Monday, September 26, 2011

Men In Love

Good Morning My Darlings. One of the greatest joys of being a writer is that I get to make stuff up. Go into my own little world and create characters, people if you will, put them in situations and see what they do, how they react. My favorite part of being a writer is creating a man who falls in love. I know how women do it, I am a woman, (last time I checked) and we're so e-mo-tion-al. Googly, giggly, giddy, starry-eyed, e-mo-tion-al wrecks. (Okay I'll admit, yes I am.) We primp, we preen, we wonder, we talk, we discuss, we lament with our girlfriends and an-a-lyze every single thing he says and does.

I must have read 10,000 romances over the course of my lifetime. Mainly historical. And all of them have had strong, macho heroes. They react to their situation instead of analyzing everything to death. Only when they realize they're going to lose the girl do they generally start thinking about what the problem is.

Which I think is why romance is the biggest selling genre. Men are men, women love them, even when they do stupid things. Men don't really show their emotional side and we know that about them. However, in reading romance, the author does tend to do that, and we eat it up like candy. What women do you know right now has said these words, "Oh I wish my husband, boyfriend, significant other, would just open up to me and tell me what he's feeling."

I must say, in my own stories I'm guilty of the same thing. My heroes go off all stalker and stomp around hitting things, when all they really want to do is cry. Only until they realize they're absolutely going to lose the woman of their dreams do they TELL her what's what.

Tell me -- Have you ever read a book where the man TELLS the woman how he's feeling, first, before he flies off the handle and beats things up? Do you think, we, as female writers can really get into the heads of men and show their emotional side, or are we second guessing ourselves?

Apologies to any men reading this. Please by all means jump in and discuss.

36 comments:

Laura Pauling said...

No, I haven't read many books like that b/c they end up being boring. Half the conflict is gone if the man talks about this feelings!

Anne Gallagher said...

Laura -- That is so true! When I was writing the post, the only book I could think of was THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY but it's been such a long time since I read it, and with Clint Eastwood stuck in my head, I'm not sure.

Em-Musing said...

Yes, The Bridges of Madison County, one of my all time favorite stories. Oh, and if you want a man to tell you how he feels...fall in love with a Latino. They feel everything...even what you're feeling. They even cry when you cry. Being loved like that is amazing!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

We are deep thinkers, just not when it comes to feelings.

Anne Gallagher said...

Em -- Well I have heard that about Latino lovers. Perhaps in my next book I'll have one.

Alex -- LOLOLOLOLOLOL!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'm with Laura. I perfer books that don't show me the guys feelings until later on--when he's figured them out himself. It gives the book an element of suspense.

I love this line: Men are men, women love them, even when they do stupid things. :D

Linda G. said...

I couldn't think of any until I saw THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY in the comments. Yeah, that's about it. Yup, that's about it. ;)

Bish Denham said...

My hubby has always been very verbal about his feelings/emotions, very open. It's what attracted me to him, since I tend to keep things inside and to myself.

Anne Gallagher said...

Stina -- ...even when they do stupid things. I've had my share of men like this.

Linda -- I know, huh. I guess men with feelings are such a rare breed, they're almost non-existant. Even in books.

Bish -- That's good you found a man like that. I wished I had listened more when they did open up. I'd have so much fodder for my books.

jbchicoine said...

I'm sort of like Bish--I'm the one who keeps things to myself. My husband is the one who has to pry my feelings out of me. He always seems to know what he's feeling and why--great for helping me to figure myself out!

I read Bridges of Madison County so long ago that I can't even remember how the man relates. I do think you make a good point about men in novels and building tension. It doesn't matter whether it's the guy or the girl--someone's got to be withholding or there's not conflict!

Anne Gallagher said...

Bridget -- Building tension. Yes, that's what it's all about. Well, unless we're blowing up buildings or having car chases.

Amie Borst said...

ugh! i just left a huge comment and it was eaten by cyber space!

anyway, my favorite part about writing is that i get to kill people without being indicted for it! LOL

as far as romance, i don't read a lot of it, so i can't say for sure. but as far as your second question, i think female writers absolutely can successfully write a male MC with authentic feelings and emotions.

Anne Gallagher said...

Amie -- I'm sorry for the comment eating. Blogger is such a poop some days. Killing people is fun, isn't it?

It's funny, I think female writers can write men with feelings, but most men don't read romance, so they don't know if we're right or wrong.

Tara said...

I think females tend to write how they wish men were, not necessarily true to how they are. Most women are over-analyzers; men are not. After sex, I don't think they really think all those things romance novels write - I think they're content just to be happy about their partner/the sex and their brains move on to the next important [to them] thing on the list: food or sleep, etc.

Bossy Betty said...

Anne--Not sure if this is a subject I can tackle here in my current situation. Men don't talk about feelings in general is what I've (painfully) discovered.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Never really thought about this before, but "Bridges..." is probably the only book I can recollect reading where the "hero" spilled his feelings. And maybe that's why I disliked it so much? I was engaged to another fella before my hubby, and that other guy was all the time yammering about his feelings, crying if the urge hit him, etc. (Yup, he was Italian.) It got to where I wanted to scream at him to "Grow a pair, for God's sake!") My hubby of 42 years is more the suck-it-up and bottle-it-up until I drag it out of him with a tow truck kinda guy. Yeah. My kinda man.

Anne Gallagher said...

Tara -- How right you are! I think after sex, men generally just want to find out the scores of the game.

Betty -- I know Betty, and I'm so sorry for what you're going through. When they don't open up it just makes them stupidheads in my opinion.

Anne Gallagher said...

Susan -- I think I'm kind of like you in that sense. I don't particularly like crying men, although when the dog dies, I think a tear or two would be appropriate. Just tell me you love me once a day and I'll be happy.

Stephen Tremp said...

I guess I've never noticed this in books. I try to explain myself ahead of time. If I break shout out, I never hit or break anything. That's not acceptable. But in books, I think characters need to do mores, hence the breaking of things.

Lydia Kang said...

Telling them right away would be too easy and there's nothing exciting in that! So no, never read it happen like that. Congrats on your upcoming book!

Elle Strauss said...

I don't read a lot of strictly romance, but I definitely see the difference between men and woman. btw, stunning cover on your book. I didn't know you had one coming--congrats!

Anne Gallagher said...

Stephen -- It's different for men. I've known men who blog up and others who fester, although I can honestly say I've never met one who shares their feelings. I guess it depends on the author.

Lydia -- Yeah, you're right. Telling them would be too easy. Thanks.

Elle -- Big difference between men and women. Thanks, I do like the cover very much.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Men in general just don't respond that way. I've written from the POV of several male characters and it's almost liberating because they react so differently and don't see the world the way we do. As I tease my husband, men are so simple.

She Writes said...

Men do not think like women. Nor act liken women. I love men. god knows I do. But understand them? Nah. Lost!

Anne Gallagher said...

Diane -- Funny. Men are simple. Give them the remote, a beer, and a can of peanuts and they're happy.

Amy -- Understand men? That would take several lifetimes.

Elizabeth Mueller said...

you mean I haven't found your blog and followed it yet? I can't believe this! :( I love your blog and your deep thoughts. Well, you know, that's one of the biggest reasons why I stopped reading adult romances because all the men reacted the same way--like mindless beasts. Men aren't all so hot-tempered as such and it's so cliched. Sorry if I offend anyone here, but I can't stand overbearing characters...

Great post!

♥.•*¨Elizabeth¨*•.♥

Jennifer Hillier said...

I actually think men are more sensitive than women, but they just don't express their feelings well. If at all. Most of the guys I know are very deep, but it takes a lot of delicate digging to get inside. So worth it, though. :)

Anne Gallagher said...

Elizabeth -- I agree yet, it's hard to find an author who is willing to write the emotional man. Although I may have found her.

Jennifer -- You know, I think so too, and the only way they know how to deal with that emotion is to beat things up. But they do feel and they do cry. It's just so hard to capture that on paper without making them sound so wimpy.

Susan Fields said...

I totally agree with what you said in the comment right above this one. It's hard to make a man emotional without making him sound wimpy. I applaude the author who can walk that fine line!

Ann Best said...

Can't think of a book at the moment because I think my memory is getting dim. But I do remember wishing my husbands would open up emotionally! I once went to counseling with one of them. The counselor said there are two views of marriage: the male view and the female view. Men think they're being "intimate" when they "tell" you what they did at work. For women, intimacy is sharing feelings. Two views. So I think because of these differences, women eat up romances where the male finally opens up because that's what we want. But I agree with Susan. You can't make the man wimpy. It is a fine line the writer has to tread.

Thanks, Anne, for stopping by yesterday and cheering me on with my current work in progress, the memoir I'm ghost writing for my friend. It IS so difficult. Some days I'm exhausted from it and have to take a break, but I'm determined to get there. Feedback from you and other dear bloggers keeps me going. Thanks again!
Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

Roxy said...

Love this post, Anne. One of the definite perks of being a female writer is creating male characters. Typically, they're compelling, smart, tough, funny. I always fall for the hero—it's imperative that I do so the reader can as well. A hard job, but someone's got to do it . . . ;)

Travis Erwin said...

As a man who has written and read lots of romance novels I gotta say fiction is exactly that. Men are not all that different from women with the exception are lust is a hell of a lot more commanding over our lives.

Hannah Kincade said...

Fortunately, The Man is pretty blunt when it comes to how guys act. He'll read something of mine and snort, "no man would do that." And then I take a poll with my guy friends and he's usually right. Sigh. I'm not a girly girl, but I don't think 100 percent like a guy...not yet. ;)

Elliot Grace said...

...as for my take...yep, we gotta throw some stuff and make a mess first, then we'll come clean with our feelings ;)

Must be that cave man gene we all possess...still making a case for itself after all these years!

El

Liza said...

So funny. I am reading Leaving the World by Douglas Kennedy (which I may not finish, to tell the truth) and last night, a male character told a female how he felt...first. Even in the book it was noted as odd.

Nicki Elson said...

Hmm, I've actually learned to be less than trusting of the guys that are all out there with their feelings upfront. To me, any guy who does that and actually ends up being sincere has GOT to be fictional.