Sunday, November 27, 2016
Romance roadblock: Japanese women prefer virtual boyfriends to real-life men
Dear blog readers, I’ve just about ran out of ideas for the male point of view in romance fiction, so I poked around the internet and found the below. It might be used to inspire a fresh romance idea for a book. Enjoy.
Below is the Honey article.
“Love on demand: Women in Japan are increasingly ditching real-life men in favour of virtual boyfriends found on romance gaming apps.
After breaking up with her boyfriend at age 22, Tokyo resident Ayumi Saito discovered a romance game called Metro PD: Close To You. And she says the game's male lead filled the "lonely" void in her heart.
"When I was tired at the end of the day, before going to sleep, I was so relieved to hear his sweet and gentle words," Ayumi, now 31, told CNN. "Japanese men are shy and not good at flattering women. But girls want to hear 'I love you'."
The $130-million romance gaming industry is booming in Japan. In a country where nearly half of all women between the ages of 18 and 34 are virgins, it seemingly helps them tap into intimacy they're not otherwise receiving.
"These romance games make me feel I want to be in love with someone," a 26-year-old woman named Yuirka told CNN. "The boys in these games have something lacking in the real life boys -- they are so sweet."
The games tend to feature a female heroine who meets a slew of potential suitors on her life journey.
[Read more at http://honey.nine.com.au/2016/11/22/14/56/japanese-women-romance-gaming#S5uzsbrbS1LAokhd.99]
"The strong and selfish men are the most popular," head of Voltage games, Nigahi Higashi, told CNN. "The most popular characters are strong on the outside and only sometimes sweet for you."
(Voltage tweaks their formula for North America audiences, where they say women prefer a "macho man, both mentally and physically".)
While some may say the gaming obsession is preventing Japanese women from finding off-screen romances, a recent government survey found that 40 percent of all singles in their 20s and 30s (men and women) aren't actually interested in having a flesh-and-blood romantic partner.
"[Women] dream of a guy who is handsome, controlling, and unreasonably in love with [them]," Marcos Daniel Arroyo, a software engineer at Cheritz games, told Vogue. "[The games provide] the fantasy of a relationship that cannot occur so easily in real life."
Read more at http://honey.nine.com.au/2016/11/22/14/56/japanese-women-romance-gaming#S5uzsbrbS1LAokhd.99
Sunday, November 20, 2016
When someone says something like he or she is a ‘ten’ or he/she is perfect, how do they know? Science answers this question. The apple of the beholder’s eye is not a ten but rather exhibits the ratio 1.618 all over their bodies including the face.
1.618… is called by many names, Phi, the magic number, golden ratio, divine proportion, God’s number, chemistry, “it.”
Nerd alert: Say a line is 1.618 inches. Tag it at the 1 inch mark. Science has discovered that 1 inch plus 0.618 inches is as 1 inch is to 0.618 inches. What? Take a look at the nautilus shell with its constantly smaller shells (all of the same ratio) as an example. Or Audrey Hepburn’s face. Or the hand (0.618) compared to the hand and forearm (1.618). Or check out Leonardo Da Vinci’s studies.
Somehow people sense nature’s simple design and admire or are attracted to it. Maybe it is in our DNA. No, stop. The length of DNA to the width is 1.618.
You might say, what about Samoans where girth is revered or the Kayan people with neck rings distorting their necks? All cultures, when shown women with various hip/body proportions will pick the divine proportion as the most desirable. Note they are not shown a woman who’s original figure is hidden by weight.
What does this mean to the writer of romance? If we can’t explain in some way why there is an initial attraction we may have missed an opportunity. Of course, there is way more to picking a mate than Godly perfection. There’s his/her heart, sense of humor, loving nature, nurturing, etc. Also, a person who feels they are a “6” may try for another “6” or try to get a “7.” Sometimes when two people meet there seems to be a nuclear meltdown.
Still, how do we know what perfection is if we don’t have a piece of God within us?
Also, important to us nerds, is Phi chemistry, biology or physics?
Sunday, November 13, 2016
In real life and in some of our romances, the man adores the woman. This man dedicates himself to making her life better moment by moment. This brings him joy. This is a man who gets the meaning of life. Men and women were made for each other.
Most couples in fiction and real life do not adore each other. The man considers love (an active verb) hard work. Work he enjoys.
Some men have an edge. They struggle to balance their needs versus the needs of their partner. Perhaps they are doing important work, some project or devotion to the greater good of mankind. Can’t blame him. We can write him.
The edge often shows up in little or big spats, as clashes over the direction of the partnership. This is inevitable.
It can be unhealthy if anger enters the equation. It is unhealthy if anger mixes with domination of any kind. We can’t write that, can we?
Every facet of a man and woman’s relationship is fair game in romance fiction, but in order to achieve an HEA one has to show change from bad to good.
Woman, John Lennon, 1980
Sunday, November 6, 2016
Don’t we all want to be loved? A dashing fellow comes along, tells our heroine everything a woman would want to hear, to make love to her. He doesn’t mean it, at least partially (he wears a gray hat). She worries if she’ll ever have the most beautiful feeling a human can have on this planet. She lingers. She submerges warning signs. She gives him extra chances. Why? Possibly, she desperately wants a HEA (happily ever after) and no one is standing in line. Her mom and dad nurtured her, she deserves it all, she’s a princess and her prince will show up someday, she’s beautiful, smart, funny, loving…
The hero is also not immune to worrying about finding a mate and love. A woman could come on to him seeing a meal ticket (not that women can’t or shouldn’t be self-sufficient), settling for mister-right in front of her, reacting only to her lust...This is all good for a writer’s arc if you choose to write a bad boy story. I would recommend borrowing from inspirational romances. The lesson should not be: it is okay to marry a bad person, unless you are a nihilist. If you are, why not write tragedies.
Taylor Swift, Blank Space, 2014http://r.search.yahoo.com/_ylt=A2KIo9efnx9YxE8AJSb7w8QF;_ylu=X3oDMTEwdWgxYXVoBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDdmlkBHZ0aWQDVklEQzEEZ3BvcwMy/RV=2/RE=1478496288/RO=11/RU=http%3a%2f%2fwww.vevo.com%2fwatch%2ftaylor-swift%2fBlank-Space%2fUSCJY1431509/RK=0/RS=veoEE18eO24FlCJqddjq6sF95RY-
Sunday, October 30, 2016
Why would ripping a song apart help our writing? Most songs don’t have time for much of an arc, if any. They do have time for pathos or an emotion we can identify with. Better songs have a clear meaning as veneer, with undercurrents to satisfy the most intellectual listener. A writer of prose can accomplish this through showing mixed with dialogue and a pinch of dissonance.
There are many great examples of songs that just get to the listeners at a gut level, and they hardly know why. They just know they love the song. One such song, poorly named, Sukiyaki, was a huge hit long ago. It’s lyrics and lyrical quality are matched by the vocalist’s efforts. “Let’s look up as we walk, so that the tears don’t spill.”
Justin Timberlake’s, Can’t Stop the Feeling is more complex but just as elemental. In the song, he sings that his dance partner knows what he’s going through because she is feeling it too. Yet he is not 100% certain she understands what is happening to them so he asks her to break it down. It need not be a dance or a trip to the supermarket. It's everyman anywhere. They’re in love, they know it and they can’t stop their feelings. Why would they want to? Well, herein lies the intrigue. Is it a case of forbidden love? Or is their love too soon for a commitment? Or is it just human nature? We the listener decide how to interpret it. One thing many know of this hit. They can’t stop loving this song. The same applies to our writing, right?
Layer your writing. If you think Justin doesn't realize he's going deep, it's possible. He may be an unconscious competent. That's creative talent, well practiced.
Justin Timberlake, Can't Stop the Feeling, 2016
Sunday, October 23, 2016
Before you run for the hills, as I know some of you are not reality TV fans, listen up. ABC Family, now called, Freeform is offering Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After? on Tuesday night at 8PM.
I cannot recommend this, so obviously scripted, show to anyone who wants to check out reality TV offerings, unless you’re a diehard The Bachelor or The Bachelorette fan. Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell are so obviously in love, are so gorgeous a couple and have sdo much to offer each other, that I’ll eat my hat if any of the worries the show’s producers try to throw our way work out to be remotely “real.” If you are struggling for a definition of love or how a young couple should act, these two are the real deal.
Aside from watching fake drama, and knowing it, I can’t not watch. I never watch happily ever after the after shows or read such books, not just because they are labeled Chick Flicks or women’s fiction. As an example, on Hallmark last night, the Good Witch premiered its latest in the series. My wife and I agreed, it dragged. The plot was all too familiar, the romantic arc for the witch revolved around one line of dialogue at the end of the show, “I thought of you, last night.”
Okay, this will be my first bad review. I’m sure the show was fun for those steeped in the Witch’s lore. Call me a sap, but I like plots that revolve around happily ever afters (and many men do).
Lauren and Ben, well, you are my guilty pleasure.
Lauren and Ben, well, you are my guilty pleasure.
Sunday, October 16, 2016
I’m not going to dig deeply into religious faith, but to say, for most of us, faith is stronger or weaker at any given moment and for some nonexistent.
When our heroine and hero have faith in each other’s love, it is a beautiful thing. If only one has this faith, then it is misplaced or delusional. Most of us have insecurities that prevent us from ever being absolutely sure we are loved, like we love back. Isn’t it healthy to harbor a bit of skepticism? The return for allowing yourself to fall head over heels in love in the knowledge that your hero/heroine feels the same, is a deep sense of achievement and commitment. We are not meant to be alone so why think that way? Some say complete faith in the other is a sign of fanaticism/zealotry. Some portray a lack of complete faith by showing signs of jealousy, fear and pushing away.
It’s sometimes the arc and how the writer uses it to show growth or it can simply be a character trait. It could be that the hero or heroine sees faith in the other’s love as a mystical connection, making them greater than 1+1=2. They’ll believe in soul mates for the same reason. But, you don’t need these crutches. Yes, human beings thrive on fear. It is what keeps us alive. But don’t we aspire to more than survival? Can’t we touch the eternal truths? God blessed you if you (your character) have a love like this. If you write this type of character, your book might not be labeled inspirational, but it is damn close.
Some forms of love last forever.