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John DeDakis

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Confessions of a Cross-Gender Writer
By John DeDakis
Last edited: Friday, February 15, 2008
Posted: Friday, February 15, 2008



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Recent articles by
John DeDakis

• A Son Remembers His WWII Dad
• Remembering Dad on Veterans Day
• I'm Afraid to Write!
• Wow
• Behind the Scenes in a Troubled Newsroom
• Who Should Direct the Movie of my Novel?
• Why I'm a Man Writing as a Woman
           >> View all 27
I admit it: I'm a man writing in a woman's body.






I'm a guy, but I write in the first person as a woman. 

When my mystery/suspense novel FAST TRACK was first published in hardcover in 2005, one of my male friends said in astonishment to one of our mutual female friends, "I didn't know John was a closet woman!" 

Here's how I inscribed his book: "Welcome to my closet."

My CNN colleague and cone-of-silence friend Carol Costello once told me after reading an early draft of the manuscript, "You have a very well-developed female side."  I suppose some guys might be freaked to be told that, but Carol meant it as a compliment, so I accept it even though I'm still not totally sure what she means.

Writing as a woman started when I first began toying with fiction at least 15 years ago.  Someone suggested that I choose a point of view that would be different for me and a challenge. 

It was only later that I realized that most people who buy books are women.  Cool.

I found that writing from the female perspective hasn't been as tough as I thought it would be, for a number of reasons:


  • I had a great relationship with my mom (a third grade school teacher, incidently) -- I could talk with her about anything

  • Cindy, my wife of nearly 30 years, is one of those quality people who have a lot of substantive things to say.  She's smart, compassionate, articulate, and never boring

  • My 26-year-old writer/daughter Emily is never shy about offering an opinion on just about everything

  • I work in a newsroom surrounded by twenty-something young women who tell me stuff because I'm much more comfortable asking questions and listening than pontificating.  


I asked a lot of women to read FAST TRACK before I found my agent -- also a woman (Barbara Casey) -- and their feedback helped me make tweaks that rendered the text authentic to the female psyche. For example, I had a line of dialogue in which Lark Chadwick, my protagonist, says, "I'll just jump in the shower."  The women of the Princeton Lakes Book Club in Marietta, Georgia, who let me sit in and listen as they critiqued the manuscript, said, as one: "Women do NOT just 'jump' in the shower.  We  languish in it and savor the sensuality of the experience." 

Got it.  Lark no longer jumps into the shower.

After FAST TRACK came out, Kris Kosach of ABC Radio wrote, "DeDakis crawls inside the mind of a twenty-something female, authentically capturing her character, curiosity and self-expression in this can't-put-down thriller."  Nice.

And I continue to be amazed at the numerous 5-star reviews I get on Amazon from women who don't seem to mind that a man is writing as a woman. See for yourself: http://www.amazon.com/review/product/1595071024/ref=cm_cr_pr_link_1?%5Fencoding=UTF8&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending

Yes, there is probably still plenty of prejudice out there among people who don't believe it's possible for a writer to be able to bridge the gender gap, but I've found that emotions are universal.  Women, as well as men, experience fear, joy, anger, and sadness.  No one gender corners the market on having feelings it's just that I've found women express them more interestingly and articulately. 

So, I'm proud to be a woman -- if only on the printed page. 

John DeDakis
CNN Senior Copy Editor
("The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer")

Author, FAST TRACK
(hardcover: ISBN 1-59507-094-X)
(paperback: ISBN 1-59507-102-4)

web site:
www.johndedakis.com

Web Site my web site
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Reviewed by Josephine Shaffer 7/8/2010
I'm a girl borned in the wrong body i like being a girl.
Reviewed by Patricia Guthrie 12/5/2008
Oh my gosh! I think we (women) do it all the time when we write in third person. I write pov in woman and men pov's. Although, I admit, the heroine usually does have the lion's share. I just can't help that.

But, it's interesting about how to get inside the head of the opposite sex. I take my books to my friend, Bruce, who says "A man would NEVER say (think, do) that." So, I too, go back to the drawing board and rewrite.

Very intersting life you've lead John. I love Situation Room.
I'm also a mystery/suspense, romantic suspense lover and writer. It's what I do. (well besides all the other things I do)

Patricia A. Guthrie
Waterlilies Over My Grave
In the Arms of the Enemy
Reviewed by Saberi Roy 2/27/2008
yeah this is quite different. I don't remember coming across a man writing as a woman. But I do have a man inside me and a novel which I haven't published yet is about the male emotional-artistic-physical-philosophical experiences. The novel has been with me for years now and I really have to complete it.But I understand the challenge and it's exciting actually. good luck for your next book. cheers, S

Books by
John DeDakis



Troubled Water (Kindle Edition)

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Troubled Water

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Bluff (Paperback Edition)

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Amazon, more..




Bluff (Hardcover Edition)

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Amazon, Barnes & Noble, more..




Bluff (Kindle Edition)

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Amazon, more..




Fast Track (Kindle Edition)

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Amazon, more..




Fast Track (Hardcover)

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Amazon, Barnes & Noble, more..


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