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.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Big guys do cry, April 24, 2012

Big boys do cry. April 24, 2012

My critique group is led (when she’s in good health) by a published author, ex-English professor. Her comments work better than heat-seeking missiles. She has often said to us, “I want to see more emotion in this scene.” I often thought, I thought I did that. We call her admonition, McFeelings.

If you listened to one of her stories, you’d be taken on a whirlwind of thought by the heroine, which resembles the confused state of Blanch in a Streetcar Named Desire. You’d feel like your emotions were taking all the rides at Six-flags at once.

Finally, boiling over with frustration (an emotion), I looked up emotion in Webster’s College Dictionary:

1.       An effective state of consciousness in which joy, sorrow, fear, etc. is experienced, as distinguished from cognitive and volitional states of consciousness.

2.       It goes on to mention (almost as an afterthought) hate and love and how emotion is a strong agitation of feelings.

I guess Webster’s use of strong is where Webster and I part company. IMO, anything that is not thought out, born of logic, or instinctual is an emotion. Sometimes emotions serve survival, if not of the individual then of others.

Remember the iceberg rule. Guys think more and say less, which, we discovered is a useful tool in designing interior monologue. I.e., guys may cry less because they have to fight some unseen foe, be ready to protect the cave, and couldn’t be physically diminished for even a moment. Weakness = crying = a loss of concentration = death for him and his tribe.

There was always the guy who painted his favorite mastodon on the cave wall and cried over the beauty of his creation. I’m an artist. I usually cry (or almost) over your beautiful words and hummingbirds who land on my red shirt or the line, “here’s looking at you, kid.”

Emotions can be held in, but they’re still there.
I’d like to expand the dictionary’s etc. I’m sure there are more:
Desire (part instinct).
Hiding feelings to appear strong
Being aloof
Being a pain in the ass
And many more

I disagree with Webster about ‘strong’ and our critique group leader about how to write emotion. But, any critique she gives serves improves my writing.

From a guy’s POV, consider that if he’s not talking much, his emotions are bottled up and would take longer to dissipate than a heroine’s emotions when she talks or lets them out which could release the tension more quickly.

I'll be away next week. See you May 6-8.


  1. Great post Bob!!!

    It's very interesting how society plays a role for men's emotions too... It starts very early that boys get pressured into hiding all emotions except rage.

    Have a great trip!


  2. Oh yes rage,

    I went to catholic school. All of us (boys and girls) were taught to not only not show rage, but that it was a sin. We had to work on it and found our way with, "love the sinner, not the sin."

    I think anybody with a religious education or a good mom and dad will get the eqivalent education. I can't speak for anybody else. I've never experienced rage. (perhaps it's my low blood pressure)