Ask a male author about your male character traits or thoughts.

Amazon links to my stories: Autumn Breeze, A More Perfect Union, Double Happiness, The Wolves of Sherwood Forest, Neanderthals and the Garden of Eden can be found down the right side of the blog.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

The boy behind the cereal box


The boy behind the cereal box

Did you ever wonder why kids love to line up cereal boxes and hide behind them? They’ll sometimes play peekaboo and sometimes parents will encourage this by starting a peekaboo. Sometimes they’ll be reading the box or claiming they find the box utterly absorbing. Sometimes they’re hiding from their siblings, who they may have a love hate relationship with. They love their sib but at the same time they can’t stand them. They have a right to their own thoughts and privacy, right?

Kids grow up. How much of our behavior is dedicated to hiding behind a barrier? We choose to do one thing over another. We go to parties and sometimes wish it would end so that we can go back to normal. Or we’re shy or uncomfortable at parties and try our best to contribute.

What of the heroes or heroines in our stories? We’re all a mix of social and anti-social to put it simply. These ying-yang behaviors can be used to give your characters more depth. Another way of measuring the difference between protagonist and antagonist is in how far or close they are to putting up barriers.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Puerto Rico


Guest blogger: Robert Ricciardi
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico means port ruler. This can aptly describe a proud people (who didn't choose statehood).

What I am about to write might seem like politics, but it’s not.
Point 1: Two weeks ago, Mr. Richard wrote about Decòr. He suggested that many men start out slobs in a marriage. And then tongue in cheek how this could lead to divorce.

Point 2: Suppose you’re married and you have a budget of $2000 each month. You must pay for food, mortgage, and various other bills. If you are lucky, you’ll save some for your children’s college education. Your back yard fence needs major repair but that will have to wait. Do you repair the fence and buy no food? Do you repair the fence and not save for your children’s education? No, and besides it still wouldn’t be enough.
PRIORITIES. Right? Good.

Point 3: Then you’ll agree that one could make an analogy to the people of Puerto Rico, all of them U.S. citizens, our family. They need help and we have a limited budget. Why is it we have to fix the fence before we completely help Puerto Rico (our family)? It turns out we are rich and can spend some on the fence or wall, but our people’s destitution comes first. Some of you will say that the people of Puerto Rico brought it on themselves by not choosing Statehood. Hey, how many of you have teenagers in your family who have a different opinion? I'm not saying Puerto Ricans are teenagers. The family still stands. We have a moral duty to all our citizens.
Point 4: Most homes have no front wall. It you are the kind of person who won’t stand for dissent in your family, perhaps you should build a wall to keep your family from escaping.

Okay, maybe this is somewhat about politics. Will Mr. Richard save me?
Bob Richard: Men who are always right should live alone. Where’s the romance in that?

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Décor


Décor
On the average, boys becoming men choose disarray. Girls becoming women choose order.

Walk into any college dorm and be witness.

When men move into their first apartment, they decorate in what mom and dad gave them plus what they saw discarded on the street. Women need to color coordinate or it’s no thanks mom and dad.
When men move into their first condo or home, they might have a little money left at the end of a pay check to pick a recliner, card table and a huge TV.

When women move into a condo or home they build a nest.
Of course, our renaissance man has an eye for beauty.

Many men start thinking at this point, what can I do to attract a female? This is the stuff of comedy, because they think their good looks or great job will win the day. They don’t think about decorating.

Finally and somehow married a man retreats into an area he has learned is called a man cave. The wife retreats to her friends wondering what she was thinking when she married this slob. He forgets the toilet seat, leaves clothes on the floor, puts rotting food everywhere but the trash, etc. Basically, she becomes a mom without giving birth. She educates and the man who loves her listens and learns. Sometimes. Ever wonder why there’s a huge divorce rate besides infidelity?

All this doesn’t have to be in real life if the girl/woman chooses a metro-sexual or Renaissance man. In the movies and romance novels this stuff just makes us smile or laugh. It is also one more barrier to overcome before we reach a neat and tidy HEA (happily-ever-after).
The moral of the story for any author is that the descriptive details and the heroine’s reaction to them is priceless. But don’t force it. If the hero wants to be or is an architect or any other type that celebrates the beauty of all things, use it to your advantage once again in the descriptive assessment of the heroine.

Happy Holidays...

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Alpha revisited


The Alpha male revisited

I have promoted Beta males for romantic leads. A Beta male is someone who is sensitive and celebrates the needs of other people. Often described as a renaissance man. The publishers often ask for Alphas, particularly Harlequin. Why? Using the Alpha formula for story often writes itself. The stakes are raised scene by scene, the internal war to become a better man is intense, because he’s in an environment that challenges his beliefs. The beliefs can be considered strange to most normal human beings. The Alpha lives in an egocentric universe in which everything he thinks and does is correct and right. There is no moral right or wrong. It’s his way or the highway.

I have accepted a challenge from myself to write the ultimate Alpha, since my heroes are typically Betas. I’m enjoying it to no end. For me, it is so easy to write into every scene a shift or change in how the hero experiences the world. His heroine is everything he hates and visa-versa. This is extreme, a baptism of fire for me. But when I’m done, I’ll feel like I accomplished a great deal. I already feel like I’m saving two (imaginary) souls. This overboard feeling is warranted when a reader feels uplifted by the story, when a reader changes his or her life because of a piece of fiction.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Flirting


Flirting

From the male POV, flirting is the first step to having sex.

When a female flirts, it means she likes the male.

These are, of course, gross generalizations, but they’re useful when writing in any genre.

Since men are more visual on the average they are primarily attracted to a female who looks good. In a flirt, if the flirt is returned, he decides how to advance, given the words and body language he observes to guide him.

A woman flirts. If the man returns the flirt, she immediately receives validation of her attractiveness, which is often enough. She is also showing the male her attraction.

I’m sure nearly all of us recognize that when the opposite sex walks by there is a difference in the way the opposites look at each other in comparison to the way the same sex look at each other. For the opposites, there’s an acknowledgement, much weaker than a flirt that what they see is attractive or at least an acknowledgement of the way God made us.

Conflict in flirts comes from the difference in the way men and women think. It is often shown in the reactions to a cute meet by an expert writer. Flirts don’t end after a cute meet or any other initial meeting. Couples often flirt with their mate to encourage or show a need for sex. Here the male and female response is closer in purpose. Realize the a female flirting with her mate might also be rewarding him for his love.

Let me finish where I started by saying that these simple rules are meant to be broken, when it serves the story and reality.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Purpose


Purpose

What do they teach us to do as writers?

Make sure to address the Who, What, Where, Why, When and How of your story.

The Why is closely linked to Purpose. The story and its characters must have a purpose. Often the hero and heroine’s purpose shifts during the story, scene by scene. This shifting purpose is similar to the arc but isn’t. An arc is change. Purpose is direction or philosophy. Humans without purpose have a diminished life. If your character(s) start out this way they had better come around to it or you have no story. If their purpose is faulty when compared to societal norms, this is okay. It depends on the story the author wants to tell. In Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe the purpose was to show us that things fall apart.

In the movie Casablanca, the purpose for both Rick and Ilsa was to show that they didn’t amount to a hill of beans when compared to the higher purpose of defeating Nazism.

In romances with a traditional happy ending, the purpose is to show that the hero and heroine have each other’s love as a purpose for living. In a Christian romance we are taught that love is the purpose for living (love thy God and neighbor).

Monday, November 19, 2018

Tweaking tropes

Tweaking your tropes
In a recent Hallmark movie, the hero and heroine who have not met yet, are standing in line for coffee. A different two, run into each other spilling their coffees on each other. The hero feels compelled to strike up a conversation with the heroine about the meet-cute they just witnessed.
Tweaking tropes alert.
The actual meet-cute in the movie was the hero and heroine discussing the meet-cute they just witnessed. The writers must have had fun with this twist.
It is our solemn duty to find ways to tweak our tropes. I wondered when I watched this twist if anyone but a writer would spot it. Probably not. But it doesn’t matter to the reader/watcher. They’re just enjoying the book/movie. They might sense that the characters feel more real or that there’s a natural connection happening. In any case, the scene is at least funny.
Homework: consider a trope and then tweak it and report back to me. Or give me any trope and I’ll tweak it.