less than ten seconds to live. Thousands of miles above the city, the Anu'udrian mothership launched the first of its lithium fusion missiles. The dim-witted wimpy peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace Disarmament Treaty through the congress had left Earth a defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who were determined to destroy the human race. Within two hours after the passage of the treaty the Anu'udrian ships were on course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to pulverize the entire planet. With no one to stop them, they swiftly initiated their diabolical plan. The lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret Mobile submarine headquarters on the ocean floor off the coast of Guam, felt the inconceivably massive explosion, which vaporized poor, stupid, Laurie and 85 million other Americans. The President slammed his fist on the conference table. "We can't allow this! I'm going to veto that treaty! Let's blow 'em out of the sky!"


This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature. My writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic semi-literate adolescent.


Yeah? Well, you're a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at writing are the literary equivalent of Valium. "Oh shall I have chamomile tea? Or shall I have some other sort of F*CKING TEA??? Oh no, I'm such an air headed bimbo who reads too many Danielle Steele novels."










Get f*cked.


Eat sh*t.




Go drink some tea - Whore.



I really liked this one.

* * *

This one is for settled-down married couples.
* Caution, it gets a little bit raunchy.

He Said, She Said.

He said, "I don't know why you wear a bra; you've got nothing to put in it."
She said, "You wear pants, don't you?"

He said, "Shall we try swapping positions tonight?"
She said, "That's a good idea. You stand by the ironing board while I sit on the sofa and fart!"

He said, "What have you been doing with all the grocery money I gave you?"
She said, "Turn sideways and look in the mirror!"

He said, "Why don't women blink during foreplay?"
She said, "They don't have time."

He said, "How many men does it take to change a roll of toilet paper?"
She said, "We don't know, it has never happened."

He said, "Why is it so difficult for ladies to find men who are sensitive, caring and good-looking?"
She said, "They already have boyfriends."

He said, "What do you call a woman who knows where her husband is every night?"
She said, "A widow."

He said, "Why are married women heavier than single women?"
She said, "Single women come home, see what's in the fridge, and go to bed. Married women come home, see what's in bed, and go to the fridge."

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Mastering English

Creating Great Characters