Friday, November 25, 2011

Writing the Male POV with guest blogger Rita Henuber

Happy Thanksgiving!

Amanda is taking the next month or so off while she settles back in to life with a newborn. The new little man hasn't arrived -- yet -- but he's due shortly, so her buddy Rita Henuber is here today instead.

Male and female brains are hardwired differently. When it comes to love and relationships men are lousy communicators. Guys express themselves differently than gals and are not as complicated as women want to make them. Therefore writing Y chromosome dialogue can be challenging.

Take it back a million years. Females were driven to search out a strong mate to protect and provide for her and her offspring. The little woman stayed home and home schooled the kids teaching them not to play in dinosaur poop, to stay away from the fire, and quit rolling the family's only wheel down the hill. To relax, she painted her life on the cave walls and depicted how much she missed her guy.

Males were driven to spread their seed, pound their chest, protect their offspring from the dinosaurs, make the fire, and grump when the wheel got chipped. When he came back to the cave from a hunt and the little woman asked how it went, he grunted. To catch up on what happened while he was gone he checked out the cave wall and he found out how much she missed him and what she liked. -eyebrow wiggle here- .
So what's changed? Women still look for a protector and provider. Men are still driven to spread… well, we know, and they still grunt when you ask them a question. Each species has evolved and wants more from their mate. Men and women both want to be in a good relationship and find true love.

They still communicate those needs in different ways.

We as writers have to remember to put that difference on the page. Don't mess with the hard wiring and make your heroes so perfectly fit the mold we women want that they no longer fit the male species mold.

Start with the differences in the way we talk. Have you noticed we women tend to qualify what we say be ending the sentence with a question? "This color looks good on me, don't you think?" Guys do not do that.

Ask a guy a question that requires a yes or no -Do you want to ride into town with me?- men will answer yes or no. Ask a woman and she may say: "yes, but can we stop at mall first cause I want to exchange these pants I bought the other day. They're too long. If you don't want to stop it’s a no."

When writing dialogue for a guy the less words used the better. Men cut to the chase. They don't hem and haw and beat around the bush. They say what's on their mind. "Nice dress. Take it off." (From a Janet Evanovich book)

Then we have feelings- whoo O-O feel….ings.

Does your hero tell your heroine how he feels? Does he answer her when she asks how he feels? If the answer is yes then take a break and let's talk.

Even though you want your hero to be the man we gals want, having him talk about feelings early on could be asking your reader to suspend beliefs a bit too far.

Guys will gladly tell you what they think, but what they feel…? Try this experiment. Ask you DH, SO, any guy what they feel about a topic you know they are interested in. A couple of days later ask them what they think about it. In my tests the- how do you feel- got blank stares, a "huh?" and "that sucks." On the- what do you think,- I had a five minute monologue and way more information than I wanted.

What's the difference to a guy? The survey says: a guy is sure about what he thinks, but with his feelings he doesn't want to look like a fool to his woman. Men are intimidated by the fact women are born with a masters degree in talking about feelings. Also, they figure if everything is okay in the relationship she won't want to talk about feelings. Talking about feelings when things are going well, throws a guy out of the game. He gets nervous. Only after a relationship grows and he wants to make her happy does he begins to open up about his feelings. He doesn't exactly like it, but when she lets him know how worthwhile he is he becomes more willing to expose his own insecurities and sacrifice his comfort zone for her. Like, TALK about how he FEELS.

In general,a man feels his sacrifices show his love. Men love that power struggle, love to be in control and those sacrifices, big or small, will mostly center around that. It can be something as simple as letting his woman pick the radio station in the car when he wants to listen to the game. He derives great satisfaction when she acknowledges that sacrifice with a simple thank you, or a smile. I'm not saying a guy should forgo flowers on her birthday. I'm saying write smart. Show love in more than one way.

To wrap up. When writing the guys POV, use less words. Get to the point. Cut through the unnecessary. Consider subtle ways of him showing his love and showing her understanding that's what he's doing. Sounds like romance to me.


Rita Henuber is the author of UNDER FIRE, released this summer by Carina Press.

Coast Guard helicopter pilot Olivia Carver is on a very personal mission. Her twin brother, an undercover officer, was murdered by a drug cartel and she won’t stop until she finds the man responsible for his death.

In the course of her own investigation, Olivia meets informant Rico Cortes. He’s mysterious and sexy and despite her reservations, the two share a night of passion. But Rico turns out to be more than a one-night stand. He’s a DEA agent, deep undercover in Miami’s drug world, and possibly the one man who can help Olivia find the justice she seeks.

When Rico realizes his cover is blown, he isn’t sure whether it was someone in the cartel or an inside agent. Olivia is the only one he can trust and together they venture on a dangerous, rogue mission to infiltrate a drug lord’s inner circle…with Olivia as bait.


Maureen A. Miller said...

To wrap up. When writing the guys POV, use less words. Get to the point. Cut through the unnecessary. Consider subtle ways of him showing his love and showing her understanding that's what he's doing. Sounds like romance to me.

Excellent point, Rita. Internal musings of a man far differ from that of a woman.

krisgils33 said...

Interesting blog. Thanks for sharing. Loved, loved, loved your book Under Fire. Will you have more out soon???

Rita said...

Thanks Maureen. Men just aren't as complicated as we make them out to be

Unknown said...

Excellent post, Rita. So, so true.

Rita said...

Kris- Thank you for the compliment
No dates for follow up books but stay tuned for more kick ass heroines and the hot men they love

Rita said...

Hi Shirley. Thanks for visiting.

Kate Worth said...

It's so true. Men do not "share" unless forced. On my first day at a new job where I was the only woman, I asked one of my new coworkers if he had any children. In a brief conversation, he told me he had one son who was married and lived in California. Another male coworker turned around and said, "You have a son, Arthur?” Assuming one of them was relatively new, like me, I asked, "How long have you worked together?" The answer... five years! Women know those types of things within five minutes of meeting.

Rita said...

Kate- OMG!!!What a perfect example.
Thank you for sharing.

Barbara said...

As usual Miss Rita, great post. Men are definitely from Mars. We gals talk about our feelings, men don't. We assume their minds work like ours, NOT! Thank goodness for the need for procreation or we'd never get together!

Rita said...

HA! Barbara you are toooo funny!

Bev Pettersen said...

Enjoyed this post, Rita. Right on:) especially grinned at the grunting...

Rita said...

Thanks Bev. Funny how that grunting thing has survived through time.

Robin Kaye said...

Rita - Great blog!

One of the biggest differences I see in men and women is the need of men to fix everything. When a woman tells her man something is bothering her, he's looking for ways to solve the problem, when woman of today don't usually need a man to fix things, we just need them to listen to us, and possibly brainstorm ways for us to fix it ourselves.

Rita said...

Eggxackerly Robin. If you want or need sympathy talk to you mother or a friend. Want a problem taken care of, talk to a man.

Diane Kelly said...

Great post! And I have to say, my conversations with my 16-year old son remind me every day how men and women think and communicate very differently! : )

Rita said...

Diane I understand. Having 4 Y chomos in the house was an education