Monday, August 25, 2008

He's a Guy

This is a long post so I’m starting with Brynn’s daily list of things to do first.

Things to do today:

1. Read all about Kaenar Langford’s travel to the fetish fair. I seriously didn’t know there was such thing. Kaenar’s posts are always entertaining. Check it out.

2. Go buy ALL THREE of total-e-bound’s new releases today. Carol’s books are always fantastic. I have personally read both J.P. and Aurora’s books and they are their best to date. In fact J.P.’s book is one of the best novels I’ve read this year. Get it. Devour it. Then turn around and read Aurora’s sweet little short. Hot but sweet. You won’t be sorry you did.

3. Take a look at promo items for RT. Starting early never hurts.

4. Water your plants – OMG! When was the last time I watered Fred!!!

I came across a song yesterday that made me smile…and it made me think. About writing. Imagine that. It reminded me of one of the things romance authors are most often guilty of: feminization of their heroes. Okay…yes, we want them to be the “perfect” men, but they’re men. This is one of the things I work very very very hard to get right in my books. I talk to men, ask them questions, read Men’s Health, read male psychology books. One things I decided way back when was to get it right.

I know there’s one thing I get wrong…one male critique partner told me straight out, but I’m not changing it. He told me my guys think too much. Okay. Maybe. Not turning them into cavemen types. Personally, I think 90% of the romance is head. You take away the hero thinking and you’re down to 45% and the kind of book that drives me nuts.

But I digress… Have you ever watched Bedazzled with Brendan Fraser and Elizabeth Hurley? I think sometimes we try to turn our heroes into that dolphin lovin’, sensitive artist boy. A nice thought and what we all think we want…but really who do we gravitate toward? The bad boys. The alphas.

Because we still want the guys we read about to be guys. Even if we don’t write alpha types, it’s good to remember that guys see things differently than we do. Yes, they think differently. I’ve learned this the hard way while I’ve been raising two boys. The phrase “what were you thinking” often comes to mind, then I remember…they’re boys. How I look at the world and how they look at the world are two different things.

I think this is important to remember in male/male books too. How easy is it to make one of the characters ultra-feminine. Really, if you’re gonna do that, why don’t you write a traditional m/f book? These are men. Yes, their sexual orientation is different, but they’re men. One must remember this, and I find a whole lot of authors don’t.

Back to the dolphin lover…it’s okay if your guy writes poetry, or is an artist, or is a nature lover or is a pacifist more intent on other’s feelings than his own (this last one by itself could totally cross the line to wuss), but can he be all of them and arouse the reader and keep her reading?

Something to think about. I’ve often questioned “Would a guy really think/do that?” We should all ask this.

Below, I’ve pasted that song that got me thinking. It’s I’m Still a Guy by Brad Paisley (author of some of the best guy songs in the world) . I think every romance author should read it before they sit down to write. He makes some very good points.

When you see a deer you see Bambi
And I see antlers up on the wall
When you see a lake you think picnic
And I see a large mouth up under that log
You're probably thinking that you're going to change me
In some ways well maybe you might
Scrub me down, dress me up but remember no matter what
I'm still a guy

When you see a priceless French painting
I see a drunk, naked girl
You think that riding a wild bull sounds crazy
And I'd like to give it a whirl
Well love makes a man do some things he ain't proud of
And in a weak moment I might walk your sissy dog, hold your purse at the mall
But remember, I'm still a guy

I'll pour out my heart
Hold your hand in the car
Write a love song that makes you cry
Then turn right around knock some jerk to the ground
'Cause he copped a feel as you walked by

I can hear you now talking to your friends
Saying, "Yeah girls he's come a long way"
From dragging his knuckles and carrying a club

And building a fire in a cave
But when you say a backrub means only a backrub
Then you swat my hand when I try
Well, what can I say at the end of the day
Honey, I'm still a guy

I'll pour out my heart
Hold your hand in the car
Write a love song that makes you cry
Then turn right around knock some jerk to the ground
'Cause he copped a feel as you walked by

These days there's dudes getting facials
Manicured, waxed and botoxed
With deep spray-on tans and creamy lotiony hands
You can't grip a tacklebox

With all of these men lining up to get neutered
Getting out of being feminized
I don't highlight my hair
I've still got a pair
Yeah honey, I'm still a guy

Oh my eyebrows ain't plucked
There's a gun in my truck
Oh thank God, I'm still a guy

Great song, huh? I loved it. I listened to it yesterday while I was writing. I’m still participating in Kelly’s Challenge. Yesterday I ended up with 5,613 words. Yes I’m counting every single one. No rounding for me. I’m less than 4000 off my goal for the week and I have a few days to go. I’ll hit the mark today and pass it.


Dakota Rebel said...

Show off. LOL.

I try really hard not to make my hero's wusses. And I have tried to tell my editor that my character's heads are empty, like a boys, but she just doesn't believe me. So I always have to fix it. I have just started into the M/M but I am hoping I haven't fallen victim to this.

You're completely correct that romance is a mental thing. LOL. That's not what I meant but it probably works. If the characters are not constantly thinking about each other, and what they are feeling toward each other, you'll never know they are in love. It isn't believable when they say they love each other if they have both spent three hours thinking about a ham sandwhich. So to speak. Even if real guys do that all the time.

Dakota Rebel

By the way, if your not careful this blog is going to turn into a habit. Not that I'm telling you what to do or anything. ;)

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Writing guys is the fun part, though. Because in many ways they're so much more straightforward than women in their thinking. And they get to be really snarky.

Brynn Paulin, Author of sassy erotic romance. said...

LOL Dakota!!

Cindy: absolutely!!! I love writing guys more than anything else. I have to be carefull not to make it all guy point or view which for me would be terribly easy.

Anny Cook said...

Heh. Yep, they're an entirely different species. I love that Brad Paisley song. I remember when I first heard it, I thought that was written for romance writers!

Good blog!

Bronwyn's Blog said...

I never believed that boys were hardwired differently...until I gave birth to some. I now know the truth - lol.

Writing guys who are actually guys is something I struggle with, but the song serves as a good reminder. And hopefull I've gotten better. :)

Jennifer Armintrout said...


Seriously, Brendan Fraser in that scene used to make my unusually sensitive male roommate run from the room, because he was so embarrassed for the guy.

Desiree Holt said...

I agree about the head part. I am married to the alpha of all alphas and he's still big in the thinking department. He helps me a lot with my male characters, dialogue and internal thoughts. And soemtimes I'll sxay, okay, if this were you, what would you say or do? But he's got his softr side, too, and like Brad Paisley says, whatever, he's still a guy. I personally love to know what's going on in my hero' head. I want him to be a lot more than just a roller coaster ride. Whew! I meant this to be a short comment!

Smut Girl said...

Oh my god! What? What? Were there words in that blog? Look, it is totally unfair of you to post pictures of men who look like that and then expect me to read words, too. That is an irrational expectation.

Is one of them Fred? I could take Fred off you hands for you...

kaenar said...

I love writing m/m sex scenes and the more alpha the two males, the sexier I think it is. But maybe that's just in my own mind. LOL Thanks for including me in your blog. Enjoy the trip to the Fetish Fair. Maybe you'll find something you like. It was an eye opener.


Ashley Ladd said...

I used to get the feedback from critique partners that my men were too alpha, aka jerks. So I've tried to tone them down and keep them real men. My editor's not said anything to me so I hope my heroes are okay. I hope she'd tell me if they weren't. :)

As I'm writing more M/M and MMF, this is really great to think about. I'm wondering now if one of my heroes in my current MM wip is too feminine.

But you know, I've known guys who go around waxing poetic about musicals and have to match their socks to the rest of their outfits and get into a snit when they're mom's coming to town because they're afraid everything isn't perfectly ordered in their house. This all seems rather effeminate to me. And it's real life. So...maybe I'm still a bit confused.

Molly Daniels said...

What's that joke again...women need wine, candles, and chocolate to get them 'in the mood', and they guy just needs to see you naked? LOL:)

Lisabet Sarai said...

Sorry, Brynn, but I think I know different men than you do! Or maybe I'm attracted to different types of men. I love the thinking type - I blogged about the appeal of nerds a couple of months ago.

I don't believe that "thinking" is primarily a feminine trait, although I do agree that many men approach problems differently than women. Anyway - it's a thought-provoking post! (And I do like the song, but remember, we need to avoid caricature, too!)

Brynn Paulin, Author of sassy erotic romance. said...

Ah Lisabet, you misunderstand. I love thinking men. My husband happens to be absololutely brilliant. That's one of the reasons I refuse to change the heroes I write despite what I've been told.

And I would never suggest a charicature. I'm suggesting we don't make our heroes into women with penises. I love men. I love their varied way of thinking -- and I think we should appreciate that.

Kelly Kirch said...

I love that song. Okay, pretty much anything Brad does, I love. All his songs speak the truth so humorously that you have to just nod your head and agree.

Caley Greene said...

It's a great song and post! Definitely a good reminder.