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 18, 2017

Happy to announce

I'm happy to announce that I won the San Diego Book Award on June 10th 2017 for Autumn Breeze as best published general romance for this year.

I expect to be back to blogging next Sunday and every Sunday thereafter.

Thanks for your support.

RW Richard aka Bob Richard

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Some men are dogs

She’s smart, accomplished, pretty, empathetic, loving, 31 and serious about getting married, an attorney and black. She’s the bachelorette on ABC’s hit show. I say black with a bravo for ABC which broke the color barrier in 2017 on this show. Whoopee. When did Jackie Robinson play ball? It’s about time. I can’t say the same for Hallmark romances, but don’t get me started.
Sometimes people watch the show to figure out who she’ll pick (she’s engaged to the mystery gentleman). Some watch to figure out who will be the next bachelor. Even though early in the show, I have a prediction. I predict Copper will be the next Bachelor. Copper is Rachel’s dog and better looking than some of the men. She doesn’t go anywhere without him which gives Copper a leg up. Some of the men are bad dogs, like DeMario. Bad dog. We’ll have to see if Rachel can find another faithful companion, best friend. Someone who gives her unconditional love. None of them can kiss like Copper. Picture that.
Here’s a peek at Rachel and some of the men on the Ellen Degeneres Show. (2017):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvwO9kv5xig

Pop quiz:

On the Hallmark premier of Destination Wedding, June 3, 2107 was the wedding sequence at the end?
A. Secretly planned by friends and family of the hero and heroine.
B. The second of two ceremonies.
C. A scene from a later time (then the one planned for the heroine's sister).
D. The only wedding that happened.

Monday, May 29, 2017

I Just Know

All For Love
Did you ever hear a friend say, “I just know (about him).”? This sometimes works in life but not in romance novels. At least not after chapter one. It works in life because of the amazing complexity of love. I just know she’s for me because I’m a subconscious competent. Conscious competents are in the process of learning how to love. They make mistakes. A conscious incompetent recognizes he’s a screw up and wants to change, maybe. Am unconscious incompetent has not a clue. This person should seriously consider joining an order (and learn to love humanity).
Perhaps you sat your friend down and pried loose some concrete examples to support her feelings. Maybe a light went on. Maybe the light was there already in the glean of her eyes.
In honor of Memorial Day, on Saturday, Hallmark premiered, All For Love. The heroine writes romance. The hero is a retired Navy SEAL. Although this story had it’s flaws, I enjoyed it. Especially the way the writer/heroine portrayed A-list authors who take umbrage at suggestions about the way their hero and heroine manage to overcome obstacles.
If you watch this one, I’d like to hear whether these two make a good pair. The writer of the movie certainly proceeded with care to show the whys that made the wows.
Does the type of love a Navy SEAL lives everyday make him/her a good mate? God bless our men and women in uniform and all those who came before.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=all+for+love+hallmark&&view=detail&mid=867E084D53C3853B8F8B867E084D53C3853B8F8B&FORM=VRDGAR 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Tooting your own horn

Tooting your own horn

Whenever we correspond with our teammates at RWA San Diego it is considered and ruled that we not hawk our books. However, good news, is an exception.
     
The 2017 San Diego Book Awards finalists were just announced.
My dear friend, Regan Walker, finaled for Historical (novel length) Fiction with To Tame The Wind. A story I was privileged enough to get an advance read of and fortunate enough to have read. Reading each others’ work at the chapter is another way of growing. Believe it or not there’s always something to critique. The only work of fiction I could not critique was titled and written as: For sale: baby shoes, never worn. Ernest Hemingway, the minimalist, is attributed with this gem.
Robert W Richard, that’s me, is a finalist with my entry in general romance, Autumn Breeze, for the SDBA. I have the many suggestions and critiques of my fellow authors to thank for the polishing of this story.
Regan and I have something very much in common about our works. We sweated every word. We loved our stories with abandon from the moment of creation to it’s birth (which was more than nine months in my case). Herein lies the tiny lesson for today’s blog. Don’t write for the sake of writing. Write the story that burns your soul.
Whoever wrote this review is a better writer than moi:
A complex, emotionally gripping and compelling book.
This is the best kind of novel. The kind that weaves honest, factual contemporary history (9/11 and its aftermath), into the fabric of a compelling love story. Plus a lot of intrigue and adventure. So you end up learning a lot, and getting an appreciation of actual history, while enjoying a heartfelt love story at the same time.
The Autumn of the title is a teenage girl. She's forced by circumstances to find new parents. In doing so, she gets involved with some pretty fascinating characters (well developed by the author), and some dangerous situations. But not just danger: love and romance too. The author doesn't pull any punches about the dark side of life: a terrorist is after her, and the suspense at times is intense.
One thing I like a lot about Autumn Breeze is that it doesn't take the low road that so many other novels take these days in knocking intellectuality. There is an appreciation of intellect here. Also of heroism, spirituality, and true love. Which makes it awfully hard to categorize the novel. You can't pigeonhole it because it tackles (and succeeds on) so many levels: suspense, personal interaction and loyalty, appreciation of family, romantic love, gritty adventure. And if that isn't enough (!), it's also a love story to New York.
But a word of warning: if you're looking for a lightweight, frivolous book, this isn't for you. It is complex, and intricately plotted in a way that makes you wonder how the author ever managed to weave all the threads so seamlessly into such an enjoyable book. But he does.



Sunday, May 14, 2017

The female gaze

What She Sees (The female gaze)
This post is inspired by an article in the LA Times, May 7, 2017 written by Meredith Blake. The character was seeing a blur where the man’s groin was. Blake. She’s finishes her opening story with, “I wanted the audience to see what she would be seeing.”
Generalizing women see differently than men. There are plenty of women who love the visual side of life. Be they photographers, artists, directors... There are men who are introspective.
Most men assess a female stranger in terms of their looks. Most women see that, for sure, but tend to see meaning to a possible relationship. Hence the blur as their minds go inward into the world of creation. It’s a woman’s job to decide the future of the human race. It’s the man’s job to insure it happens.
The lA Times writer, Meredith Blake, goes on to say, “...a growing number of shows are turning women into the subject of the action rather than the object of desire.” Of course, the Times writer is also stating the preferences of women in the audience as to what they prefer to see on the screen. I believe, whether male or female we want to feel—not merely see.
Here’s where I part from the article, not in spirit, but in intent.
Writing a scene through the “eyes” of a woman must be different than through the eyes of a man. But, how to do it? It’s easy to say he notices her perfect curves, lovely face and wants her. It’s harder to say she notices his body, face etc. and wonders about what kind of man he is. That’s code for will I be heartbroken and/or miserable after night one of their dual fantasy of making love. [I had never felt that way. With me, what was most important was the possible union and let the rest take care of itself.]
Do you need to write that her vision of him blurs while she considers the consequneces? Your choice. The richness in writing comes from varying as long as it fits the arc and the true nature of the character.
It is alright to write male domination into a scene because it will only make your readers invest in and root for the heroine as she sheds her shackles and teaches a lesson.
The Times article concludes with, “—use narration, direct address and subjective fantasy sequences to convey the heroine’s unfiltered point of view directly to the (TV or movie) audience.”
I’ll let Dusty Springfield chastise women for doin’ what they do around men that get them nowhere near his heart. Of course that’s just griss for our mill.
Wishin’ and Hopin’ by Dusty Springfield 1964. I strongly recommend the artwork in this video, in that it pictorially evokes what might become words while writing the heroine’s pov.
https://youtu.be/ycbgHM1mI0k

Sunday, May 7, 2017

First dates

Is your dialogue stale?
Do you worry that you are so far removed from today’s dating scene that you’ll get it wrong. Do you lurk in bars hoping your ears are good enough and that you don’t give yourself away?
Forget it.
It is so critical that you get the beginning of your hero and heroine’s arc right. Right?
Tune into NBC’s new show First Dates (Friday nights).
The show advertises “Everything they say and do is entirely up to them.”
For the sceptic of “reality shows” maybe knowing that Ellen Degeneres is the exec producer might ease your concerns.
Of course people do strange things when on camera or do they? Do they simply get comfortable or into the idea of meeting someone? You decide.
Is this show Earthshaking? No. But far the student of the written word, it can be useful if you give it a chance.
Ellen Degeneres talks about her show:
https://youtu.be/eAgerJXjy5U

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Let's Dance

Let’s Dance
Last week I wrote about heroines or heroes who sing. This week is much easier. Let’s dance. For some reason authors write much more romance prose about dancing as incidental and as part of their characters’ lives than about songbirds. Oddly, the prose flows more easily when it is about movement than about words. Words, the only tool we have. Enough of that.
I won’t bare you with quotes from my dance references. Anybody who has read Autumn Breeze knows the joy with which I had written about dancing.
Dancing Queen, Abba, 1976
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFrGuyw1V8s

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Girl Who Sang too much

I have never read a romance novel nor any other novel in which the hero or heroine were singing their way through the day. Probably because it is damn well difficult to get any thing other than the poetry and perhaps the mood of the song across to the reader. Also because most of us have not experienced the zany singer in our families, nor are we reinforced on TV or at the movies that it is doable or shown how to do it.
Only in musicals and they rarely sing their way through the entire day. Besides, musicals are separated from the other genres because human beings find breaking into song as unusual. All the better reason to attempt it.
Imagine the spirit of a person who loves to sing. She’s typically not a professional but her voice is sweet. Does he or she sing to escape reality? Does she become the lyrics? What kind of heart has she?
All this is grist for a novel. Will the reader identify? You bet. Human nature in all its beautiful manifestations is easily understood.
I suppose a story about a professional singer would need the author to dig in, but I haven’t read these either nor have we grown up in this environment. For those who have been blessed to be part of a musical family, think about it. Even a short story or novella would be greatly appreciated.

If anybody knows of such a novel, please inform me, I'd like to read it.

Singin’ In The Rain, Gene Kelly, 1952
http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=singin%27+in+the+rain&&view=detail&mid=D17ADA1888C4197AC48DD17ADA1888C4197AC48D&FORM=VRDGAR
BTW, anybody ever dance with their vacuum cleaner or broom?

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Kiss

Prostitutes will say to their johns, “No kisses.” If they explain, it goes something like it is too intimate. Apparently kisses are more intimate than making love, and not just for prostitutes.
I have read too many romances that go something like this:
They met in Macy’s. Between intimate apparel and men’s socks, he jammed his tongue down her throat. Later when they went on their first date. They exchanged tongues. Now that’s progress. Later when they are an item, their tongues wrestled and the all important spit was exchanged.
Give me a break.
Kisses can have arcs too and different meanings.
There’s the polite, how-are-you kiss on the cheek. No not that cheek, although that would be funny.
There’s the short peck on the lips, saying later or love ya, but I have to go to Macy’s and meet someone else who likes French kissing.
There’s what the kids do, suck face. What the hell is that?
There’s the tender, loving, lingering kiss, lips slightly parted as if to invite more French kissing. Ain’t necessarily so. Sweetness is such a tremendous and total reward and coincidentally, a turn on. The couple need nothing more. They say “I’m crazy about you” with their lips.
Do vary your lip reading.
The Kiss, 1896 was one of the first films ever shown commercially to the public. The film is around 18 seconds long, and depicts a re-enactment of the kiss between May Irwin and John Rice from the final scene of the stage musical, The Widow Jones.
http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=the+kiss&&view=detail&mid=16C42E1B7EE88DAE1C4A16C42E1B7EE88DAE1C4A&FORM=VRDGAR

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Ninety Percent Solution

Beauty said to Beast on their twentieth anniversary, “When I first met you, you were a beast. Now, you’re a monster.”
There are many studies on this issue. I’ll use the most inflammatory. 90% of couples don’t like each other, because I want to make a point about writing romance.
In a romance novel, both hero and heroine must be precocious enough to figure out why this won’t happen to them. Why? Because your audience wants that happily ever after to really be happily ever after and even after that. The characters both need moments in their arc to say, act or think why they want to marry each other.
We know physical attraction or chemistry isn’t enough, because time changes the body.
We know similar interests isn’t enough, because people grow or change.
IMO, your hero and heroine most also be so decvoted to the idea of service. “I want to make Susie happy and it will be my life’s goal to make her feel special every day of her life.” What can I do for her next? What can I say to her next? It’s my belief that you have to dig deeply to find out what makes them feel that way. Qwhat in their background and nature makes them commit to their mate as if a zealot. Thoughts? La Vie en Rose.
The hero and heroine just get that they are as perfect for each other as could possibly be. They thank God or the universe for they’re great fortune.
La Vie en Rose, Edith Pief, 1946.


https://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play;_ylt=A2KIo9jh6M5YZCkAU9P7w8QF;_ylu=X3oDMTBzYmZpbnA0BHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDdmlkBHZ0aWQDBGdwb3MDMjU-?p=la+vie+en+rose+edith+piaf&vid=56a4a1946e2a77757394b38c84768336&turl=https%3A%2F%2Ftse4.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DOVP.EcWWmuP0crz3V9gPXTTV2gDyDw%26pid%3D15.1%26h%3D240%26w%3D242%26c%3D7%26rs%3D1&rurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D0feNVUwQA8U&tit=Edith+Piaf+-La+vie+en+rose+with+lyrics&c=24&h=240&w=242&l=186&sigr=11b24ci1o&sigt=1160398f2&sigi=12rnqevi1&age=1245371350&fr2=p%3As%2Cv%3Av&fr=vmn&tt=b


English lyrics by Mack David

Hold me close and hold me fast
The magic spell you cast
This is la vie en rose
When you kiss me, Heaven sighs
And though I close my eyes
I see la vie en rose
When you press me to your heart
I'm in a world apart
A world where roses bloom
And when you speak
Angels sing from above
Every day words
Seem to turn into love songs
Give your heart and soul to me
And life will always be
La vie en rose
I thought that love was just a word
They sang about in songs I heard
It took your kisses to reveal
That I was wrong, and love is real
Hold me close and hold me fast
The magic spell you cast
This is la vie en rose
When you kiss me, Heaven sighs
And though I close my eyes
I see la vie en rose
When you press me to your heart
I'm in a world apart
A world where roses bloom
And when you speak
Angels sing from above
Every day words
Seem to turn into love songs
Give your heart and soul to me
And life will always be
La vie en rose




Sunday, March 5, 2017

Frank talk from a southern lady

"I would love to spend this time with you, so I definitely accept… so easily said, but I need to remind you of two things," Raven said, leading into confession number two. "One, I've only been with one person, I want you to keep that in your mind. The second thing is that my last boyfriend, my ex that I was intimate with, never made me orgasm."
A 25 year old Arkansas woman reveals to her prospective husband on national TV that she has never had an orgasm before. Not kidding. You can’t make this stuff (dialogue) up. Well, you can, you’re a writer, but would you want to? Do the words seem contrived? Are southern women way different than the way most people see them? Are we, as writers, missing things because of our own habits and education, both of which are too often frozen in a time warp. I don’t know, but I can give you two insights.
1. ABC’s The Bachelor tells their contestants that if they say something inappropriate they will be bleeped (so be yourself). This may have emboldened Raven to speak from her heart. The problem for Raven (if she thinks it's a problem) is that ABC decides what’s bleeped.
2. Raven might have been getting back at her ex-boyfriend. She seems like an intelligent, funny, frank and sweet gal. So, no I don’t think so. You decide.
Our characters are memorable because of the way they act, say and think, so reality check aside, how much does our readers yearn to turn the page?
Watch and listen, it may be a orgasmic idea. Writing hit novels is like achieving an...over and over again.
Below are two videos in which she reveals her secrets.

Confession 1: Raven professes her first time love.
https://youtu.be/fT9cCC5d28c

Confession 2: Raven reveals a very private secret to Nick.
https://youtu.be/uPmsuGHKlwI

Sunday, February 26, 2017

La La Land


La La Land

When I say this is one of the best movies ever, it just means I’m not ready to let go of Casablanca. Oddly, both have the same theme.

For the purists in the crowd I hear it’s not a romance, i.e. possessing a happily-ever-odesafter. Yet both movies are the most romantic odes you’ll ever see.

La La Land is the perfect title.

Los Angeles: 4

La La, crazy, fantastic (as in fantasy), destroyer of dreams, you ain’t going to get what you want, baby: 4

Creative types from all over the world descend on LA hoping to land it big. Their chances are slim. They end up serving tables, not a bad living. They end up falling in love and herein lies the conflict at the base of both movies. In Casablanca, this love doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. And where our hero and heroine can’t go, we can. In fact, a book follow up showed Rick and Ilsa getting together (As Time Goes By written by Michael Walsh, 1999 published by Warner Brothers).

In La La Land, our hero and heroine of tremendous talent confront the problems between choosing each other and the success the talents God gave them deserve.

We writers often talk about the interior struggle. What’s in the hearts of our heroes and heroines? Rick and Ilsa & Mia and Sebastian very much love each other and they always will. Very much is an understatement. Their hearts rend at the same time two smiles appears. This conflict fills us as readers, watchers with a twisted joy. Humans have a rich fantasy life and who’s to say if their innermost dreams can’t come true.

For romance writers: See this damn movie or don’t talk to me anymore. And then talk to me of true love.

 

Trailer for La La Land, 2017

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Shape of You


Good by half


This is about writing, it always is, but first an observation that will lead into the subject.


I’m in Church this morning and the priest is talking about all the hatred we have seen since the election. He mentioned violence but that doesn’t tip his hand. There are always at least two sides to the story. You can protest an administration (negative) or stand up for someone’s diminished rights (positive). Alternatively, you could want change and hopefully for the better. We all want change for the better, assuming the status quo needs tweaking.


Yesterday, James Scott Bell spoke at our RWASD meeting. He sold a skinny book about writing your book from the middle (Write Your Novel From the Middle). Skinny, because the beginning and ending were missing, LOL. I thoroughly enjoyed his insights and bought the book.


He said in the middle of a three act structure should lie a look in the mirror moment (not necessarily literally) in which the main character reflects on who he is. He knows if he doesn’t change in some way he will die, either physically or by losing everything he values. This can send the journey and the character in a negative or positive direction. This reflection need not have a statement of resolve, but the reader should see that the character either is considering— consciously or subconsciously— change. Stay tuned. Perhaps he’ll make it.


Primarily, Professor Bell didn’t use romance examples. He didn’t just present comedies. However, I say writing is writing, that in every novel tragedy strikes in one form or another. It is best to know the three act structure as presented by Aristotle, thoroughly. The clown can fall on his ass in a comedy and who will kiss his boo-boo? Could Professor Bell tailor his examples to the audience he’s speaking to? Sure, if he has the time, but I say a liberal arts education or in this case, an education, which compares and contrasts genres and types of writing, is more valuable because it opens your eyes.  It may give you new tools or a fresh take. I see that all story writing is the same. The protagonist is on an internal and/or external journey in which he and/or his environment changes.


Some of my colleagues said that everybody already knew this technique. I didn’t, but then I thought through my novels. All of them had a mirror moment. Some colleagues I talked to had a complete revelation from his lecture. They were going back to the drawing board to do something…Like take a mirror moment out of act 1, for instance.


All this reminded me of a psychology lecture on human proficiency.

Your character is:

1. An unconscious incompetent,

2. Conscious incompetent,

3. Conscious competent,

4. Unconscious competent (the best). A good example of this would a basketball superstar. You’d really have to pin him down for him to lay out all the steps (of the mind and body) he’d have to go through to make that 3 point play. Or, consider Tom Brady leading his team back against impossible odds. How’d he do it? He’s an unconscious (super) competent.

I would add that if the unconscious competent paused to reflect he would recall the steps he took automatically and know them as the building blocks of success.


Whether you are on the top of your game as a writer or someone struggling to become better it is always good to step outside your comfort zone.

***

Ed Sheeran, in Shape of You, 2016, chooses a mirror moment for both the hero and the heroine. Will both want more than just enjoying each other’s body? The hero hopes for more but we don’t know if they will become a couple. The heroine wants sex, but we don’t know if she’ll change under a man’s love.


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Is you is or is you ain't my baby?


How to fall in love

 

My wife and I were rummaging around the TV’s thousands of channels and discovered Hallmark on Demand. Direct TV collected 28 of them on this channel. I’m sure if wanted to find the hundreds upon hundreds of other Hallmarks I could. Nonetheless, most of the 28 seemed interesting, so we tried one.

How To Fall In Love, 2012 Hallmark. “An awkward accountant (Eric Mabius) receives dating tips from his high school crush (Brooke D’Orsay).

We’ve talked about nerds, geeks, dorks etc. before. Here the kid in high school was not attractive but became a good-looking man who retained his awkwardness. He was scarred by high school and nearly gave up on dating, until his crush, who needed work, came along to teach him. She perceived him as a challenge but, through fine acting and good writing, she began to realize they were a match and the same for him.

Yes, the writer used tropes, i.e. the ugly duckling becoming a swan, the heart of gold, etc. There’s nothing wrong with that. The characters have to be relatable. It would be more daring if the writer kept him “ugly” physically, but, in romance, the reader usually wants fantasy.

There was a cute scene in which the hero takes another woman out into the countryside to show off his photography hobbie. All she could do was complain about her shoes getting ruined. This and other red flags built until they both realized they weren’t a couple.

 

Sometimes the dialogue helps sterling, as well. Louis Jordan, Is You is or is You ain’t my Baby, 1944.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

On Location


On Location

 

I watched a Hallmark Premier last night called Love-Locks. It not only was a triple romance but it was also an opportunity to fall in love. With Paris.

The writer engaged my own feelings with what I saw on the screen. How did he/she know?

The hero and heroine stood on a bridge with padlocks, symbolizing eternal love, left by thousands of couples (Paris is worried the bridges will fall down and this quaint custom will soon end). They visited an artist’s studio and I was absorbed in beauty. They walked the narrow streets and the broad ways, ate at charming cafes, stayed in hotel rooms that could only be French.

Readers want this, of course. They want the fantasy of being there and if they identify with the characters, they will be there.

It is easy to do this for New York, London and other well-known locations. This doesn’t mean the writer can slouch. He must look for insights and perhaps unique observations while describing the city and how the characters react. But what of a small town, real or imaginary? They must do the same. In fact, their work is harder because the reader doesn’t have a clue as to where they are. The better writer accepts this challenge.

 

I Left My Heart in San Francisco by Tony Bennett, Originally performed by him in 1962.



 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Trophy Girlfriend/Wife


The trophy girlfriend/wife
 
The younger the hero the more likely he is to approach the most beautiful woman in the room. Don’t blame him. It is only natural or part of our evolution through natural selection.
The problem arises if he is fixated on looks and fails to develop a relationship that is mature, fails to recognize qualities like an empathetic or good heart as I have addressed last week.
In case of these failures, the hero needs to grow (and what an arc that would be). The term trophy girlfriend/wife objectifies and diminishes the woman. The hero may not think he’s attracted to a trophy. He may simply be overwhelmed with the desire to possess, but that’s a different problem.
Picture a gorgeous woman on the arms of a powerful man. Will people label them? Did he marry a trophy? Did she marry for money? It doesn’t matter. It’s what’s in their hearts that count. Only the writer knows for sure when he/she writes this kind of story.
 
There are thousands of songs or odes to beauty, so I’ll just pick arbitrarily (well with the accent on the young).
Frankie Avalon, 1959, Venus.
Image result for frankie avalon venus wiki

Sunday, January 15, 2017

I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face


I’ve grown accustomed to her face.

 

Believe or not, most guys focus on the face when first meeting the heroine.

Fear not, my dear heroine, you need not complain that you were given your father’s nose or your great aunt’s chin. Believe in your self and your inner beliefs will light up that face. It doesn’t matter what age the heroine is or how cute her face is once he notices her twinkling eyes, happy smile and loving personality. He’ll soon be hooked. Good as gutted and flayed.

Most men have preconceptions of what is an attractive face. They may be searching for someone with the looks of Jennifer Lopez, Halle Berry or a Sandra Bullock. But, when an objectively* ordinary face is lit up by the soul all those preconceptions melt away. *Static beauty is very similar to objective beauty. It's like standing at a dance and actually dancing. Both static and objective are appropriate for a museum but a girl’s heart is what makes her face come alive.

Guys ain’t perfect, however. Men also happen to notice the figure. But again a figure in movement beats any static photoshoot. A good figure is fine, but the way the heroine walks or her body language speaks, tell a man so much more. None of us can transcend physical attraction because that’s part of the universe’s plan, so the heroine may have her father’s nose, as long as it isn’t Pinocchio’s proboscis.

I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face, sung by Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady, 1964.


 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Selling a novel without using words


Selling a novel without using words. Okay, Bob has finally gone nuts. But, here’s my point. All the writing books tell us to write with clarity. Use the who, what, where, why, how, when wherever you can and make sure to add in the senses, even paranormal ones. Don’t forget emotions, etc. But that’s not enough. Most writers know enough to get to the truth of their characters’ essence, by trying to remove their own motivations and replace it with as honest a portrayal of another person as one can. Most authors don’t want their audience to say they can sense the author’s point of view, because it may take the reader out of the story. Subtle or not, this is author intrusion.

However, there’s one place where it is usually necessary for the author to “intrude.” It’s his story and it is very likely he has a point or a theme that he wants his audience to feel, not hear very loud and clear. Otherwise, the author would be accused of being heavy handed. To me, Michael Crichton was heavy handed in his 2004 novel, State of Fear, about eco-terrorists. Perhaps I found the concept absurd because I believe in environmental issues. I enjoyed the story but couldn’t get the taste out of my mouth.

I think the best way of handling these problems is to keep your theme under your hat, write honest characters and write a damn good story. I compare this approach to weaving a musical composition through your work of fiction. It can be a symphony or a minor composition, but it must be wordless. How? Let your characters and their plights come alive in your readers’ mind. Do this and the inner harmonies of your story will be unforgettable.

I was only going to play for you Track 10 of The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), a true symphony within the Oscar winning music of Erich Wolfgang Korngold, but I realize that if you have not seen this spectacular and beyond romantic movie you wouldn’t quite get it. So, I’m also including the cute, funny and unforgettable theme of Blake Edwards’ The Pink Panther 1963, gorgeous music by Henri Mancini.


Would’st thou need words to paint this rose?


No words here either, just a pink rose and a silly panther (that my girls loved).

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