This blog is for educational purposes (although I feel like I learn just as much from your comments). Dig into the male POV (point of view) for hero and supporting cast, for good guys, bad and inbetween. Find gems or alternate ways of writing male POV.
When I give an opinion, it will be based first on scientific research (I was a research scientist).
Typically, I present videos from YouTube to bolster the point.
Bob (RW Richard) aka THE ROMANTIC NOVELIST
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.
Disclaimer: Henry VIII's choice of murder to susposedly solve his problems was both misguided and immoral. I publish his words out of a love of words as they were written or spoken. As in all historical romances, a properly researched story both in tone and times goes a long way.
12/31/2012 IF EVER THERE WAS AN ALPHA MALE WITH A FATAL FLAW
A love letter from Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn (2nd
Mine own sweetheart, these shall be to advertise you of the
great loneliness that I find here since your departing, for I ensure you
methinketh the time longer since your departing now last than I was wont to do
a whole fortnight: I think your kindness and my fervents of love causeth it,
for otherwise I would not have thought it possible that for so little a while
it should have grieved me, but now that I am coming toward you methinketh my
pains been half released…. Wishing myself (specially an evening) in my
sweetheart’s arms, whose pretty dukkys I trust shortly to kiss. Written with
the hand of him that was, is, and shall be yours by his will.*
*I interpret this as a sign of the divine right of Kings in
which Henry, in love, also suggests that their relationship is by his will. He
signs Henry Rex to hammer the point (IMO). To say Henry was passionate is understatement,to say he became a homicidal maniac drunk on power is accurate.
Another unusual fact I discovered when researching for my
young Robin and Marian story:In 1510,
Henry and 11 nobles sneaked into Catherine of Aragon’s chamber disguised as Robin
Hood and his men. He also put on Robin Hood plays in the open air at Greenwich.
THE TWELVE DELAYS OF CHRISTMAS was read by it's author, Orin Parker, before our weekly critique group.
THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS by Orin Parker, 2012
On the first day of Christmas my true love said to me
My darling, go buy us a nice Christmas tree
On the second day of Christmas my true love said to me
Please pick up two sets of bulbs And dear, don't forget the tree
On the third day of Christmas, my true love said to me
I’ll need three strings of lights The two sets of bulbs . . . And, love, the tree
On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love instructed me
Bring me four plastic angels And the three strings of light The two sets of bulbs And, Husband, remember—buy the tree
On the fifth day of Christmas, she raised her voice at me
I’ll need five golden bows Four plastic angels Three strings of light Two sets of bulbs
And . . . go get the tree
On the sixth day of Christmas, my wife glared at me
I need six sprigs of holly Five golden bows Four plastic angels Three strings of lights Two sets of bulbs Maybe you don’t know where to find a tree?
On the seventh day of Christmas, wifey punched me
I’ll require seven garland wreaths Six sprigs of holly Five golden bows Four plastic angels Three strings of lights Two sets of bulbs And get off your butt and find a tree
On the eighth day of confusion, my true love turned off the tv
I want eight tinkling bells Seven garland wreaths You-who six sprigs of holly Five golden bows Four plastic angels Three strings of light Two sets of bulbs Go buy, cut down or steal a tree
On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love went berserk on me
Listen to me: get nine books of stamps Eight tinkling bells Seven garland wreaths Six sprigs of holly Five golden bows Four plastic seals Three strings of light Two sets of bulbs You can sleep in a thorn tree
On the tenth day of Christmas, my true-pain put me out and took my key
At the door she shouted: in ten minutes I want every thing on that list. See? Oh ah maybe she wanted ah ten minutes?? Nine pounds of holly? Eight plastic pumpkins Six no seven laser pointers Six golden mistletoes Five tulip bulbs Four Judy Garland ablums Three airmail stamps Two tinker bells And get the cat out of the tree??
On the eleventh day of Christmas, trully mad she screamed: this is not our cat, ho---ney
But I also brought home eleven crates containing Ten Judy Garlands, yey!? Nine outdoor lights Eight silver bowls Seven sidewinder missiles Six fresh baked bagels Five large light bulbs Four jack-o-lanterns Three frosted donuts Two pumpkin pies And an artificial palm tree
On the twelfth day of Christmas, she let me watch tv
But cursed me with twelve strange words
Then she took back the eleven crates Traveling ten extra miles Scouring nine crowded stores To find eight decorations With only seven hours left Before our six relatives arrived In their five Chevrolets Bringing four lousy fruitcakes Three noisy kids Arguing over two candy canes
But we ate partridge by the palm and tv
I’m glad she returned the sidewinders. Merry Christmas.
Slight abridging and edits by RW Richard
IT'S A WONDEFUL LIFE, 1946 . . . An Angel gets his wings . . .
When in doubt, while writing a scene, showcase the kind of
hero’s assets which attract the heroine. Be mindful of the story, characters’,
and scene arcs.
(taking charge//always improving)
Besides a handsome
face and good physique, this top ten list is useful in constructing a hero’s
character. It’s hard to show in the course of a novel all of these traits,
especially if you have a bad boy on your hands. But, this list represents what
women look for most. When they read they want their fantasy man to have these
It’s the same for
guys. I enjoy a heroine more if she has similar qualities.
The airport scene, Casablanca:
Now, strickly speaking, this isn't a romance or is it? Can love trump war? Michael Walsh wrote the sequel for Warner Brothers. As Time Goes By, published Aug. 1, 1999. I found this 'happy ending' and enjoyable read while in a cruise ship's library.
Your hero should have flaw(s), but shouldn’t he also have
Suppose your hero is embarrassed to be seen naked*, even
though he’s God’s gift to womankind. *Change to any quirk you like (fear of spiders,
heights, claustrophobic, etc.).
These idiosyncrasies are memorable, as in; it will stay with
Besides your hero being great at what he does, take Linus in
the movie Sabrina, shouldn’t he have another talent? Give him a passion for
something and let him do it or experience it really well. Or let the heroine introduce him to it.
This harkens back to the Renaissance man I have talked
about, but he could also have been a star football player or particularly sly
at Baccarat. I recall James Bond and his affectations for and in depth understanding of the finer things. He
dresses to the nines in the midst of battle and perhaps is a little in love
with his suit and cuffs.
Do0 wop romance songs are like contemporary romance novels.
Both have tightly constructed harmonies that the reader is used to. Ask any editor.
Doo wop is often mostly acapella. Today's novel still relies on our imagination presented in black and white.
Both have a consistant simplicity built around the ageless emotion: love.
I get romantic, nostalgic, and a smile I can't wipe off when I listen to Doo-Wop. Sure, every generation, every year, have their love songs. They're all good, no great. They recall first loves for many. They offer escape into a fantasy. You're in high school or college. That boy you always wanted to meet thrills you with some goofy remark. He likes you.
There are romantic arcs in many of the songs and some just capture the moment.
As a writer, capturing something that is both the same and different in romance is the trick to being remembered and "bought."
TEARS ON MY PILLOW by Little Anthony and the Imperials
Show them what you love, a quote by David McCullough
I was struggling on how to start a scene. So much had happened in the previous scene, I needed to let the reader know how things transitioned and progressed. I started three times and erased three times. Then, I remembered David McCullough's call to excellence.
As I wrote what I loved it not only took me into the scene late (a very good thing), throughout the scene all that I had wanted to tell was shown in dribs and drabs and flowed naturally.
I took the scene to my critique group and they loved it. So I came late and left early. My group always has something to suggest. This time the revisions were minor. I felt publishable.
The male's POV here lies in what I love. But only if you ask, will I show you the scene or how I it started.
Show. Don't tell.
Show Me from My fair Lady (don't speak of love—show me)
version 1 from the movie with Audrey Hepburn (song by Hepburn—in the movie her voice was dubbed for this song).
version 2 from the Broadway play with Julie Andrews
I've been MIA for two weeks because of the super storm and election. I miss you. When you are simpatico with an author, you love her. She can do no wrong. You're insulted if somebody dares give them a 1 star review. The reviewer is crazy. Or is he or she? Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips was released in 2008. today, it's Kindle version ranks ~10,000th and sells for $6.99. The novel has legs. (the paperback is less in price (from .01 to 2.49 to $7.99, i.e. less) but ranked ~150,000). Check out the current RWR magazine about ebook sales of all books as a percentage of the whole market.
First of all, I loved this story and naively thought everybody would. The sales speak for its popularity, but if you look at the reviews: 82-five star,37-four star,16-three star, 6-two star, 6-one star, you might be shocked. As soon as I noticed the 1 stars, I had to read them. I'll paraphrase to protect the guilty.
REVIEW: The girl's (quirky IMO) cute but no match for world famous, rich, and extremely handsome hero, yet in the last two chpaters he falls for her. Go figure.
Is there anything to be learned from this 'astute' observation?
1. SEP is doing just fine thank you. She doesn't need to change a thing.
2. We the unwashed could tweek our similar heroine to be either an unreliable narrator regarding what she her self image is and/or play up in the hero's mind the whys of his attraction to her.
Is this fantasy? Plenty of women want to be carressed by a romance, made to feel good about themselves. Loved. Pssst, guys do too.
It's not fantasy. It's atypical.
THE MALE POV: I used to be that 'extremely handsome' guy. Just ask any of the girls I paid highly to say that. I was not attracted (beyond primal noticing) to the prettiest girl in the room. I was most attracted to a good looking girl with a special personality which suited me. My blog readers know who/what I like.
I think reading favorite authors 1 star reviews insures your own writing's scotoma(s) will disappear' You'll increase the integrity of your own voice, and perhaps discover a nuance to punch up your writing. Like they said in Gypsy, "You gotta have a gimmick" (to be noticed).
So here's my barely applicable video (but entertaining (to me) and if you have the time. Time 5:27). For me, just gazing at Natalie Wood, well, that's all I need.
p.s. speaking about plot ideas and enriching your writing, a little culture can't hurt ya. PBS is putting on every Friday night from 9 to 11, episodes of Broadway, The American Musical. This is not only a fantastic history of Broadway, including its roots and rare footage, but for me it will be a special Christmas gift to the my best friend and best man at my wedding.
On Saturday, at the
RWASD meeting, I pitched to Emily O. of HQN. Since I'm a guy, Emily was unsure whether I
should send 3 chapters and a synopsis to HQN or Mira. Mira had a higher percentage
of guy authors. I felt, by being careful, she loved her HQN readers.
I made the
hilarious mistake of asking Chris Green whether I write like a guy* or a gal.
She stumbled (not literally) and said I wrote like a guy, but the emotional
content was well done (she had read my 1st chapter). My faulty question
is called the alternate of choice in sales. There is always at least a third
option, like “I write like a successful author.” *I have the good fortune of
being ambidextrous and artistic, which means I use both sides of my brain when
Emily asked for 3
chapters and a synopsis when the manuscript was ready. She’d decide on Mira or
HQN (or a pass – alternate of choice again). I pictured a mother duck taking her ducklings across a street.
Later Chris and I talked
about emotional content. I said I’d never compare to Linda Thomas-Sundstrom for
depth and length of thought. This is okay, because the degree of internal monologue is a
style thing and depends on the genre.
Linda writes of a recurring
character named Wanda who causes quite an in depth interior monologue because of her amorphous personality. I felt she stole the show in Linda's first book, Café Heaven.
Wanda is physically impossible to resist. She’s a bad demon with a good streak.
GIRL ON FIRE (by
BTW, Linda, I
pictured Wanda as Alicia in this video (even though her hair color and lipstick
is wrong, for me the effect is the same, no stunning).
Guys writing romance have a lot to learn
from their female counterparts. Our local chapter of Romance Writers of America
(San Diego) has approximately 120 members. Well over 1/3 of them are
traditionally published authors. All of these published authors are women.
I learn from interacting and being
inspired. Our authors are brilliant at writing, building their fan
base via social media, and as human beings. As a guy and former engineer, I should be able to build my
social imprint, but I seem not to have enough energy to rev it up properly and
make it take off. Of course, I could back into it by getting an agent or
editor. But there’s another problem.
I write with an individualistic style
and worry the normal reader won’t ‘get me.’ I think I do a great job of
developing all my characters, but I worry if my voice is too unique. I shouldn’t
have to second guess, but then again, I have no agent. I continue to learn and
hope to contribute to the romance genre.
This week’s video may have nothing
to do with anything, but it brought tears to my eyes when I sat through it. SO, I’ll
try to justify it. Elementary school teachers are generally women, who as a
whole ‘get’ (nurture) kids. They’re more empathetic on average. Therefore, they
can more easily inspire. They will get the best out of their students, just
like the fantastic women of our chapter inspire so many to step up and get
published. It is also voting season. This video, of a grade school class,
promotes voting (but not who to vote for) (3 minutes).
BTW, that's what our chapter is like, metaphorically.
Why is it some of the best love stories and/or romances other
than romance novels involve a great beauty and a male who is physically handicapped
in some way? We are taught to make sure the hero is flawed in other ways.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Esmeralda.
The Beauty and the Beast. The Phantom of the Opera. The mystery writer, Jeffery Deaver, writes of a quadriplegic
NYPD consultant, Lincoln Rhyme and the woman who loves him, detectiveAmelia Sachs.
I asked my wife who is an avid reader of romances if she
could remember any hero who had a physical handicap. She not only said no, she
said women who read romance want escape. The guy’s rich, handsome etc.
My gut tells me, if it is well written; a physical flaw
would elevate the drama and make the romance sweeter (to say nothing of making
it harder to write).
Help me here. Are
there heroes with physical flaws in romance novels? Does RWA have an opinion?
On the flip side, my heart went out to the blind heroine in
THE IVORY CANE by Janet Dailey. It inspired me to write a not yet published
novel about a blind heroine. I enjoyed the challenge of describing her world
and developing her character and the man who loved her. Let’s not forget many
fine movies, i.e. An Affair to Remember, A Patch of Blue. . . .
Is it just me and my male POV or do you yearn for a breakout
novel with a hero who is physically flawed? Would you dare write one?
A funny thought, I suppose all these vampires, werewolves
etc. are very much physically flawed. My wife doesn’t read them. Are there any,
non-paranormal physically flawed heroes in our romance novels? If not, why not?
A patch of Blue, 1965, Sydney Portier with Elizabeth Hartman playing a blind white teenager.
Please girls, tell me why we can't write with a physically handicapped hero. In so many romance novels, the secondary characters are handicapped. My wife is wrong, but I'm not going to tell her.
If nearly every variation of human relationships has been written,
then what is not a cliché? When writing a scene, the story, scene, and character
arcs follow a path that pays homage to Goals, Motivations, & Conflict. Readers
typically know the basic ending in genre fiction. Therefore, much of the joy is
in the path they take. If there are big or little surprises or twists in the
scenes the reader will buy the author’s next book, because they want to be
taken somewhere they haven’t been and feel something fresh. Even ending with a
hook can be broadened to include ending with charm.
In NOBODY’S BABY BUT MINE by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, she
ends chapter thirteen with a joke. “I married a damn cereal killer.” (She spent
four hours removing all the charms from his many boxes of Lucky Charms.)
In Swing Time (1936), Fred Astaire claims he needs dance
lessons from Ginger Rogers. He keeps falling down. [Song] Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again. Eventually
exasperated, she claims she can’t teach him. Her boss fires her, but Astaire
comes to her rescue. Guess what, it seems Fred can dance. A cute twist.
is a follow-up to the previous post about how to tell if a male is earnest in
his pursuit of you or just keeping score of his conquests.
Steinbeck responded to his eldest son Thom's 1958 letter, in which the teenage
boy confesses to have fallen desperately in love with a girl named Susan while
at boarding school. Steinbeck speaks to love and it is far more than a man’s
point of view.
November 10, 1958
We had your letter this morning. I
will answer it from my point of view and of course Elaine will from hers.
First -- if you are in love --
that's a good thing -- that's about the best thing that can happen to anyone.
Don't let anyone make it small or light to you.
Second -- There are several kinds of
love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for
self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an
outpouring of everything good in you -- of kindness and consideration and
respect -- not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which
is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can
make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength,
and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn't know you had.
You say this is not puppy love. If
you feel so deeply -- of course it isn't puppy love.
But I don't think you were asking me
what you feel. You know better than anyone. What you wanted me to help you with
is what to do about it -- and that I can tell you.
Glory in it for one thing and be
very glad and grateful for it.
The object of love is the best and
most beautiful. Try to live up to it.
If you love someone -- there is no
possible harm in saying so -- only you must remember that some people are very
shy and sometimes the saying must take that shyness into consideration.
Girls have a way of knowing or
feeling what you feel, but they usually like to hear it also.
It sometimes happens that what you
feel is not returned for one reason or another -- but that does not make your
feeling less valuable and good.
Lastly, I know your feeling because
I have it and I'm glad you have it.
At a recent RWA meeting, I was asked if guys just try to
chalk up conquests. I said I could only speak for myself. When I was on the
market, I was looking for a mate. Although I dated someone that turned out to
be drastically incompatible once, we both decided to keep the dating going for
the sake of the one thing we did well together!
I also told my inquisitive friend that there was a basic
instinct built into both men and women. Often at a subconscious level, we
access someone we meet for compatibility and mate-ability. “I’d do her[him].”
Beyond that, the reason for that assessment has a lot to do with child bearing.
Sure, in a society where it is easy to have fun (with birth control)
some are gaming. Probably more men than women do this because of the
differences in the sexes. At an elemental level, men might want to conquer and
women might want the ‘right’ mate disproportionately.
So how does a gal tell if the guy is serious or not? I
think, getting to know somebody by his or her beliefs and actions in life
helps. If a man practices the golden rule, he’s not likely to hurt the woman.
Do onto others, as you would have them do onto you.
The problem is how can you learn this without investing a
lot of time? There are no short cuts, but a conversation about life’s philosophy
without being obvious is a good way to spend part of a date. Try asking a
question about charity, or bring up something in the news that shows people
choosing to help or not help somebody. Sometimes it is a good start to ask them
if their business is cutthroats and see how they react.
Sure, you’re being manipulative, but the outcome is very
important, certainly much more important than that coffee or meal you are
having on your first date.
When I fall in Love, song by Natalie and Nat King Cole
last RWASD meeting, a former Navy Seal spoke to us about the service.
a stunning point. During hell week, many washed out. I think 150 started
training and 30 to 40 completed. Most associated with the program felt that not
wanting it bad enough was the major factor in dropping out. He went on to
compare it to writing, not that we put our lives on the line. Nothing can
compare to the bravery of the service personnel who protect our freedoms, but
the analogy is valid for those who have the will to succeed.
Persisting in writing for years in a quest for publication is more like mellow hell
years. They must continue to write without anybody telling them, “your story is
good enough to be published, I’d like to take a chance on you."
react to this long abiding rejection in various ways. Maybe they slow down. Maybe
their heart is no longer in it. Maybe they write out of habit, going through
the motions as time goes by.
don’t want to hear any excuses. You are more than good enough to be published.
Write every word, every paragraph, every scene, every chapter, every manuscript
with full respect for the talents God entrusted to you.
Maybe we don't go through hell but for many of us it is at least years in purgatory.
Maybe this will inspire you. Here's looking at you, kid.
If he’s talented, he’ll write it just like everybody else.
If he’s super talented (or working on it), he’ll build a cogent theory that
fits his style and purpose and . . .
At the Romance Writers of America national convention, held
this year (2012) in Anaheim, an agent asked me how a guy (me) writes romance. I
swept my hand around the room and said, “everybody here has to wear different
hats, they just have to make sure they fit properly.”
Writing romance is a little different from writing a love scene.
Right? Conventional wisdom would say yes. I sometimes find it funny when I read
love scenes where the prose seems to be written by a stunt substitute writer
while doing a backflip and is entirely different than the prose in the rest of
the novel. I still enjoy it, especially the gymnastics. I get what the author
is doing. I mean sometimes the mind thinks differently during lovemaking. Sometimes
poetic writing fits the character. A love scene is almost a timeout to write an
ode to love at its finest moment. But couldn’t the finest moment be an uncommon act of
kindness? That moment you realize you’ve fallen for her or she loves you.
My theory on writing love scenes is a work in progress, but
I currently believe the story, scene, and character arcs should be addressed in
a love scene. Time doesn’t really stop (although it may feel like it). Even if
very little changed, it’s still part of the story. The purpose of a romance is
the happily ever after. Lovemaking is just one of many acts of love between a
man and a woman.
Here's two famous scenes (total four minutes) from SOME LIKE IT HOT that doesn't forget the story, scene, or charcater arcs and it's just plain fun.
Okay folks, I started this blog to talk about the male point of view in romance novels. I try to find the exceptions with all due respect for the rules. I can't keep finding exceptions or even discuss something fresh, but I don't want to stop blogging. So this week, I'm going to plug a fellow author's book which I feel is so important to the direction romance novel writing as to be required reading by anybody anywhere anytime who wants to write. Really—don't write, just feep reading this over and over again.
A COUPLA SHADES OF TAUPE: A PARODY by Court Burback
Summary/Blurb in his/her/ or shemale's words:
Pagan Taupe is the wealthiest man in all of Arkansas. He’s got a home with a working refrigerator, a private rickshaw driver, and a respected empire of taxidermy/fro-yo chain stores. The only thing that’s missing is a whiny young codependent named Alexandra Aluminum. From the moment he sees her tripping over an angry raccoon, it’s clear that Alexandra dills his pickle. Pagan becomes obsessed with Alexandra at a level normally portrayed by Rob Lowe in Lifetime movies. But unlike Rob Lowe, Pagan doesn’t want to beat her with a tire iron and bury her beneath the town bridge—he wants to make her his live-in sex slave.
But if eager young Alexandra wants to feel the caress of Pagan’s ear hair against her cheek, she’s going to have to play by his rules. When Pagan reveals the special room he’s built to live out his sexual proclivities, Alexandra’s natural reaction is to cold cock him and call the police. But the clown chained to the wall assures Alexandra that Pagan is a stand-up guy, and if she gives him a chance he can introduce her to a world of unimaginable pleasure. Alexandra takes the leap and agrees to be Pagan’s unquestioning “submissive,” and the two embark on a sexual journey that would make Gloria Steinem put a loaded gun to her temple.
A COUPLA SHADES OF TAUPE is a romantic, tender tale of blossoming emotions and hardcore schtupping. A Pulitzer is inevitable.
I’m not feeling inspired this week to present something
about the male point of view in romance. I’d like to talk about writing in
general. I’m going to steal an idea I learned from my MBA program and apply it
to writing. It’s called span of control. The theory goes, in management, you
should have no more than six people working for you directly if you want
optimum results. I’ve seen this number in various texts as little as three and
as high as ten. This doesn’t mean 100s or 1000s can’t work for you, but that
you must establish layers of control. Each of your managers can also have six
people directly reporting to them.
In writing, perhaps we should not have more than six main or
memorable characters during a normal book, or six main ideas in the book. Perhaps
this can apply to chapters and scenes where six elements (including twists) are
introduced. Doing this should optimize the number of readers or optimize the
chance they ‘get’ your story or won’t put the book down. This probably applies to
back cover ideas as well. A cover would be too busy with more than six things
The human mind is most efficient when handling six issues, the
mind tends to break down (or spin wheels) when stretched with more than six problems,
and isn’t used to its potential when under six.
For reference: This whole idea started in a seat of the
pants sort of way during World War 1 when General Sir Ian Hamilton asserted, “the
average human brain finds its effective scope in handling three to six other
brains.” Since then much research has gone into proving the theory. Many modern
books on management and psychology assert a range of six to ten rather than
three to six.
So who is your average reader? Isn’t clarity the clarion
call of editors everywhere? Perhaps because they know that a mass market is achieved
by applying principles an average reader would enjoy and understand.
If you’re in a pitch session with an agent or editor and
they worry if you have too many elements, you could spring “span of control” on
them OR not mention more than six ideas supporting your manuscript.
What women think of a guy and his dog. August 12, 2012.
I stumbled across this little bit of lunacy by Mansome on Yahoo. I couldn't embed the video, so if you are interested click on the link and a go to link will appear slightly above it, then click on that. The 'reporter' interviews three ladies while the same guy prances out with different types of dogs to get their impressions of his suitability for romance based on the kind of dog he's with.
First of all, my dog Frankie is famous and on the cover of my first novel. So what kind of a guy am I? Hint, he's half wolf:
Here's Mansome's take on dogs and men, and the women who love them.
For those who write YA Romance, there is much to inspire from pop
CALL ME MAYBE: The song and the title captures the indelicate imbalance
of ego, tease, want, confusion, mixed signals, fantasy, lust, love, and
dislike. It has always been a big part of young pop songs. Just to name some, Wake Up Little Susie, Like
A Virgin, Put Your Records On, [what's your favorites?], to Rolling In The
So call me, maybe? Well, her emotions are on display in the lyrics, but the
video has a surprise for romance writers and a twist at the end. The girl
pictures herself on the cover of a romance novel with her shirtless next door
neighbor and the ending, we'll, see for yourself.
Guy's POV: When I was a teenager mixed signals usually turned me off. I was
logical (me and Spock). I didn't 'get' mixed signals. I didn't always give up, but it slowed
me down. By the time I got through college, I recognized this as charm,
passion, and love of life.
CALL ME MAYBE by Carly Rae Jepsen
I've often thought vidoes could be embedded into ebooks to add another sense (after buying the right to use), but don't know how expensive this would be.
I sat at a table with Golden Heart nominees at RWA 2012. One lady, not knowing I was there, walked up to the table, propped her leg on the adjoining chair to show off a new temporary tat of a phoenix on her calf. In a jovial mood and trying to break the ice I told her how much I liked her tat and asked everybody there to show me their legs. (Can you get in worse trouble?)
Mayhem ensued, well maybe not that bad. Somebody said men think of sex every six seconds, I retorted "that's not true . . . it's all the time." What I said is true. Men and women have an instinct of attraction that can not be denied, no matter if they're married or found their soulmate. Society and inner rules teach us to ignore this basic attraction to the point you might not know it's there. What flashed through my mind as best as I can reconstruct it, was, I looked at her shapely leg, then quickly swept my eyes up her body to her face and decided instantly she was a match. A match for what, I have no idea (I've forgotten), since I'm taken. That's the way God made us.
I was also thinking at the same time in a more deliberate less instinctual way how great these women are, how joyous, supportive, and anxious (to find out who won) they were. I admired this group. Everything I want to do in writing was represented in their struggles.
Below is the Snopes link debunking "men think of sex every six seconds."
I can’t always be pithy. But I can get down and dirty. I
hear a lot of talk about six-pack abs with my RWA friends and see it in a huge
number of romance novels. I never gave it much thought until I watched the U.S.
Olympic trials in swimming this summer through the eyes of a male romance writer
trying to make it in a predominantly female business. I used to be a champion
butterflyer, so I had focused on stroke, dive, and turn mechanics rather
than the way muscles looked unless they were the sleek bodies of
the women competitors.
But the guys, Lochte, Phelps, etc. have smooth or nearly smooth, flat abdomens.
Most swimmers do as well. Lumpy doesn’t work well with the total body stretching
to produce speed (it’s not just arms, hands, feet, and legs that make a
My main point here is that far too many heroes are described
as having the ‘ideal’ six-pack abs which borders or stereotyping and cliché (although
not one female reader will mind). This, in a roundabout way, does get me back
to guys’ POV. We swimmers want to be recognized with our shirts off. The Arnold
Swartzeneggers of the world could be anchors on our teams, because they’d sink
to the bottom. Some guys, do read romances, and sometimes a fresh perspective
is appreciated by female readers.
“No muscle bound man, Could take my hand, From my guy.” Mary
Some women like less muscle, some more, some lumpy, some not.
Mary Wells sings about qualities a lot of women want.
Maybe some women prefer swimmers, besides we can hold
A friend of mine told me I’d have to be gay to be any good
at writing romance.
“You’d have to be gay to watch guys in tight clothing
tackling each other for three or four hours straight, very straight [you’d be],”
So there we were arguing during a moving moment of Project
Runway. You know, I would have liked to hear what Austin Scarlet had to say
about Mondo Guerra.
In previous posts, I talked about renaissance men, artists,
and men who have harnessed both sides of their brain, imagine that.
Hemmingway wrote ‘write what you know’ and if female writers
took his dictum too literally they’d never write male POV.
We ‘know’ through our common experiences and a good dose of
empathy. We become nearly telepathic in understanding the opposite sex and we
make up fantastic creatures that people can identify with.
Yes, we all make mistakes with the opposite sex, but that
too finds its way into our writing.
I thought I had a story to tell when I wrote my first novel
about people who lived 100,000 years ago and their wolf friends. I wasn’t
there, but I nailed it with a ton of the latest scientific research and common
sense. So we write what we know or are about to know.
When I started with RWA San Diego I entered the Spring Into
Romance contest and placed in the middle of a bunch of women (I assume). This year
I tied for fifth. So I write what I know by association with my loving chapter
mates, all the great writers at the chapter, the courses, and talks offered. I
think finishing fifth demonstrates that I can write romance.
Okay, I wasn’t really watching Project Runway with a male
friend. Most guys have a hard time understanding art as it is applied and
showcased in it’s many forms (I love that show). The most beautiful form for me being the human
female followed by my dogs of course.
In the June 2012 addition of RWR (which also stands for
Robert W. Richard) Nancy Gideon wrote an excellent article on POV. At one point
she writes, “Men’s dialogue and thoughts are sparse, women’s descriptive and
Well I don’t know what to say or think.
I get where she’s coming from. Editors expect delivered to
them this tradition. I decided to ask Einstein if he didn’t speak much or
think. He wasn’t available. In a previous blog of mine I postulated (this is a rebellious
blog site FYI) that when a man isn’t talking (much) he’s thinking. To be fair
we all think while we talk. So I’ll grant you that women speak more. It’s a well-studied
and statistical fact. In my experience, men do a whole lot of thinking. I’d hazard
to guess men think as much as women (dare they). Ask me, I might not say much,
but I am surely thinking about something, perhaps that Hockey final.
Don’t go changing your manuscripts. Romance is read
primarily by women and your editor is the boss. On the other hand, wouldn’t
your readers like to get (on) in the head of some hunk? Someday however stand
up for your lettered Renaissance man.
If you’d like to see men translating their interior monologue
into speech you should catch last night’s episode of The Bachelorette. It’s a
classic for this purpose and if you know Emily Maynard and her six-year-old
daughter, well, carry a hanky. For those romance authors who don’t like The Bachelorette
or Bachelor I humbly recommend it as a treasure trove of dialogue, and interior
Finishing with a funny: Jennifer Aniston loves the Bachelor/ette
but starred in a spoof of it called Burning Love.
Jennifer Aniston Makes Hilarious Appearance In ‘The Bachelor’ Spoof
I wonder what constitutes a fatal flaw. We’re
writing. We’re told to introduce a fatal flaw. Well, don’t take that too
literally unless you’re writing tragedy. Or some fatalistic or nihilistic fare.
No room for a romance with a happily ever after.
A man not loved and nurtured by his mother is
nearly ruined IMO. If you have a situation like that, you’ll walk a mind field
with at least two deep arcs. One arc over his mom and the other over being able
to love someone in a mature way.
It’s a great excuse to read case histories and
studies on this subject. When done, try a man without a father figure or a
father who didn’t love or nurture. The same goes for women.
It’s a rare child who can see he or she isn’t
loved and decides he or she is of value and will grow up normally and be able
to love. Because without examples, how will they be able to figure it out?
Maybe Sponge Bob has something to say. No really, kids could learn from some TV
character or later from some book or some great teacher how love works. Somewhere
along the line, they’ll need to experience it.
I created a thirteen-year-old girl in one of my
stories who has lost a father who had loved her. Then she lost her mother to
drink (over the loss of a husband). Then her mother dies. Will she be able to cope?
Yes, she remembers better times. Although she starts the story swearing off
love, she’ll come around.
Men, nurtured and loved by their moms, make better
heroes or at least ones who are a little easier to write. There are plenty of
other demons lurking to give your hero ‘fatal flaws.’ Try to save mom.
I read a recent post by Jannine Petska about a guy (engineer) in a grocery
store line who thought all fiction was a waste of time and all romance fiction
doubly so. He promoted non-fiction as the only material worth reading or
This comes under the title: things I'd like to say but usually just hold my
Romance writer says to emotionally challenged male:
"Without romance there'd be no human race." Or.
"I take it you hate women?!"
I once was an engineeer, but a good one. I knew that without a systems
approach your little contribution would be doomed to fail or be worse than
As far as systems go, the human being is the most complicated (I like to say
infinitely more complicated than (fill in the blank)) and fascinating living
organism in the known universe. That we can see eternity or perfection from our
back window is an unending source of Wow.
The wow in my life has always been the human female. I can't think of
anything more fasciniting than the internal monologue and external dialogue of
a great heroine and to be fair and balanced, hero. If done right, the story has
a transcendent timeless quality difficult to find in any other fiction and
certainly in some dry text. For instance, if I mention Robin and Marian your
heart and core being is involved, your understanding of a love so great, it
will always represent the best between a man and a woman. If I mention F=MA
your curiosity may or may not be engaged. You might want to solve some problem
like how fast would a woman have to throw a punch and with what force to knock
out a pest who hates romances.
BTW: "Who needs to buy non-fiction these days. You can find it all on
the internet. What, you only paid $109.95?"