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.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

The absurdity of writing what you know


It’s often suggested to write what we know. Taking that to its extremes one can only write about oneself! Everything else is a stretch. Descartes said I think therefore I am. Want to write a historical novel, you weren’t alive then so how could you know. Want to write a character of the opposite sex, sorry you have the wrong equipment and mindset. Want to write about a person of a different race or culture, sorry, where do you get off.

All humans have hearts. That’s all you need to know to start. Knowing something in depth comes from study, research, observation, getting involved as best you can in the culture, race, time, situation. The richness of fiction would be lost without you the writer leaping off that cliff and because it’s fiction, you have wings.

What irks me is when someone in my industry questions how a male writer can write female characters, or enjoy romance. I inwardly laugh at this because the obvious counter is how can you write about males. Give up. Go home. Another rube is you can’t possibly know how I feel. The answer is yes I can. Maybe not with your intensity, but having a heart, I know. I write what I know. The emotion and commitment to civil and equal rights courses through my heart and keeps me alive.

Finally, some men actually enjoy romance. Some estimates put it at 30%. But what do men know? They fall in love too, otherwise, ladies, it would be better to hug a tree because it doesn’t bark back.

This blog, when I get around to it, will turn into a book on the male point of view in romance writing hopefully soon. The first couple years of this blog (long ago) is published as an ebook https://www.amazon.com/Tips-Primarily-Writing-Male-Characters-ebook/dp/B01A2GNKVM/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=rw+richard&qid=1581808990&s=digital-text&sr=1-3

The next release will be definitive, complete, and only include tips on writing male characters. Guess what, you don’t need this book or the future one. You have a heart.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

ABC Bachelor controversy


Compare and contrast what follows to the problems RWA has suffered through recently:
Victoria Fuller had gotten herself into a lot of hot water. She’s currently on ABC’s The Bachelor. She’s mesmerizingly beautiful with big doe eyes, a natural tan from what she says is a diverse background. But she has a problem. She modeled for a company that had her wear a shirt with logos she was told promoted protecting Marlins and she believed it. She comes from a big fishing town. The problem is the company also puts out confederate flag shirts and white lives matter shirts and caps. She wore a cap with the initials WLM not M(marlins)LM (she thought it was white marlins).

When this was brought up to her she said it was appalling and not her. Apparently, this will come up on the show, and it would be wise if it did, because using appalling isn’t enough to know if there was any malicious intent. Was she duped? Peter Weber said he in no way supports this type of campaign (white lives matter). The woman I witnessed on The Bachelor is adorable, witty, considerate, of mixed race. However, even if she meant no harm and didn’t know what she was wearing, she’ll pay a price for the mistake.

I feel I know this gal, so I’ll blame the manipulators. Regarding who’s best for Peter or who* he’ll choose, I don’t have a clue at this point. You see, Peter will treat each woman equally and with love and fairness and then follow his heart. *The bachelorettes are ethnically diverse as is Peter who’s mom is Cuban, and by the way, a former Miss Illinois.

For my readers out there who say white lives matter, you are missing the point. The BLM movement is saying that they matter just as much as anybody else and they call attention to it, via their logo. If you don’t see this inequity in society, this prejudice against blacks, get off my blog.

I know I have varied from the blog’s main purpose of presenting ideas for the man’s point of view in romance writing. I’ve been writing this blog for many years and have tapped out—aside from an occasional flash of insight—the subject.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Baby Boomer Bachelors


“You know what The Bachelor doesn't have enough of? Spin-offs. But actually, this newest Bach-adjacent dating show the producers seem to have up their sleeves is actually pretty revolutionary, because it's finally focusing on something that's often been an issue on the ABC show: age. Producer Lindsay Liles posted a casting call on Instagram looking for singles 65 and older to apply for an "exciting new dating show," which means an entire show without rolling our eyes at yet another 22-year-old getting out of the limo.” Kathryn Lindsay reporting for REFINERY29

ABC’s move will settle in somewhere between nice try and great. Great if they invest the time (in episodes) and nice try if they make it a quickie. I give them credit for doing what I figured would be a winner a while ago. The baby boomer population represents a huge chunk of audience and consumers.

Everybody wants love, and no less the seniors. They’re looking for seniors who maintain a fit lifestyle, so there’s no getting away from attractiveness. Will the younger followers of the regular bachelor series go for this? If the very positive comments by Bachelor alum and other young people, they’ll love it. They’re already sending pictures of their grandparents to ABC.



 Do you have a lonely widow or widower in your family? How many times did you wish they would find somebody to enjoy love with? My case rests, the rest of me too. After all the Super Bowl is on.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Derivative ideas


Derivative ideas



It is impossible to write something original, but it is not impossible to write in an original manner. You must be yourself when writing. If, with every bit of training and practice you possess you pen words that critique partners disagree with, ask yourself why you wanted it this way.

I started chapter one of my current manuscript with a Hawaiian male inviting his sister in, “entrez s’il vous plait.”* Up went the hand. “You can’t say that, it’s out of place (at least, you need to lead us to why he's speaking French before you spring it on us).” I quietly disagreed (I said nothing except for thank you, which is always heartfelt). * In writing books this is called using "plot-hypers" which is subtle step down from foreshadowing.

I believe in unbridling my creativity and allowing it to take me on a journey. With no destination, no journey, you have no story. However, I’ll generally defer to my publisher’s opinions. If they say no French, then, there’d be no French, unless it was of critical importance to the story.

Making sure the characters are always smooth and inoffensive is not real or true and frankly, boring. In your first draft, don’t hold back. There may very well be a stone of such brilliance waiting to be cut and polished.

I have gathered some pet techniques.

1.       Celebrate unreliable characters and their quirky ways.

2.       Question every critique and while you are at it, question yourself.

Here’s a famous example of how accepted some critiques are. The POV character notices (in her thoughts) that her face is turning red. The critique, “Your viewpoint character can’t know her face turned red because she can’t see her face. Choose something like her face heated up (or she felt her warming cheeks).”

Ok, here’s the truth (call it heresy if you like), most characters over a lifetime and usually much shorter, recognize a heated face as red because they have seen it in others, have been told their face is red, or have looked in a mirror and have never seen any other color on anybody. Q.E.D. (quod erat demonstrandum -.the proof has been demonstrated). Being smart, they can jump to the easy conclusion that their face is red. Since, as far as I have seen, all editors and publishers will tell also you not to describe your POV character as describing her red face, agree with them. It’s a minor point to concede and it won’t hurt your story. All I am saying is write from your gut but use your brain. Ask yourself, are you in the business of writing stories for your fans or changing the way editors and critiquers think. Somewhere in between is best.
About last week, thanks for your many positive comments. To summarize, all romances whether mulitcultural, interracial, gay or uni-racial involve both protagonists saving each other in some manners, physically, spiritually, or mentally in a more or less equal way. Some romances of the distant past may have had the hero and heroine on seemingly unequal footing. Perhaps a closer look might change  our perception and maybe not. All I'm saying, a true happily ever after should have balance for the good of both the hero and heroine, and our readers!

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Thesis 1


Thesis 1 (of 98).

Doctor Martin Luther King: “I have a dream that one day little black boys and girls will be holding hands with little white boys and girls.”

Mission accomplished, but these days, not without much pain and suffering.

For many romance writers it goes: black men and women hold hands with white men and women. Yes, they do more than hold hands. I have an interracial marriage and can attest to that. There’s never a moment I don’t appreciate the diversity, her looks, her culture, the joy she brings me.

On to writing. Holding hands shows mutual support. It implies offering safety, to the point of saving each other’s lives. You hold hands, cross the street and you watch the cars and trucks coming for two, right? That is, I’ll protect you and you’ll protect me. Many cute meets go this far.

ANY WELL WRITTEN ROMANCE brings together two people who both have something to offer the other whether interracial or not. Two people join body, mind, and spirit for mutual benefit. I believe a well-written romance should maintain a balance of give and take, of offerings from both. This should be shown in the story. They should more or less equally have something to give that elevates both from their lesser selves. The lesser selves of the lonely or those without the special love offered by a person who might offer a hand.

So on the eve of Martin’s holiday may I suggest that you throw away any preconceptions or possibly prejudices that an interracial romance is different from any other, no matter how the cute meet takes place. To do otherwise makes you part of the problem rather than the solution.

In my novel, tentatively named Cinnamon & Sugar, they both save each other on multiple occasions. This balance gives the story charm and meaning. With two strong points of view, I bring to life the dream Martin spoke of.

Thesis 2 (of 98)

If you hear from a critic that it has been done before, the answer is simple. Everything has been done before. We enjoyed Romeo and Juliet, but haven’t we also enjoyed West Side Story? And why is that? The characters are compelling. We identify and empathize with them, our hearts go out to them for their struggle. Not because Tony and Marie are interracial, but because the author brought us to a better place. The author held our hands and took us to the promise land.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Oops


Does your hero or heroine ever blunder, make a silly or other type of mistake, become embarrassed? It happens in real life but fiction isn’t real, so some say if it doesn’t contribute to the story, it shouldn’t be there. To humanize your characters, allow them to make mistakes. This will enrich the story and this indirect contribution enhances the story.

In the world of writing, a flaw is different than a mistake. A flaw in characters is recommended as a writing technique. Whereas a mistake is caused by accidents by someone else or by a bad decision by your character and isn’t mentioned in any writing books I remember.* The character can sit on a bench that has just been painted. Oops. This can lighten the mood and depending on the color of the paint… Mistakes need verbs (action). Flaws do nicely with nouns (status).

*A special type of mistake is talked about in comedy or comic relief in any type of novel but not all mistakes are funny. A serious mistake is the hard to write, but also contributes to the richness of the story as the character works through it.

Often misunderstandings occur when an author is constructing a black moment. A black moment isn’t the mistake of which I write. The black moment typically occurs because of the belief system of a character(s), not their error making ability.

What is a mistake a hero is more likely to make than the heroine and visa versa?

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

2020 visions


See clearly the other. Respond rather than react. Understand them, you don’t have to accept their renditions of reality, but you might see yourself in them.

Writers need 2020 vision. Every novel needs vision, purpose, plot. The more clearly a writer understands the other, the better and more real the story.

I lost my daughter in 2019. I see now, exactly what she wanted of me. She had faith in me and expected me to have faith in myself. Guess so.

It’s easier to pursue a publisher with an angel guiding you. I have such, and soon her dream for me and the story I read to her will be published.

If sometimes you need a muse, may I suggest someone who loves you whether they're living or not.

Enjoy a productive new year, I’ll see you soon.