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, August 25, 2013

Holy Batmen, Robin! POW. August 25, 2013

The recent controversy about Ben Affleck becoming the next Batman instead of Christian Bale speaks to a number of truths about writing!

Although Ben is an accomplished actor and in my mind quite capable. But fans have become attached to Christian’s nuanced role as Batman and to Christian as well.
Is it surprising that character development and emotional attachment to a particular actor could be so strong in what some consider the most one-dimensional of genres (comic book heroes)?

Although fans have been writing negative tweets (71% of 100,000 in the first hour of Warner Brother’s announcement). This is not (much) a case of trolls, avenging angels, or the irrational crowd. Just weeks before, the new Dr. Who was announced to nearly universal approval.

Damn good writing, acting, and directing.

As writers, we are entrusted with nurturing a character thru his/her arcs, making them likable, memorable, flawed, relatable, etc. in a story that inspires, intrigues, uplifts etc.

I remember a comment by one famous author about how another famous author’s heroine had reluctance to use or phobias against guns, but in one scene used a gun to abandon. The critter said she stopped reading. It’s that serious. Love your characters as if they were alive, because they will become real to your readers if you’ve done your job.

Adam West as Batman in the 1960s TV series serves us fine caviar or something mushy. Do not develop your characters in this way unless you want to see the end of the world as we know it. Holy Prediction, Batman.

ABC produced a campy and popular rendition of Batman for TV 1966-1968.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Nowhere Man, August 22, 2013

Nowhere Man

At my critique group, one member asked why I’m wasting my time writing romance. He thinks I’m a ‘great’ writer, but what else is there to write that is any better?
Nothing really, if you think about it.
Isn’t romance about the incomparably most valuable of human feelings? Without love, the world would be a destitute place where life would garner little meaning and less joy.

In a mystery, somebody harms somebody else. In a romance some two are improved.

In a tragedy, someone dies or the ending is negative. In a romance someone lives happily ever after. I’ve always felt, Hemingway, in writing A Farewell To Arms killed off Catherine more to create “great writing” or satisfy his writing buddies than write a real story that the war demanded. In war many bad things happen, but sometimes people do live happily ever after, if not scarred. Why not make a counterpoint comparing war and love. Nop. War is a loss and so is love! Move on folks and make sure to buy my next story.

A romance typically incorporates other genres. Romances don’t thrive in a vacuum.

My critique buddy suggested without saying so that my writing should use all my skills. I thought about my training as a research scientist/engineer/chess master/logician! I realize I might have something to offer in writing a mystery/romance. So I write on with my new novel Seven, a murder mystery and a romance mystery!!

Maybe my critique buddy is just embarrassed by the love scenes. Well check out almost any adult book in any genre.

Love making is one of the greatest joys and experiences in life. Imagine a god who decides not to imbue us with urges to mate. Some planet that would be. And where would we be now?

Nowhere, man.

(I'm not referring to my fellow writer, his stories are great, even has some romance! And he's a great guy.

I think Nowhere Man by the Beatles aptly describes my feelings about writing romance as being somewhere.




Sunday, August 11, 2013

Falling in Love—Bachelorette Style (a dance)

Why the Bachelorette finale was an amazing (example of how men and women think and act while falling in love). August 11, 2013
Many who hadn’t watched any or all of the episodes and casually tuned in to watch the finale either for a train wreck or a marriage proposal accepted were left wondering how Desiree could switch away so easily from the perceived front runner, Brooks, to Chris.

But I watched every episode and saw things differently. Weeks before the finale, Desiree, in a talk with the host, Chris Harrison, said she was falling in love with two men (Brooks and Chris). These feeling grew over time. The skeptic might ask how you can be in love or falling for two. Desiree answered this easily by stating her dating philosophy for the show. She would be in the moment with each person, giving her date full attention. This enabled her to see the good (or bad) in each man because she was invested in the guy’s life (needs and desire). She stated early in the show, she hoped to find a guy who was a good communicator besides the chemistry. Chris and Brooks were on a par with her intellectually. Chris and she exchanged some very good poetry. He was also quick witted. He was the one who got out of the limo the first night, kneeled before her and asked permission to tie his shoe. Perfect. Brooks engaged her with deep conversation about life.

In the end, Brooks failed because he was not romantic enough for whatever reason, plus he “didn’t love her enough.” When he told her he was leaving, she threw a huge fit. Why—she was fully invested in him as the most likely winner. But, she soon realized, love which isn’t given back is an illusion. During the fit, she said she might not be able to love the remaining two men. Might. She obviously thought long and hard about it. During the marriage proposal she told Chris he was the greatest man she ever knew and that she was searching but here he is and was standing right in front of her all the while—her man.

Chris loves her and she him, even Brooks saw this. It was obvious to me that Desiree’s feelings for Brooks dissipated quickly.

For those who have trouble with someone loving two people, I might ask a philosophical question. Consider if man is naturally monogamous (in spite of some evidence to the contrary (like the divorce rate))….or old religions, etc. Maybe some are some aren’t!

Tonight’s clip is of the proposal, thanks to ABC. For us romance writers, I firmly believe this show and especially Desiree’s speech (and his) are a gold mine of ideas or insights into the magic of falling in love.

Since neither Chris or Desiree knew if the proposal would be accepted I joke about it being a dance of emotions. Pay attention to Chris's reactions when she stops him from kneeling down. My heart would have broken, but I'm a quick on the spot reassemble. Much can be learned as a writer by listening to their words and watching their body language.
Part 1 of 2

Part 2 of 2

I'd be extremely surprised if these two broke up. During 'the after the final rose show' Chris intimated how the pressures on them from disbelievers worried him for their future together.
Hang in there you two, you are meant for each other. 


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Write a better man (or the start of the masculist movement).

The start of Masculism or the Masculist movement. August 7, 2013

Feminism has been around for thousands of years, whether it be a matriarchal stone age tribe or Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, Joan Baez (and others) standing for freedom. I was there and joined in when feminists marched for equality. I helped remove and burn their bras (oh no, that was a dream, I think). I believe in equal rights. So . . .

When I see men portrayed in a stereotypical manner by some female romance writers (present company and my friends excluded) I try to suspend disbelief, but often end up laughing (and putting the book down). The heros are no where near real.

Stereotypes are based on observable reality, but they also represent a diminished self. Whether it’s a woman who always ignores logic in favor of emotion or a man who kills first and asks questions later. Unfortunately for men, many of their stereotypes are psychotic. And because of this ‘fatal flaw’ we as writers can easily slip into writing a psychotic or sociopathic character.

Psychotic or sociopathic characters to veer away from, IMO.

Men who shoot to kill without regard to lessor but still effective alternatives. Can you think of a recent example? Somebody made a series of ever increasing blunders.

Men who imprison a female or females. Can you think of a recent example? Do we give a pass to the Lord or Knight who does this? Remember the code of chivalry? Had they not been schooled? Had they not mothers (or fathers)? Can a reader draw an analogy to some present day psycho and burn the romance book that portrays this character.

Men who rip off people. Sorry, this is ‘too’ fatal a flaw for me. You can have your bad boys all you want but this is too much. Hurting people mentally, spiritually, or physically should be left for other genres and certainly not the hero.

A college educated man without humanity.

A sexist pig who suddenly gets religion when around the heroine. What’s actually happening here ladies: he wants to get in her pants and pretends to be what she wants.

Avoid stereotypes. If you want to mix in these flaws make sure your recipe includes an inner conflict by the hero and make it far more subtle. Ask that guy in your life. Ask me if you would like some feedback.

When the most complete feminist movement started in the sixties, they were much maligned. They were stereotyped as man hating, Godless, Nazis. It was horrible to be with my female friends and suffer the press’s reaction leveled at these wonderful loving women, my friends and lovers.

“The only way for a woman, as for a man, to find herself, to know herself as a person, is by creative work of her own.”
Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique

So, why not write a better man.

Betterman by Pearl Jam