JC wants to know: If Kurt is a man who keeps things to himself (the strong and silent type), how to I make him compelling without going too much into emotions, which is a rather female reaction? Are their psychological distinctions between how a man or a woman would react to the same situation?
While I usually write my mini-assessments out to the character, I think this one is for all you authors out there. So here we go, JC!
You're right, of course, about the female reaction being much more emotional. If I had to pinpoint a word that describes the majority of male reactions it would be rational (basically to offset the female). This is in generalities, not facts.
Men are fixers. They see a problem and can seemingly more easily look at a situation, break it down into manageable steps, and go to work. Women tend to gloss over those steps and cry and breakdown with how overwhelmed they are. From what I've noticed in my career, men seem to go into action mode when reacting while women go into almost an inaction mode (at least at first) because they are taking it all in, processing it differently. Women tend to overanalyze, playing out various scenarios. Men are action-oriented (read Wild at Heart by John Eldridge for more on this)--not to say that they don't think, but act while they think.
Hopefully that made sense!
Randy Ingermanson has a popular workshop that he does on writing from the male point of view. He talks about the three main differences between men and women. Here it is, in Randy's own words from his blog:
You can make Kurt compelling, operating within these three avenues as guidelines. Nothing's set in stone, and you have lots of freedom where needed. I don't think Randy's saying that men never talk about their feelings. Too many women have forced men to have the DTR (defining the relationship) talk, and I guarantee you that most of those men were extremely uncomfortable--even when they liked the girl! So if things swing into the emotional realm, I'd show his discomfort, perhaps in a physical way.
He's going to visually notice his neighbor, and those images that are burned into his retinas will remain there for a while, so I'd have him revisit them, perhaps during a harrowing crime scene. Like an off-the-wall memory. Depending on what type of novel you're writing, you could go into really crude internal thoughts or keep them vague--but even Christian men notice these things (they just channel those thoughts away, ideally).
I hope this helps out some. I found Randy's stuff useful. I also really like the following books for describing the differences between men and women:
Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray
Men are like Waffles, Women are like Spaghetti by Bill and Pam Farrel
For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men by Shaunti Feldhahn
Thanks for writing in!