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, February 28, 2016

Alpha Males and Space

By space, I mean the world the alpha lives in and uses to his advantage. If you’re writing alpha males, you need show this, especially at the beginning of their arc.

As an example, let’s reflect on something most of us have experienced. We get married and then must learn to live with each other’s (silly) habits. Naturally, an alpha male, who knows all, sees his mate’s actions as inferior to his own. He then feels compelled to teach her how to do it right, which can lead to arguments. Most young couples have small kitchens and get in each other’s way. The woman recognizes this but also sees the advantage of intimacy. The alpha will be aggravated until he becomes civilized and begins to see the world through his lover’s/wife’s eyes. Hopefully, all this can be worked out during courtship.

The Lord of the manor yearns to be king.

Does your hero order for both at a restaurant, not consult on where to go on the next date, talk about himself and his aspirations or does he listen, enjoy and support her?

What about alphas who have a strong religious or moral code? The heroine must conform to their way of thinking. Somehow they see last the humanity of the other, in this case, the object of their desire.

These aren’t generally neatniks but more likely control enthusiasts. They don’t care about the things around them as long as the things help them achieve dominance. That is, everything is there for them.

Food for thought: In many Romantic comedies on TV or in the movies the heroine rejects this type of male in favor of someone more loving. In many romance novels, the heroine tolerates and decides to change the Alpha or decides he will change after falling desperately for her. There is no
right and wrong way here. Don’t be lured by the everybody-does-it-that-way argument.

For no particular reason other than education on alphas and that the following song makes my wife laugh:
Justin Bieber, 2016, Sorry


Sunday, February 21, 2016

A Tale of Two Loves

Handsome Ben at 26 wants to find the love his parents have. This 6’4” Renaissance man was a star quarterback, loves basketball, and yet is an avid traveler and a champion of varied cultures. He has worked at a zoo in Peru, traveled through the jungles of Bolivia and even hiked the spiritual trails of famed Machu Picchu.

Ben has time off from work now and has committed to focus every day on finding love. He found too much.

One gorgeous woman, Amanda, 25, divorced, with two little girls is compelling with a nurturing, funny personality. Ben's heart, being infinite, has more than enough room for Amanda and her two babies.

The other woman*, Lauren, also 25, is the cutest girl ever. She’s funny and empathetic. Both women live by the Golden Rule.

According to societal rules he must choose one if he wants to be married, (the rare alternative, polygamy, is not attractive to any of them). Therefore, he must shred his own heart, break someone else’s and never look back. Be a man, but it won't be easy.

How can a man or a woman be in love with two? Love is infinite, but earthly life is finite. Think back to the days you were dating and I bet you can identify a point in time where you were uncertain as to which direction to take.

The good news. Dedicating to one person does not mean the other will be miserable forever. A woman with great qualities will get over it and find someone else. Love is infinite.

The great news. Dedicating oneself to finding love is also a matter of education and he's going at it, 24/7. Here the advanced degree on life will reap unending benefits for the couple.

I'm going beyond my simple point to say that his also-rans, girls three and four, were amazing women as well.
*Actually at the time of this writing, there are four women left, so the two I chose, as if I had a vicarious interest are just that, Bob's choices, not Ben's. The four remaining are, each in their own way, terrific catches.

Here's a promo for ABC's The Bachelor that fleshes out my thesis above and gives you a chance to ogle via the privacy of your home computer, Ben Higgins and his possible mates.


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Does an Alpha Hero like Strong Willed Women?

Some called them kick ass heroines, when they’re spies, detectives, military.

Some say they know what they want and how to get it. These women are successful in business but are they successful in matters of the heart?

The younger you ask the guy, the more likely he picture his future unknown mate as a nurturing, affectionate, loving, kind soul, gorgeous and sexy (naturally), totally dedicated to loving him (toss in—makes him laugh). Someone he could have and hold, love and protect. Nothing wrong with that. This preconception stems partially from stereotypes with a dose of insecurity typical to a boy turning man. He enters a confusing world of adult responsibility and the propagation of the species.

My Renaissance man can be alpha, beta or gamma but always knows a good woman when he meets one. He’ll shuck off his immature ideas of the ideal woman when he gets to know her. Perhaps she’ll save him from financial ruin, rescue him from terrorists; teach him the value of love. It doesn’t matter. A real hero has no fear of who is boss in any given situation, in fact, he thanks God he found her, because they make a great team and he finally understands the true meaning and can feel, love.

Last night, Hallmark premiered, Valentine Ever After, starring, Autumn Reeser, Vanessa Matsui and Eric Johnson. In the movie, the writer adeptly explores these concepts and how they change people. (30 second promo)


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Welcome our guest host: Joel Dorr

I'm happy to introduce a recent addition to RWASD, a great writer and another male point of view, Joel Dorr:
Real Men Write—and Read Romance

How often have you picked up a novel to find all the male characters were as vanilla flavored as a Carnation Instant Breakfast? They have no purpose other than to be a man prop character to push the story along. You’ve read them, the boyfriend who cheated on our heroin for unknown reasons or how about the doting, layered fiancĂ© who works all the time, leaving our leading lady alone wanting more sex. Vanilla characters have their place—getting the back story out and even as a dialogue dummy for our main character, but how do we add a little flavor to the same old boring breakfast?

As a male and writing from a male perspective in romance, I find it helpful to develop comical and quirky traits that make us laugh at these Y chromosome characters. Perhaps it’s the funny way he suddenly breaks into a sweat whenever he spots someone’s mini-wheat adorably licking an ice cream cone and fumbling it through their five year-old fingers within splattering distance of his Michael Jordon Nikes. Or the uncontrollable, yet nerdy predictable way, his head spasms to the right craning up to look at ceiling tiles, whenever a pretty Asian gal tries to start a conversation with him.  These idiosyncrasies not only build an interesting male character, but the quirkiness is also relatable to the audience and memorable.  Can’t you feel the anxiety of a child nearly dumping his ice cream cone on your $300 pair of shoes? What do you do when someone you find extremely hot walks up to you?
Let’s use that as an example and dig into the neuroses of a character --let’s call him Bob, the same name as the host of this blog--and discover what makes him avert his attention away from..let’s say attractive Asian ladies. Some writers might naturally toss out the cliche explanation of a childhood crush on a sexy Asian teacher… Would anyone like a little dry toast with your Instant Breakfast? Every character has the potential for a shareable moment that moves the story along and adds some flavor. One method I use is to think like the readers of grocery store tabloids, searching out the juiciest and most ridiculous of possibilities.
In my imagination, Bob’s issue would look more like this:
While Bob was a tween of fourteen, he was chasing after an errant Frisbee, overthrown and clearing the fence, landing in the petunias under the bedroom window of the grumpy next-door neighbor. As Bob rummaged around looking for the Frisbee, careful not to trod on the old Asian woman’s flowers and get grounded again, he glanced inadvertently into the window.  Sleuthiness turned into horror as he was frozen like a character in a Stephen King novel.
The old Asian woman was nearly naked!  

Unable to move he stared at her, clad only in her stained bra and grannie underpants, pulled up over her large, double tummy roll.

Bob had never seen anything so revolting—well, there was that two-headed baby on the cover of the Enquirer Magazine, but this was real life.  She screamed and Bob forgot about the Frisbee, making a beeline for his home, hoping she was so shocked or too old to realize it was him. Unfortunately for poor Bob, that image would be burned into his retina, an unwanted visual recall for a lifetime.

Ding dong, Bob’s days are numbered the doorbell seemed to chime. As predicted, the old woman came to the front door and he awaited her trumped up, stalkerish tale of their encounter. Bob mumbled under his breath, “If I were going to be a peeping Tom, why would I be looking in her windows, when we have two MILFs in the neighborhood?”

“Robert?” Bob’s parents called in unison and he marched toward them trying to get his explanation straight for a reduced sentence. Using his full name was never a good sign.

“Mrs. Wong brought over this package for you. It seems the postman made a mistake and accidently left it at her home. She was hoping to give it to you in person, but I didn’t know you were home.”

 Maybe she didn’t realize it was Bob. Or perhaps she didn’t see him. Whatever the case, he was home free. Or was he? The next afternoon while playing Frisbee in the front yard Bob saw Mrs. Wong on the front porch. She turned catching his eyes and…sent a wink!  Yes, definitely a knowing wink confirming the events of the previous day. He would never forget the image of hospital-issued underpants pulled up over human fat inner tubes. And that disgusting discomfort would stay with him forever, tied to any encounter with an Asian woman, beautiful or not.

Ok, now which explanation is more fun and interesting? Crush on a pretty teacher or old woman in granny undies? And even if this is your main character, it makes him human and kind of adorkable, for having such a silly quirk. If it’s a character you don’t particularly want your reader to like in the first place, then your layers make him even more of a pathetic, loser-like jerk. Either way, chasing the laugh may help you enjoy adding some personality to your male character making him much more interesting. And come on, we can all relate, to some ridiculous idiotic tick we’ve manifested as a result of a simple, yet traumatic event, which happened long ago, so wouldn’t your reader?

I used this technique a lot when writing my new romantic comedy Those Crazy Notions of Otherwise Intelligent People.  Yes, it’s true, real men also write romantic comedies along with the ladies.  I have the “real man” pedigree growing up in Montana and Wyoming, where as a young boy, my brothers and I raced by horseback across the grass pastures of my grandfather’s ranch. There is no video game that can match the exhilaration of riding full speed on the back of a galloping horse. With a full access nature pass, I swam, rafted and fished many of the lakes and rivers of Wyoming.  Early inspiration hit when I located and walked down the same dirt path Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid used to hunker down in their Hole in the Wall hideout. My brothers and I carried fishing poles, instead of guns, that is when we didn’t have a pretend posse chasing us. I was able to put myself through college playing basketball, getting degrees in Theatre and Broadcasting. Later I began writing and developing stories for film and television, until 2006 when I became the Editor of Dramabiz Magazine, a theatre business management monthly.
How does a writer describe himself--with a story, of course? About 20 years ago, I flew to Wyoming to visit my family. Seated next to me on the airplane, was a gentleman with long, white hair, pulled back in a ponytail wrapped in leather ties with beautiful beads. We fell into an easy conversation telling each other our “stories”. He spoke of his tribe, their history and traditions. I countered with my clan, cowboys and Irish and German ancestors. In true “cowboys and Indians” fashion, the conversation turned to the Battle of the Little Big Horn and “Yellow Hair”. Generations of Dorrs living in Wyoming and Montana heard the stories—and not the kind you read in history books. We had much disdain for George Armstrong Custer, the great injustice the U.S. Government put on the native Indians and the fiction portrayed as historical fact. Finding common historical ground, the gray haired man shared how this too is a story passed down through the generations in his family, in fact some of his relatives died as they fought the American encroachment led by “Yellow Hair.” At the end of our trip, my new friend revealed that he was the official storyteller for the Oglala Sioux Nation. He expressed honor in meeting another tribe’s storyteller, which struck me. He said that I, just like him, was destined to be a storyteller, and that it was my responsibility to pass down my tribe’s history. Years later, I have come to realize what he meant. I have always felt a need to tell stories, as did my father and his father. Ironically, as I reflect back, I remember that I wrote my first play after my father took me to the battlefield at Little Big Horn and explained the truth behind the Indian Nations last great victory. I was in third grade. Who am I?  My name is Joel Michael Dorr and I’m a storyteller from Wyoming.

Thanks so much, Joel, but did he have to be named Bob? The elderly lady I saw was dancing  naked under the moon. Oh, I almost forgot.