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, July 31, 2016

The Romantic Hero


Romantic hero

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Romantic hero is a literary archetype referring to a character that rejects established norms and conventions, has been rejected by society, and has themself as the center of his or her own existence. The Romantic hero is often the protagonist in the literary work and there is a primary focus on the character's thoughts rather than his or her actions. Literary critic Northrop Frye noted that the Romantic hero is often "placed outside the structure of civilization and therefore represents the force of physical nature, amoral or ruthless, yet with a sense of power, and often leadership, that society has impoverished itself by rejecting". Other characteristics of the Romantic hero include introspection, the triumph of the individual over the "restraints of theological and social conventions", wanderlust, melancholy, misanthropy, alienation, and isolation. However, another common trait of the Romantic hero is regret for his actions, and self-criticism, often leading to philanthropy, which stops the character from ending romantically. An example of this trait is Edmond Dantès in The Count of Monte Cristo.

Usually estranged from his more grounded, realist biological family and leading a rural, solitary life, the Romantic hero may nevertheless have a long-suffering love interest, herself victimised by his rebellious tendencies, with their fates intertwined for decades, sometimes from their youths to their deaths. (See Tatyana Larina, Elizabeth Bennet, Eugenie Grandet et al.)

The Romantic hero first began appearing in literature during the Romantic period, in works by such authors as Byron, Keats, Goethe and Pushkin, and is seen in part as a response to the French Revolution. As Napoleon, the "living model of a hero", became a disappointment to many, the typical notion of the hero as upholding social order began to be challenged. Classic literary examples of the romantic hero include Werther from Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther, Gwynplaine from Hugo's The Man who Laughs, the title character in Pushkin's Onegin, Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, the main character in the epic poem "Don Juan" by Lord Byron, Chateaubriand's René, Tolstoy's Andrei Bolkonsky from War and Peace, Cooper's "Hawkeye" (Natty Bumppo) from The Leatherstocking Tales, and Raymond Chandler's Phillip Marlowe from his seven novels about the Los Angeles detective. [end of Wiki info]

To me, a romantic hero is someone who is romantic around the woman he loves. He gives her his all. But, what do I know? Maybe I’m the only writer at RWASD & RWA who didn’t know this wicked Wiki interpretation. Chime in, please.



If you look up romantic in the Webster’s College dictionary you may compare quite different definitions:

1. of or pertaining to romance.

2. impractrical or unrealistic; fanciful.

3. imbued with idealism, a desire for adventure, etc.

4. preoccupied with love or by the idealizing of love.

5. expressing love or strong affection.

6. ardent, passionate, fervent.

7. …a style of literature that subordinates form to content, encourages freedom of treatment, emphasizes imagination, emotion, and introspection, and often celebrates nature, the ordinary person, and freedom of the spirit (contrasted with Classical).

8. of free expression of imagination and emotion, virtuosic display…

9. imaginary, fictitious, or fabulous.

10. noting the role of a suitor in a play [or book/RWR] about love; the romantic lead.

11. a romantic person.

12. an adherent of romanticism.



Why the dictotomy?

There is a strain of thought on romance novels, and we’ve talked to this before, that literary fiction is the only or much superior fiction of merit. I’ll follow the dictionary, which in twelve tries doesn’t come close to the Wiki interpretation.

It is useful to look at your hero and heroine through the prism of the definitions above so that their motivations are grounded in common understanding or why we fall in love and what it means to be in love.



P.s. I’d like to take a Wiki leak and rewrite the entry, if only I had the will, time and inclination.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Observations

Observations accrued by reading mistakes in romance novels (that aren’t addressed by the arc):
A man in love will never forget his woman’s things-to-do-together list. Her list is his list.
An act of love is shown through the mind or thoughts of the hero, through his lips as he translates his thoughts into action (and a kiss would work well to seal the thought) and in his heart as he puts into effect the action with joyful work.
Being “that” strong man in a relationship implies everybody else is weak. If he has something to give, he should also receive.
It’s not a climatic moment (pertaining to the climate) unless he’s a meteorologist. It’s climactic and they (including the reader) damn well deserve it!
Crossing racial and cultural barriers gives an author more to write about. This is done all the time in paranormal romances.
* * *


Below is for anybody interested in back cover/jacket/ or other promotional material. I would love any suggestions you might have on my attempt.
I've read some material on how to write back covers, etc. Basically, the author should grab attention, describe the story and subtley mention the benefits to clinch the sale.
Writing (copy) must include:
1. A call to buy.
2. A stressing of benefits.
3. Arouse interest.
4. Should not have empty overstatements.
5. Be accurate.
6. Be specific.
7. Be organized.
8. Write for easy reading.
*9. Appeal to emotions rather than intellect.
10. Don't offend.
11. Make use of reviews, etc.
12. Ask for a buy (in an indirect way in the case of romance novels).
13. Okay, start over, revise and edit.
THE THREE AND THIRTEEN POINTS above come from Words That Sell by Richard Bayan. It's a book on promoting products, services and ideas. I think it is a growing illuminating experience to study other media methods and apply them to fiction. have fun with it.

Here's my jacket material, third edit of Angel's Eyes.
She’s made of hunter/tracker stock. She is a blindfold and regular chess master. And not least, first in her class at West Point.

Colonel Bekah Carthage’s brigade loves her. Not because exotic looks made her the Stars & Stripes favorite pin-up. No, in order for a woman to lead, she shows talent and earns respect. To demand this, she adopts a hands-off approach. Due to her eerie ability to “see” enemy placements, no one fighting under her leadership has died.

She’s so effective, the enemy makes her death their top priority.

They almost get her six feet under. But, almost doesn’t quite count.

She loses her sight in an ambush. Then she’s forced out of the Army. And has to be sneaked out of the foreign war zone. The prescient and persistent enemy will not stop until they find her.

A newly recruited spy, Jay Boone, rescues a woman who still thinks she can do it all herself. To argue for her self-reliance she talks up her newfound talent, Blindsight, a sort of “seeing” while blind. So, she wishes, she could still serve in some way. She doesn’t want a man to lean on, not even this brainy hunk. He, a professor turned spy, debunked the paranormal or unexplained phenomena for NYU undergrads. But he remains objective, and not only because he crushed on her in high school. It’s either real or not. Nothing but the truth drives him, even while old unrequited feelings overwhelm him.

The two had shared a common bond on the high school chess team and maybe that’s the key he could use to open her heart and save her pretty behind. You might wonder if checkmate, an old friendship and her desire to serve is all that is on her mind when she begins to accept Jay’s help. Watch, with your eyes open, even while she can’t, as she explores her dormant femininity.

This story dives into the unexplained, celebrates a great woman and the man who loves her. The novel watches her harness her unusual talents in death-defying ways while she tries to understand what’s happening to her heart.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

A Wedding

I was blessed to be in New York City this weekend for the wedding of my nephew to a compassionate, exotic, beautiful, talented, loving gal.
Joe received his education at a Franciscan University. He had seriously considered the priesthood or brother-ship. The Franciscans encourage all their young men and women to find their calling wherever it leads. Joe and I had discussed his options. I relayed the story of my similar education and how I loved women too much to ever second guess. "Be true to yourself," I said.
Joe is the kindest, most sincere person I have ever met in my life. When Ilyane (Elaine - Dominican Republic spelling) stopped every man who wooed her before they got their foot in the door, she was not prepared for Joe.
She wants to get her doctorate and help the mentally handicapped. No man should slow her down. But Joe lit up her life and the light shown a path where she need not compromise. They are so good for each other and are now walking a path of grace together. Which includes a honeymoon in the Dominican Republic. I picture my nephew blown away by now by her. Man and woman, husband and wife.
I watched the way they looked at each other, her with her saucer eyes and big smile, he with his kind visage and total focus on his mate.
There was no place I'd rather be or do than witness their vows and celebration. My heart took a direct hit.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Let’s Talk About Your Hero



Who is he? A majority of men are not or only passingly interested in affairs of the heart, at least in books, movies and on TV. I’ve talked before about this dichotomy, but today, let’s go deeper.

A guy wants to love his mate, but does he really know how? He won’t participate in “chick” flics, true, but he will go through the motion of buying flowers, candy. He has been told to flatter a woman, open doors etc. Does he treasure her friendship; want to spend time with her? Is he a Renaissance man? Does he realize the beauty before him, whether it be physical or spiritual or both?

For a man, truly in love, his mate is an outrageous gift from God. He thinks of her, always. He plans to please her, to make her feel like a princess. He enjoys her humor, style, quirks, heart, empathy.

But men are socially driven to not let their guard down. Some men who are secure and thoughtful allow vulnerability. It is true that the best man is he who has a successful marriage and many males celebrate this through their actions. If you are writing a younger male or a man who scoffs over sickeningly sweet romances, you have your work cut out for you.

Guys don’t let our guard down because of fear. We must protect (the cave) and in standing on Maslow’s first rung, Survival, cannot easily grow.

Robin Williams and Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting, 1997
Or click here
https://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play;_ylt=A2KIo9fnzYJXp0IAgxz7w8QF;_ylu=X3oDMTByYXI3cnIwBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDdmlkBHZ0aWQDBGdwb3MDNA--?p=robin+williams+and+matt+damon+in+good+will+hunting&vid=b091ceeca097d31161f63d9e4adb3441&turl=https%3A%2F%2Ftse3.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DOVP.Vf999359ed229f9694962429890fe9c69%26pid%3D15.1%26h%3D150%26w%3D300%26c%3D7%26rs%3D1&rurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DqM-gZintWDc&tit=%5BGreat+Movie+Scenes%5D+Good+Will+Hunting+-+Park+Scene&c=3&h=150&w=300&l=287&sigr=11bd955h1&sigt=11jfvl97v&sigi=132kbojmq&age=1185239881&fr2=p%3As%2Cv%3Av&fr=ush-mailn_02&tt=b

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Great American Novel


We all want to write it. We all have read it. Perhaps To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, is the first one that comes to my mind.

Today’s LA Times offers an article on the subject with examples by different Times contributors using To Kill a Mocking Bird, The Woman Warrior, Song of Solomon, The Brief Life of Oscar Wao, The Princess Bride, Sula, Bleeding Edge, Miss Jane Pittman and American Tabloid as good examples.

I’ll quote the first contributor who used To Kill a Mockingbird as his inspiration for treatise. John Scalia …the G.A.Novel must have:

Ubiquity: It has to be a novel that a relatively large number of Americans have read, and that a large proportion of those who haven’t read it know about in other ways (for example, by a popular filmed adaptation). [I add from other parts of John’s piece: on High School reading lists.]

Notability: There has to be a general agreement that the novel is significant—it has literary quality and/or is part of the cultural landscape in a way that is unquestionable (even of critically assailable).

Morality: [In walks the romance writer, IMO.] It needs to address some aspect of American experience, usually either our faults or our aspirations as a nation, with recognizable moral force (not to be confused with a happy ending)."
[This doesn’t exclude happy endings, IMO.]

[Bob R. here: What comes to mind as recent experience is Hillary and Donald. We picked them. They seem flawed, but perhaps they represent us figuratively and literally. I’m going to keep a copy of this article for anybody who wants one. I’d also love to hear your thoughts.]



***

Separate subject: I’ve been writing romance for a long time. Even my first novel about cave men and wolves was held together with many love stories. Yet, I have sat on my first “romance novel” for over seven years. I simply didn’t think it was good enough, although I love it (of course). But when one f my female readers pleaded with me to let her see it and then cried I knew I had to release it. She said I was missing too many commas, my hero was Beta (but she loved him) and that I needed to always remember to simplify.

I’m proud to announce that I have made and am making corrections of the sort she mentioned and will release Angel’s Eyes soon.

Angel’s Eyes was inspired by a number of my favorite things.

1. I read Janet Dailey’s Ivory Cane, a story about a blind woman coping with life and love and wanted the challenge and pleasure of writing about a strong woman who had lost her sight.

2. I admire women in the military and believe that they can do anything a man can do (and probably better, LOL). My gal starts as a Colonel in the U.S. Army who leads her brigade into battle.

3. I prefer to write stories of women of color. Bekah is a Stars and Stripes pin-up whether she wanted to be or not. In the story, her sexuality is not visible in order to maintain respect with the troops but her exotic beauty is.

4. I wanted to address unexplained phenomena, which can be confused with the paranormal. Both need explanations that may or may not be proven by science someday. I.e., Bekah has Blindsight, a real medical unexplained condition in which the blind see, of sorts (look it up).

5. Bekah, a tactical and strategic genius is also a chess master. I write about chess in this novel with great love. Since I am also a chess master I lend my expertise.

Her love interest, as the story evolves, is a Professor of Physics from NYU who is a renowned expert and skeptic of paranormal or unexplained phenomena (and also a chess master). He sets out to help her after she loses her sight and discovers new abilities.

The Army no longer wants her after she loses her sight, but will a boy now man, who crushed on her in high school, take on quite a handful? {Of course he can.}
WIP on cover too. I would very much like to hear comments that might improve the cover and I might use the remarks above for inside the book up front and as a blurb. What is not visible on this cover shot (that I can see) are the words, a paranormal romance novel across the bottom.