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 30, 2015

Once in a blue moon

ABC has struggled for years with spin offs of their successful shows, The Bachelor and The Bachelorrette. Bachelor Pad mixed winning $250,000 with Survivor type tasks. The show blurred the theme of finding love (it was a joke) and lost viewership. Finally, with Bachelor In Paradise, ABC went back to one unifying idea and has produced a winner. Multiple guys and gals, usually from ABC’s previous bachelor and bachelorette shows simply have to form partnerships with their opposites to stay on the show and at least enjoy a beautiful vacation.

Something funny happens. The pairs are with each other all day and sometimes all night for weeks or months and they begin to care or drift apart. Last year, the first season, ended with one proposal. The same couple began this season with their wedding televised. Of course, a major problem with all the ABC shows is geographic undesirability which diminishes it’s chance at success (in the happily-ever-after department. People don’t like moving away from family and friends.

Here’s ABC’s promo for the show:



For those who can’t get enough when it comes to observing love and are a little adventurous, a surprisingly good show is Dating Naked. I turned it on for the laughs and found a guy who looks beyond skin deep. He kicked off the show a rare beauty who was a touch manipulative and chose instead a bald (her mother had cancer) weightlifter with a striking personality and honesty. Bravo, his inner compass (and the point of my male POV blog). Although he didn’t keep her long (insufficient chemistry), he is amazing in his assessments and caring for everybody he meets.

The song Blue Moon was sung at my daughter's wedding as the bride and groom dance. I'm also dedicating it to the dreamers at ABC. BTW, there ain't nothing wrong with dreamin' because in the case of my daughter, dreams came true.

Billie Holiday wails, 1952:

Monday, August 24, 2015

Wedding Day

Our youngest of two daughters married our wonderful new son.







The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face by Roberta Flack, 1972






https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9jmusgMgro


Del and I are so happy these two met and fell in love.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

A FATHER DAUGHTER DANCE



Don’t overwhelm friends and family with your writerly skills at a wedding when you’re asked to give a speech. My daughter is getting married this week and right before the dinner I and the father of the groom will be asked to speak.

As far as writing goes, I know not to use cliché, as in, “I’m not losing a daughter but gaining a son.” I change that to either, “I’ll treat you as if you are my own son,” or “know that I love you and I will never waiver.” It’s easy. Ben and Laura are a great match.

Next problem, it’s a civil ceremony. There will be no prayer, except through the philosophy of various readings, toasts and the words of the friend who is marrying them. My toast comes before the meal. I, being trained to the point of almost becoming a priest back when, think of strange things like the symbolism of a reception meal and comparing it to food that feeds the soul like manna or Eucharist. So, I’ll say something like, “I’ll keep this short because of our supper, but consider that this meal represents our communion with the newlyweds and our promise to love them.”

Next, is just me, with the me diminished, because the wedding is not about me.

When I was a freshman in college I had just broken up with my high school sweetheart and miserable. I shared with my mom that I worried about never getting married, that nobody would want me for the rest of her life. Mom counseled me about how I was great catch but more importantly started in on a Catholic lecture about vocation. “You son, may find a calling to become a priest or stay single or marry.” One is not better than the other, it depends on what path the Lord has set for you to walk.”

Interesting, right? It was the sixties; I marched for civil and equal rights so when it came time for Del and me to raise two daughters I remembered my mom’s words and applied my own twist. “Daughter, you are a complete human being, God has given you many talents. Follow the golden Rule. Use your gifts well and show me what you have done with them. You choose which vocation you feel is right for you and we will support you. This man, our new son, is so right for you. I know you have chosen the right path.”

The worst thing you can do at a wedding right before a meal is go on and on, so I’ll raise my glass, “To Ben and Laura.”

So what possible entertainment (via video) can I unleash on you this week? Someday I’ll find that classic scene form a movie, I’ve forgotten the name of, that shows brides in dresses for different times of the year, but for now—let’s lighten it up with counterpoint to the heavy I put on you above:

Oh Daddy by Adrian Belew, 3 min video 1989:

 
Okay, for those who insist on crying at weddings and who took the title of my post literally, here's a father daughter dance that should come with Kleenex:
 
 
 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

THE ART OF WRITING MALE CHARACTERS

After I'm done editing 2.5 years of posts, I'll release this blog as a Kindle non-fiction book on the craft of Writing. I could use your eyes on the draft preface below to see if it is impelling. I also will be able to navigate the material and put together an online course for RWASD, if anyone is interested.

PREFACE

How to use this book.

This is not a ‘how-to’ book on writing. You will get very little, please change “It was a dark and stormy night” to “No one he knew would care that the dreary and loud storm matched his misery.”

I list books I recommend here and finish with:

It’s closer to a book on advanced subtleties like:

BETWEEN THE LINES by Morrell

So what is it exactly and how can you use it?

It is a philosophical approach to writing male characters taking into full account their maleness in contrast or in comparison to female characters. What makes a man/character who he is? What gives him meaning? How real is he?

  • Is the hero or supporting guy written one-dimensionally like a comic book hero?
  • Is the character written two-dimensionally like an alpha hero with a flaw?
  • Is the character written three-dimensionally to show his heart?
  • Is the character written four-dimensionally to show his approach to life in specific ways that set him apart and make him memorable? The author goes there.
  • Or is he into the fifth dimension? That is, he’s a fan of the sixties and seventies band, The Fifth Dimension. The author doesn’t go there.
There are numerous texts covering character development in all genres. Although this book will seem slanted toward romance novels, it can be used to fully develop the male character in any genre. In a story, when a guy and gal have any kind of relationship, the reader will want reactions, actions and thoughts that feel real. Consider a four-dimensional approach. The female perspective is beyond the scope of this book but can be derived by comparison. The posts are often written in a romantic tone (see example at end of the preface.

This is a niche book for when you are stumped or your husband’s not around to say that feels right or not. Or you don’t trust your years of intuition, interaction and observation with that beast you live with or have met in dark alleys.

In a story devoid of the opposite sexes interacting in any way (thought or action) the writer will use non-gender specific traits to propel the story forward. That is, it would likely be possible after reading the story to change William’s name to Betty without ill effect. As a thought experiment, consider this opening line. “Call me Isabelle.” Picture the entire crew in the novel Moby Dick as female. Did you laugh and/or find it a fanciful journey to a planet where women could do what they want?

This book transitions from busting stereotypical conventional wisdom one point at a time to finding gems or unique ways to write a male character and finishes with classic errors and how to correct them before they ruin a novel.

There are three bonus short stories by the author, which are labeled in the table of contents along with all the topics.

POV = point of view.

Here’s an example of the typical length (short), content and style of the posts, now chapters in a book on writing:

Sunday, July 5, 2015


I insert the July 5tht post here.

For today, we had better shape up! (our books)
You're the one that I want - Grease - John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John 1978

 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Honey, I'm good

Honey, I’m good.

This is my 181st weekly post about the male point of view in fiction. I intend to collate, edit and publish up to this point and could use your help with a catchy title.

Here lies a cautionary tale marking the end of book one:

If you are writing in the hero’s point of view, consider the arc (change) that the hero goes through especially if the story is a romance. [Change is good in all genres because it creates tension and page turning.]
 
Mainstream science teaches us that male monogamy is myth. One man wants to populate the Earth and needs no help from anybody else, thank you very much. If you write your hero and he doesn’t confront this basic urge you may miss an important dramatic opportunity. Leaving the “real” out might create a comic book hero or someone not textured.
 
Males approach their basest needs in six different ways:

1.      Cheat. They’re married or coupled but don't want to resist other women.

2.      Swap. They talk their mate into spicing up their marriage or arrangement.

3.      Sublimate. They do their best to sit on urges by keeping themselves busy with harmless substitutes (bowling with the boys, video games, etc.). But someday the video console might crack and that cute girl at the office will want to play Mario with him.

4.      Control. Their strong personality allows them to apply mind over biology. Will they falter in a moment of weakness?

5.      Drift. They’re passive, meak. They go with the flow. One take-charge woman can drag him off to her lair.

6.      Believe. Here’s where many romance writers hang their hat (a bit too easily?). The hero believes (strongly) in soulmates. Or has a religious or world view that contends with conventional wisdom. Will this evolved man flip-flop? Please note that science is not unanimous on the subject of whether a man is wired to want more than one woman.

Is what we write merely fairy tale, escape? I personally feel that the hero has two struggles: the need for sex and the need for love. Which one is stronger? Which one fulfills or adds meaning and joy to his life and those around him?

My literary point is: you’ll enrich your story if you include a struggle (internal and/or external) using one or more of the six points above. For romance, it is clear. The reader demands a happily-ever-after. That doesn’t mean you should have your hero lay down for the reader. Well, maybe in her imagination.

Honey, I’m Good*, 2015, sung by Andy Grammer from his album, Magazines or Novels. In this cute song, the protagonist struggles with monogamy. He’s a 4 or 6 or both (*is a play on words):