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, September 30, 2012

WHEN THE WHOLE SCENE IS CLICHÉ, September 30, 2012

Twist and shout, September 30, 2012

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.

Prelude: Pick Yourself up and Ginger being fired 

 
The twist (and their dance).

 

Monday, September 24, 2012

MALE CONQUESTS - PART II September 24, 2012


This 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.

John 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.

New York
November 10, 1958

Dear Thom:

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.
 
EAST OF EDEN Ferris Wheel (love) scene:
 
 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Men and conquests September 23, 2012

Somebody loves me,

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
 
 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

HELL WEEK FOR NAVY SEALS September 16, 2012

September 16, 2012
AS TIME GOES BY

HELL WEEK FOR NAVY SEALS

At our last RWASD meeting, a former Navy Seal spoke to us about the service.

He made 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."

People 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.

So, I 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.
 
AS TIME GOES BY
 
 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

CAN A GUY WRITE A LOVE SCENE? SEPTEMBER 2, 2012


How a guy writes a love scene.

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.