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, October 25, 2015

Sealed with a kiss

Are you overwhelmed by emotions, crazy about the opposite sex, plagued with needs, hormonally driven, in love desperately? Well maybe you’re a teenager, young or new adult.

For the rest of us: do you collect social security, babysit grandchildren or are now raising children? Have you forgotten or are your feelings diminished?

We forget and for many of us we do not either feel love or our love has matured. Less hormones equals less passion, right? Also, the culture has changed from when we were dating. So, avoid summary thought while writing our characters if it is just because we can't generate the entire thought process.

Do you need to be under thirty to write a good romance? Or will research carry you through? Recalling (partially) how you felt is not enough. Listening to kids speak isn’t enough either. I recommend allowing their song and culture to overwhelm your heart. Dedicate a little time each week to immersing yourself in the culture of the age group you are writing about. Being flexible is being real and therefore believable. Dig deep.

When you listen to an old favorite song of yours, do you think your granddaughter would appreciate it as much as the latest from Taylor Swift (who, IMO, is great)? Does that old song speak to your babies? Do you get the Big Bang Theory or the like on TV? Invest a little time. I promise you’ll stay younger (more with it) and produce a better romance. Hey, maybe, if you are single, you’ll fall head over heals.

Try Brian Hyland's 1962 hit, Sealed With a Kiss on your babies. Will they get it? Do people still mope if separated when there is all this social media? Skype? I think a kiss carries the same impact, even if it is only to seal a letter. Obviously,  it's emails etc. not letters. So do kids sign off with SWAK?

Kissing for any purpose needs practice.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Write what you feel not what you know

If you feel strongly about something and can express it in story, you have a great start.

If you can feel your characters vicariously, you can’t lose.

If you feel you are saying something that will uplift, inform, scare, inspire and your heart is in it you’re on your way to the great American novel.

I know many of us see writing as a business and/or are driven by what the publisher’s vision of what the readers’ preferences are. Fine. Do that. Feeding one’s family is important. But ask yourself will your novel stand the test of time. If that isn’t practical and you need to make a living consider engaging your heart, baring your soul, opening a vein and pour out that one story that you feel will contribute to the human race. and be known forever. Make it your To Kill a Mockingbird.

If you must hide this manuscript from your agent or publisher, do so. We want to know the real you. We want to feel something outrageously special when we read your masterpiece.

IMO, most midlist authors are listening to what their publishers know rather than that which burns within. If nothing burns within, that’s okay, you are a professional. I have read many an enjoyable novel full of all the right tropes, fatal flaws, plot twists etc. and have thanked the novelist/friend for it.

If you love to write about cowboys, or rom coms with cute meets, or vampires with toothaches and a fear of dentists, then that’s very okay. Because it is you and that’s all I ask for. Because you feel.

You might ask how can I write what I don't know. Aside from pointing out that that's what the publishers ask of you the real answer is we learn. We can learn almost anything.

Next week as a follow up I'll suggest you stay tuned into popular culture if you want to write about romance, because the times, they are a changin'.

Sometimes it's as simple as blocking out a little time for what you love. Raining on Sunday, 2003 sung by Keith Urban:

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Wired for Story

Last month, Lisa Cron lectured at the RWASD meeting on discoveries she presented in her book, Wired for Story. I bought the book and found her presentation and the actual book unique in its approach to the craft of writing.

I’m writing about one idea that was very hard for me, an ex-engineer, to wrap my head around.

“Cognitive secret: Emotion determines the meaning of everything…”

If I design a widget, I expect it to work because I had invested logic and know-how in building it. Ms. Cron, using well-researched materials, shows that one can’t or won’t do [design] anything if there is no emotion permeating whatever you are doing. Her research boldly states, you will do nothing or find yourself incapable of making a decision.

I’ll add a corollary to that by saying a guy is never devoid of emotional reasons when he tries to “hook-up” even for so-called casual sex. It’s for the writer to discover and present the guy’s hidden intentions, even if minimal.

I highly recommend her book, as it covers writing from head to toe and doesn’t ignore the heart for either male or female characters.

Can you think of a case of someone doing something that is only based on logic?
Have you written a heartless antagonist?

The movie, The Martian, 2015, is a great example of emotion trumping logic (and all us smart-ass engineers). 3 minutes.


Sunday, October 4, 2015

I'm sorry

I watched a retrospective about Saturday Night Live last night.

Lorne Michaels stated his methodology, which can be applied to romantic comedies or any light moment in your novel.
1. When constructing a skit, if it is about things unsaid by the object of your humor and you* say it, it is funny.
2. Humor is truth. Sometimes telling the obvious lie illuminates the truth.
*You = the character who says or thinks something funny.

Would anybody like to supply a humorous exchange or monologue from his or her novel?

If you don’t have a funny bone in your body or you have no clue what I’m talking about…well, then, I’m Sorry, (so sorry), by Brenda Lee 1960. She belts this number one hit out at the age of 15.

Okay, what's so funny about I'm Sorry? Or how does this song apply to the subject of this post? Or am I pulling your leg? Or is this haunting melody, something I just couldn't get out of my head when I heard it again recently?

Coincidently, I'm sorry my romantic comedy, Double Happiness, doesn't have a bigger audience. If you too lament your sales numbers join me in feeling forlorn.