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, December 27, 2015

Some alphas are family men by training and/or inclination

Many think sports-stars are solitary alpha males. Well alphas, they may be. But solitary they are not. They learn everyday they play or practice to rely on others. You may see them make the big play but they work as part of the team and know it. They will often credit their teammates when being interviewed and they ain’t kidding.

They may start their career carousing with the boys and taking on as many groupies as their health will allow, but as they mature, they make excellent family men because the best play for the team. These heroes you want on your character team.

Have you cared to describe this type of arc when writing your sports hero including back-story? Excellent at this and a good example for all writers is of course, Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

Quarterback Philip Rivers on Faith and Family:

 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Sometimes you just have to let go

I’m often a perfectionist, when it comes to publishing product. But life is only so long or short. Rather than making a vow to release by such and such a date, I took a different course. I was inspired by a new RWA chapter mate. A guy like me, dared to join the hen party that is RWA San Diego. He has published many non-fiction books and wants to give romance novels a go. I’ll be the first to buy his stories. Our new mate, Gregory Godek, has written the nationwide best seller, 1001 Ways to be Romantic (A Handbook for Men — A Godsend for Women). He has written twelve books. BTW, he’s a great conversationalist and good guy.

This brings the conversation back to my stuff. I’m sitting on three books, basically, to add to my five. I need to stand up and give my creations a little air.

First, my try at non-fiction, is this blog over the years.

Inspired by Greg, I stopped editing after I got to the 101th post and decided the rest would someday comprise the next 101 tips on the how to write male characters (primarily for romance novels).

Fini.

That is, except for formatting and choosing a title.

Any help here is appreciated.

HELP!

101 Tips on Writing Male Characters???

101 Tips on Writing the Hero in Romance???

What I want to say, and it doesn’t have to be in the title, is that there are some misconceptions about how men think and act. There are also renaissance men, I call them, who can be alphas and betas who can be Navy Seals, etc. The tips are not all fascinating little gems commonly missed or common mistakes made by some romance writers, but include my take on writing using the typical “Harlequin” tropes and I do mix in general comments on writing (that include the heroine).

So, please, please, title advice.

Next up: I’ve been sitting on a bunch of short stories. Out they go by Christmas, in one collection, for two reasons.

1. I’m clearing the slate.

2. The lead off story is called Wings by Christmas (a take on the Jimmy Stewart classic, It’s a Wonderful Life). In short, I want my wings.

I’ve been sitting on and fiddling with my first romance novel for years. I’m tired of guessing whether it’s good enough. I’m going with my gut. Out it will go, sometime in January, no matter what. Angel’s Eyes.

So, at the end of January, I’ll be able to get back to writing Seven Boyfriends which has been stuck on page 89 for a long while. Then I’ll have something fresh to pitch to the wonderful agents and editors I have met on my RWA and life journey.

Does this all sound rational to you? Call it my New Year’s resolution (on both sides of the year’s end) if you like. But it really a different way of mixing promises and action.

What are you doing with your writing?

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Study finds no difference in male vs. female brains

According to a study that examined sex differences in the brain as a whole, there is no "male brain" and "female brain."

Hamilton Spectator by Allie Shah
Also reported by the Star Tribune (Minneapolis) DECEMBER 13, 2015

The brain, it seems, is not part of the battle of the sexes.

There is no such thing as a "male brain" and a "female brain," according to a study that examined sex differences in the brain.

Scientists at Tel Aviv University analyzed MRI scans of more than 1,400 brains.

They concluded that the brain does not reflect a clear dichotomy based on gender differences in the same way that — say — sex organs do.

Instead, human brains are unpredictable mash-ups of "masculine" and "feminine" traits. Researchers also found no distinction between men and women when it comes to grey matter.

"Brains with features that are consistently at one end of the 'maleness-femaleness' continuum are rare," the authors wrote this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
 
"Rather, most brains are comprised of unique 'mosaics' of features — some more common in females compared with males, some more common in males compared with females, and some common in both females and males."

Bob your blogger writing here; I was completely surprised and delighted by this study. It helps me continue the argument that a good writer (even of romance) is a good writer, no matter the sex of the author.

Since the article above is meant to challenge pre-conceptions, perhaps a trip back to that ground we thought we all stood on would be appropriate. If you remove brain function and topology  (that is, each brain whether male or female is unique!) from the argument below, you end up with a much stronger case for cultural, social, historical, generational influence and imprinting to explain why we do all the silly things we do to drive each other crazy.

Are There Differences between the Brains of Males and Females?

Renato M.E. Sabbatini, PhD

That men and women are different, everyone knows that.

But, aside from external anatomical and primary and secondary sexual differences, scientists know also that there are many other subtle differences in the way the brains from men and women process language, information, emotion, cognition, etc.

One of the most interesting differences appear in the way men and women estimate time, judge speed of things, carry out mental mathematical calculations, orient in space and visualize objects in three dimensions, etc. In all these tasks, women and men are strikingly different, as they are too in the way their brains process language. This may account, scientists say, for the fact that there are many more male mathematicians, airplane pilots, bush guides, mechanical engineers, architects and race car drivers than female ones.
 
On the other hand, women are better than men in human relations, recognizing emotional overtones in others and in language, emotional and artistic expressiveness, esthetic appreciation, verbal language and carrying out detailed and pre-planned tasks. For example, women generally can recall lists of words or paragraphs of text better than men (13).
 
The "father" of sociobiology, Edward O. Wilson, of Harvard University (10), said that human females tend to be higher than males in empathy, verbal skills, social skills and security-seeking, among other things, while men tend to be higher in independence, dominance, spatial and mathematical skills, rank-related aggression, and other characteristics.
 
When all these investigations began, scientists were skeptical about the role of genes and of biological differences, because cultural learning is very powerful and influential among humans. Are girls more prone to play with dolls and cooperate among themselves than boys, because they are taught to be so by parents, teachers and social peers, or is it the reverse order?

However, gender differences are already apparent from just a few months after birth, when social influence is still small. For example, Anne Moir and David Jessel, in their remarkable and controversial book "Brain Sex" (11), offer explanations for these very early differences in children:
 
"These discernible, measurable differences in behaviour have been imprinted long before external influences have had a chance to get to work. They reflect a basic difference in the newborn brain which we already know about -- the superior male efficiency in spatial ability, the greater female skill in speech."
 
But now, after many careful controlled studies where environment and social learning were ruled out, scientists learned that there may exist a great deal of neurophysiological and anatomical differences between the brains of males and females.
 
Bob again: In the doctor’s last sentence, he writes “may exist.” The problem is the doctor didn’t know. But now we do.
 
Go write, ladies and gentlemen.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Part-Time Romances

It’s a two-thought-for-one Sunday

1. Many romance novels start out with a cute meet and then devise ways for the hero and heroine to be thrown together in struggle. Often in real life, potential couples struggle to see each other once or twice a week and in the case of long-distance, much less.

As an author, don’t miss the chance to show how these want-to-be couples feel and change, rather than say something like he missed her so much and move on to the "scene." The characters’ arcs depend on keeping it real with a good dose of emotion—specifically yearning, worry and expectant joy can be recommended. Most of us have experienced this in our lives, so it shouldn’t be too hard to recall. Writing a part-time romance is difficult if only because the template or journey is wide open.

Example: Carrying on idle talk with mutual friends, he kept looking over his shoulder, they’d probably have figured out his crazy in-love heart by now and forgive his partial attention. She’d be here anytime now. Then she rounded the corner onto the too long hallway. His breath caught as he took in her puckish, Tinkerbelle jaunt. He broke out into a huge smile he could no more stop, than  quit breathing. She returned the emotion and put up her hand for a swat. Nonchalantly, “how you doing, Joey?” She challenged him with that “shut up and dance with me” smirk and flirt but he wanted more, much more.

It struck him, he wanted her for the rest of his life, but what was stopping her from saying I love you? he desperately wished today would be the day she'd catch up.

2. Writing part-time romances or the like needs subtlety, which brings me to a great movie I saw last night (which isn’t exactly part-time, hence the two-for-one post), Hallmark's, Just in Time for Christmas. The world-premiere holiday movie stars Eloise Mumford as Lindsay Rogers, Michael Stahl-David as Jason Stewart, William Shatner as Coachman, and Christopher Lloyd as Grandpa Bob.

The writer sneaks in an homage to It’s a wonderful Life starring Jimmy Stewart with a subtle look at what life would be like if the heroine didn’t choose love. This movie is much more than a part-time or even very little-time romance. It’s a mystical alternative-time romance. Through the use of allegory and homage, the writer manages to speak to what is most important in life and, in so doing, twists our hearts into pretzels. Eloise Mumford is my favorite Hallmark actress, very easy on the eyes and with an incredible range of emotion and acting skill.

See this movie.
Here's the Just in Time for Christmas trailer (1 minute):