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, June 26, 2016

Heroes Don’t Understand Handbags & Shoes

Yes, yes, they’re bought to match other apparel. But a guy doesn’t see that, no matter if he’s alpha, beta, gamma, an artist or creative type. Addressing his growth in understanding the opposite sex is necessary in a romance, but I’d be wary of expecting too much in the shoe department.

Once upon a time, guys (and sometimes, some gals) went hunting and brought home to the cave protein necessary for survival. The women used everything they could from the kill or catch. The more pelts, bones, etc., the more successful the tribe.
Guys often laugh with buddies, about their lack of closet space or the amount of shoes Imelda (insert wife’s name here) has. Why is this funny? Guys see survival (the kids’ education, food on the table) and think of the cost of said shoes and try to smile because they love their mates. Gals see a successful marriage. Although they aren’t strictly in a tribe, they are in a village of their making. Women are more social, generally. So, to not dress properly sends the message to their friends that their marriage has failed. Men don’t usually wear many variants. Their tribal message when they dress solidly is that their marriage is successful.

So you can tell a guy until you are blue in the face about this and he won’t understand. Listen, I’m a senior citizen. I just figured it out last night. But us renaissance men do eventually solve problems.
David Bowie, 1983, Let's Dance (Red Shoes)

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Bachelorette confronts violence

Libby Hall, a writer for the LA Times, starts her story in Monday’s (6/20/2016) paper with, “If reality dating shows are all about channeling the romantic narrative of the fairy tale, what happens when they [producers of the show] pivot to the darker side of Grimm?”

JoJo Fletcher, in her attempt to find a husband, had to deal with a slow reveal from her “men” about the violent—steroid riddled, IMO—tendencies and remarks of Chad Johnson. This bad boy with too many fatal flaws, threatened to remove heads, teeth and track down after the show, his tormentors. The men “tormented” him because, basically, he scared them and they asked him to cut it out and become human. They didn’t sign up to get their jaws broken, etc.

They did sign up to get their hearts broken. All save one.

For those who are sceptics, The Bachelor franchise has scored consistent wins (marriages) over the last few seasons. With three shows a year (The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise). From The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, married is Jason and Molly, Sean & Catherine, Ashley & J.P. and Desiree & Chris. The summer filler, Bachelor in Paradise, has scored two for two with Marcus & Lacy and Jade & Tanner. Successful season or not, the emotions are often raw for both sexes, the dialogue intriguing and the love (as you identify with the heroine and hero) will warm your heart, just like a good romance novel.

For football fans out there, Aaron Rodgers, the great NFL Greenbay quarterback, gets to watch his brother Jordan, who is on the show.
Jo Jo on Access Hollywood:

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee

It took me forever to realize that I didn’t have to follow Robert McKee’s Story or other writing books, in which you learn to raise the stakes with special attention to the physical world (outward conflict). The stakes translate mostly to great visuals or action scenes. It is much harder to raise the stakes of the inner story. A human can raise their awareness and change their attitude. They can see change in survival, sex, love, but they can’t change into Superman or raise their IQ (well, these are different stories when compared to the romances we typically write and it doesn’t improve the book, IMO). A book is different from a movie. A movie must rely on physically compelling scenes to make up for the lack of interior monologue. A good book must rely on the inner development of characters. So, it doesn’t matter if your character is James Bond or Casper Melbatoast. As long as the characters go through change that a reader can identify and empathize with, you’ll have a story.

Note these best sellers: The Secret Life of Bees, A Man Called Ove, The Nest, etc.

I’m not saying it doesn’t matter if your hero saves the world, just that he or she save their smaller world. You can write a story with plenty of outer conflict or not. If you want to write it, and believe in the story, well then, you’ve got something others will love too.

So, that’s my two cents… What if someone wrote a story about a poor boy who saved his pennies to help feed his family and then the coins were stolen?
Just don't float like a bee or bite like a butterfly.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

What’s the Difference between Obsession and Love?

We often see novelists pen words such as, he couldn’t stop thinking about her, nearly all thoughts came back to her. “I think about you every day (moment).” “I’m obsessed with her.”

These words and similar are often used in describing various points in the romantic arc; to describe the hero's awakening, previously content with one-night stands or video games. But, it is technically wrong. These words can be used to describe obsession, a word that carries so many negative connotations. Yes the hero can be overwhelmed by the heroine over time (or in the case of love at first sight, instantly) but it is all in the way this affection is focused with appropriate prose. Before we go further, let’s review the definitions.

From Webster’s:

Obsession: 1. the domination of one’s thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, etc.

Love: 1. A profoundly tender, passionate affectionate for another person, esp. when based on sexual attraction.

Fiction writers are forever being told to show don’t tell. A man falling in love when confronted by thoughts of his beloved will think of how he can make her laugh, happy, lighten her day, make her feel special, plan for a great life together, which will mesh their ideas. He’ll plan something to do or say for when he sees her next. And oh yes, he will listen to learn, react and for both of them to grow.

On the other hand, an obsession can often be all about the hero. Something in his psyche (or hers) needs feeding. He will feel better about himself because he can get or have that very lovely heroine. He might declare that she completes him or that he is nothing without her. This is hyperly and sweet but deep down it is often a sign of insecurity. It could be said that the heroine is a momument to his ability to pick, or an acclimation of his worthiness.

I’m just saying, be careful in developing his focus. Is it inward and needy or outward and healthy?

On a side note: Mohammad Ali was not only obsessed in its most positive form but he dearly loved humanity.  He knew he would be champ (because he was that good) and said so. He also said that the heart was the greatest gift we have (the hero is not a champ without it).

There is no better mix of obsession and love than in the following, I’ll be Seeing You by Billie Holiday, 1944 (if clicking on Billie's picture doesn't work, click on the link below the picture. For the greatest generation this song described the hell of war. Any guy or gal had every right and perhaps a duty to their own mental well being to grow an obsession for a soldier who either will not or may not come home.