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, February 26, 2012

TEAR DROPS 2/26/2012

Why do I watch The Bachelor? A guy watching The Bachelor? What? Hey, somebody has to hand out the roses.
  1. It's the only place on TV to get real (and sometimes stressful) romantic dialogue.
  2. I'm a chess master and love the strategy and tactics of romance in a complicated setting. In real life, people often date more than one person until they make up their minds.
  3. I love happy endings, am very romantic, and love a woman's heart (and all the other parts as well). Although this show doesn't have a great track record, it does no worse than the general populace, which right now is turning away from marriage in great numbers.
  4. I like to observe men and women with nothing else to do all day and all night but discuss romance. Do you think that might help someone writing romance? It does me.
But that's not the main reason I called this meeting. (It's two for one day). Kacie cries her heart out, a little over five minutes into the 10 minute Youtube clip below. You can move the little ball forward to skip to it, or read her monologue below.

Kacie B., a 24-year-old administrative assistant from Clarksville, TN, was eliminated during the eighth episode's Rose Ceremony. She said,
   Why does this have to hurt so bad? I thought I knew what he was looking for, but I guess I was completely wrong. I had no clue this was coming and I'm so upset. Why?! It's not me. I thought it was me. I was stupid. Why am I not good enough? . . . Like I don't get it! This is why I don't love. This is why! . . . I loved him . . . and I don't know what to do now. How did this happen?! What the f-ck happened?! What the f-ck happened?!

THE REAL REASON I'M WRITING TO YOU TODAY:
Some guys are uncomfortable around tears. I'd like to share my reaction and a reason for placing tear empathy in the male POV toolbox.

My heart went out to her. I felt she unconditionally loved Ben, she felt wronged, I saw her mind in action as she attempted to cope with and understand a huge problem, I felt she was communicating with emotion. I heard her in all the beauty of the way God made women. Because of all this, I saw her way forward and if I were there I would know what to do and say to help if she wanted to share.

She'll soon repair her heart, realize Ben wasn't the ideal fit and move on.
In the meantime, some of you (and for a while me) may conclude that Ben is missing a card or two in his deck. But he didn't have the insight into Courtney's character (the other woman) that we did. I predict, he by now is completely over Courtney and moving on, once he was given enough information about her lack of character or her willingness to belittle others on TV.


For those who believe this show is scripted in whole or in part, think about the odds that no one has sold and/or published their story of being forced to speak lines in all these years.

To recap:
The Bachelor is a good place to go for dialogue inspiration.
Crying can bring understanding between a man and a woman. If ever there were a treasure house for, and reader bonding to, internal male POV, this is it.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

UPSIDE DOWN POV 2/19/2012

Upside down POV technics 2/19/2012

We know the average man talks less than the average woman (7::20). So what you see in a novel could reflect this ratio unless your hero’s background supports verbosity or your dialogue needs a closer balance. In many romances the guy’s interior POV is also short. He speaks less and he thinks less. Well, where did all that time go? Does the male brain go into a vegetative state? Some will say a guy only uses half his brain but thinks logically. Therefore he thinks less but takes less time to think. So is the other half of the brain in a vegetative state? Most men aren’t trained in logic and even if they were their brains don’t necessarily work that way, because we all juggle many problems at once. But this method in a novel of presenting thoughts and summary thoughts is rare. This is sometimes referred to as stream of consciousness.

Let’s say the hero reaches a conclusion, but with all that extra time of not talking and supposedly not thinking, what actually happens? He rehashes, explores other possibilities, weighs alternatives, and may reach new decisions. Since romance writing leans to women as the primary audience it is traditional that the heroine’s POV is given more time, but is it realistic?

Has any of you written a character going to sleep after making a decision and then after waking changed their mind. They slept on it unintentionally. This rare technic can enrich a story via nuance, and pulling the reader in (because they can identify with the character—we've all done it).

Just one more tweak. If a woman is talking more than a man, then she would have less time to think (other than reflecting on the conversation). So, logically, doesn’t that mean her interior POV should be less? Good luck with that one. All I’m trying to do is provoke thought to enrich a scene by casting light on interesting alternatives in POV.

I once wrote a scene in which the heroine was asleep in the hero’s arms. He was, at that point in the stroy, where he needed to decide how he really felt about her and what he was going to do about it. It was a life changing decision. He agonized for five double spaced pages. My critique group made various comments along the lines of: shorten it, guys don’t think that way. I beg your pardon. I think that way and the last time I checked (hold on) yep I’m a guy. Oh, and by the way, it’s a romance. And I only did it once.

Some men use their right and left brains in different ways than commonly thought, like artists or creative types, but that’s a subject for another post.




Sunday, February 12, 2012

Valentine's Day 2/14/2012

Happy Valentine's day: In a modern world full of temptation many men and women have secret loves. President Jimmy Carter had admitted to 'lust in his heart.' I'll just assume without taking names that each of you have secret loves, and most of these remain unrequieted and secret. Although, many guys will assume you're in love with them, but that's another issue. Oh, you may call it a crush. It could even be just a normal attraction caused by being human. It may be 'that' cover guy on the latest romance.

So for Valentine's day, I'd like you to picture a hero or heroine who for one reason or another keeps his or her secret love hidden until the third act.

I confess. I love Doris Day.


Here she is as Calamity Jane singing Secret Love.

As a side note: after the release of this song, it became a huge hit in the underground gay community of Manhattan, NY (and no, I wasn't there and am not gay). The song struck a chord with all communities, some not knowing why. So look within yourself. Do you have a secret love? Well, it might not be best to tell me on this blog, because your 'secret would be no secret anymore.' But you could email me privately and confess. I'll give you absolution and a promise not to tell a soul.

Love,
Bob

I've got a valentine's gift for each of you. Until midnight 2/14/2012 my first novel, Neanderthals and the Garden of Eden, is free on Kindle.

Homework: Well this is about male POV so . . . Who's better able to keep a secret, a man or a woman?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Mr. Right (in front of you) 2/5/2012

SORRY, today I must lecture:

Before I start, I want to clarify from last week’s comments:

I may be talking about third act heroes, not necessarily the first act misanthrope alpha hero who throws the heroine down into a slimy dungeon.

Some of you are considering giving up on men, or so I sense from your words. Writing romance is not all fantasy. Life is not all loss. If you give up on yourself, men can read it all over your face. If you are cynical they can feel it. Men and women have a sense for the inner struggle in people. Yes, it’s ‘a learned over a lifetime’ skill, but some young people have this sense already developed.

THE HUMAN RACE IS BUILT TO FLOURISH.

When a man looks at a woman, he has many ideas of what he likes physically.* These ideas are both instinctual and learned. Instinctual physical attractiveness for both men and women is based on the golden ratio. God’s little building block if you like.

But men and women rapidly learn they can’t have what they want all the time because of competition and their own desirability and they also learn how valuable a smile can be, empathy, a laugh, someone who gets them. Many are starved for affection by that someone special but put up walls.

There’s a great scene in the movie A Beautiful Mind in which the guys enter a bar. They all want the blonde (I don't see it). But if they all make a play for the blonde, the rest of the women will be hurt, and the blonde will see this hurt. She'll leave with her girlfriends and no one will get a date. Of course the answer and the Nobel Prize went for collaboration (and a complex fromula used by business, but applicable to all sorts of matters (like choosing a partner)). What I mean, we all learn to weigh such things, as competition, loyalty, group dynamics, etc. in making a choice.

A famous experiment involved people rating their physical desirability and then choosing someone with a number from 1 to 10, all pinned on them in a large group of women and men. Of course, this is a bit silly, because the human animal has so many hidden assets. It takes a precocious young person to identify these assets. Wonder why the divorce rate is so high? I said this before, how important education is. It should at least diminish the amount of mistakes. Some churches have many months long waiting period filled with tough-love seminars and retreats for their engaged couples.

But, you say that’s not the purpose in investigating the male POV. Partially true, I sense your frustration with ‘heroes,’ both real and imagined. Well, how about a character that believes in digging deeply into a relationship via retreats and such? I did this in one of my stories. It lent sparkle to the novel.

*When I was a precocious 14 year old, I decided ankles were a secret ingredient in choosing my eventual mate. I chuckled to myself and wouldn’t share my discovery with my guy friends, because I wanted an edge. I knew about the Victorian fixation, but I saw something more. I saw French curves. Go ahead and laugh. It wasn’t the only curve I noticed. I also differentiated between short term friendships, good times, and a mate. I started the long search for a life partner. My eyes were always open, because I wanted that perfect (to me) mate to have children and a life with. Believe me when I tell you, it ain’t just me, who at least keeps in the back of his mind a match. These alpha heroes may have turned cynical when they threw the heroines into the dungeon.