Well, where should I start? But seriously. This blog is about writing outside of the box … or gender. So as I am on day 23 of waiting for my developmental editing to come through, I have continued to write my third novel. Oh, by the way, my numbers continue to rise on my first novel, “When I Though I was Tough,” on Bookemon.com. I now have 1323 reads, 10 favorites, and 178 likes. So if you do visit that site please click the like button or join and make me your favorite. Okay, so back to the trouble with men … I am in process of writing my third book and obviously there is a strong hero (as opposed to heroine) in the story, but I’m a female. While writing the thoughts of my hero yesterday when he was watching a new mother interact with her newborn daughter, I realized something profound: what do I know about what men think?
Okay, I browsed through Women are from Venus and Men are from Mars years ago, but it didn’t amount too much for me. Men are such different creatures, and I can’t ell you how many times I’ve looked at a guy I was dating or just a guy friend and said, “how the heck did you make it out of the cave?” Seriously, guys? It’s like there is forward thinking and constant movement of progression but you are content to remain absolute or try to revert to your Neanderthal roots. But, in your favor, you are nice and cuddly and warm, and sometimes say sweet things that make us girls all gushy and want to say, “okay, we can live in a cave as long as I have you.” Now, that’s all my opinion. I won’t be writing some kind of insight into men and women, but the truth of the matter is, as a writer I sort of have to do that with my characters.
It doesn’t matter if I am writing the hero, his best friend the frat guy, or the vainglorious guy, or the nice guy who finishes last, or the dad, the older brother, the friend who is a total douche, the nerd, or the jock. They all have individual personalities but at the root of it all is testosterone and double X chromosomes. As a woman, how am I supposed to know what men really think? I can tell you what women really think, and why we do things we do, but what about men? How am I supposed to write them and sound legit? I don’t want a guy to read my novel and think: men do not do that.
My solution: people watch. Or man watch … for research (wink wink). Most of my friends growing up were guys so I think I am doing okay there. I have known the jocks, the nerds, the hot guy, the cool guy, the loner, the rebel, the douche, etc. I have a tiny bit of insight into men but not enough to even brag about. I have been married twice and in a pretty serious relationship now and all three of these guys are polar opposites (if the law of physics allows 3 polar opposites). They all outwardly think so different and it drives me insane because I don’t think I will ever figure it out. There are double standards and hidden standards within those double standards, not to mention the standards that they pretend don’t exist, the rules with bros and the rules with girls, and the rules about bros girls, and the lines they drop so easily, but sometimes reading between the lines mean they just want my opinion so this earth will continue to spin on its normal axis, but something as simple as, “where would you like to eat for dinner?” can cause uncertain negative dynamics that even the nuclear physicists at Bikini Atoll couldn’t think to predict and I have to somehow make heads or tails of it all to give my hero more depth and make him believable!?!
In the end, I just assume I know what men are thinking, but have to conversely assume I am getting it all wrong no matter how I write it. But ya know what? These are my characters and I am omnipotent and I give them life, so they will think what I tell tem to think and do what I tell them to do. So if Ben is a generous, swell guy with a heart of solid gold then so be it. Doesn’t mean he won’t kick Dale’s butt in chapter twenty-six, and just because Dale the Jerk is a prize-winning jerk doesn’t mean he won’t profess to having deep seeded Y chromosome emotions in chapter thirty-eight. They are who I tell them to be, because they are my thoughts…until an editor says otherwise. Until then I will continue to take bits and pieces of the little things I know about men and try to build it into the perfect man us women will love, or hate, or take pity on, or want t go shopping with. That is my talent. That is my gift to you.
Just when I think I have men slighty figured out this happens: My son asks my boyfriend to buy him a hamburger (9am) after he gets is haircut (boyfriend, not son). Boyfriend leaves for haircut and my son and I sit down and eat cereal. Boyfriend calls at 10am and asks if I want a burger, to which I tell him no, because I had cereal. he asks if my son still wants a burger and I’m thinking probably not since we just had cereal, but I ask anyway and my kid looks at me like this is some odd geometry questions and says, “of course I do.” I say, “but you just had cereal.” He says, “but it’s not a hamburger is it?”…..moral of the story: whatever it is I think a guy is thinking is probably wrong, but read the book anyway.