How to deal with “Parting is such sweet sorrow”

Tragedy has struck in my life. True and horrible tragedy.

It hasn’t directly affected me but family whom I care deeply about. I couldn’t do anything for a while. Not write. Not clean. Not cook.

It wasn’t really from sorrow or shock as one might expect. Yes, I did feel sorry for the family affected of course. But I was more put into a stasis by the simple fact of I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT.

I’ve never dealt with Death before. I was too young to have developed a relationship with any of my grandparents when they were alive and I haven’t made any elderly friends (or stupid drug addict friends or stunt devil friends) that would afford me the experience of feeling such a keen loss.

What do I do for them? Saying “I’m sorry” never seemed like a comfort to anybody. It made them cry harder in my limited scope of things. “How are you doing?” Is just a moot question and damnably tactless. I watched everyone else around me cry or get angry or be “efficient”; cooking, buying groceries, keeping an upbeat attitude, trying to distract with toys and games and movies.

What do I do? How should I feel? Feeling nothing makes me look like a soulless witch-monster. I can nod and smile with the best of them. I can offer shoulders to cry on and babysit to give relief. Those are actionable things that seem like “the right thing to do”. But it still doesn’t answer the question. How should I react to Death?

How should anybody?

Thinking about this I, naturally, applied it to my writing. (Come onnnnn you saw that coming! It’s always about writing up in the bakalove hizzzouuuuuuse!)

I’ve read about tragedy. I’ve cried over powerfully emotional scenes and the deaths of characters I grew fond of. Dumbledore’s death warranted a book thrown across the room at my door and denting the cover. The death of Prim in “Mockingjay” left me sobbing inconsolably until the end of the book. And eventually that was thrown as well. I still can’t read the end of “Where the Red Fern grows” without a box of tissues and a heaping bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.

Is this how people are supposed to react to death? Ice cream binges, throwing things, and boxes of tissues? Is this how I was supposed to WRITE tragedy because it’s how I experienced it?

Somehow I think putting these reactions on paper would seem hollow and weak. (Unless we were talking about like, a teenage break up tragedy. Then it might seem apropos.) The simple truth is that I’ve never experienced true, heart-rending, soul sucking tragedy and I can only mimic the emotions until I do.

Not that I want to. I’m fortunate in some ways to have been able to mature as an adult before having to deal with Death’s cruel miasma. I’m sure I would be able to function as I should and keep it separate from my professional life. But not having this terrible experience denies me an important part of life. I can’t write the truth about something I’ve never felt. I can only echo it.

This is why going out and expanding your world is important, as a writer and as a human being. We need adventure and challenges and tragedy to fill us out and make us wiser beings. We need to soak it all in, to ruminate on it, to accept it within ourselves and then, for those of us that ARE writers, we need to pass it on. Tell the truth about it. Remember every cut of searing pain ripping through your rib cage and every gasping, panic-stricken sob. Remember the numbness and the vehement anger.

Write it down. Tell the truth, even if it hurts. The world and your readers need it.

The Devil is in the Details: more is better

People start new stories a myriad of different ways. Sometimes it’s a flash of a scene they see in their mind’s eye or the lyrics to a song that sparks some dialogue. A specific smell might trigger it or the way someone is dressed.

I don’t know if it’s true of everyone but I like to believe that writers have a stronger connection to certain parts of a story than others so when inspiration strikes, that strength comes to the foreground.

For instance, you could be thumbing through a magazine and see a beautiful cursive type font and suddenly you see a young woman from Jane Austen’s world penning a letter over a scarred and ink-stained desk, a tendril of copper hair escaping her severe bun. Or you can hear the distant refrain from some classical Russian Ballet soundtrack and then you’re meandering down cobblestone streets, carrying a basket of fruit and bread down an alleyway to take home for dinner and you look up to admire the cloudless day in between the white washed buildings.

One is character driven inspiration and one is world driven.

When I write, I tend to be more character driven. I love the process of picking out names and giving the blank slate mannequins different personalities. I used to be really bad at creating believable characters. I would pour into them sugar, spice and everything nice on top of all my personal hopes and dreams. Guitar playing? Yep, since childhood. Knows several languages? Bein sûr! Can run 5k marathons and hike Mount Everest–without oxygen? Cake walk! And that’s just the main character.

Yeah I know >< We all start somewhere. (Keep that in mind when you’re writing!)

I’ve since learned to spread those qualities out among the entire cast. I’ve also learned that they really do need annoying habits and quirks to make them believable. I created a character that pretty much hates everything except music and death. He’s my first anti-hero and probably the most extreme character I’ve ever created. I’ve also made a character that sacrifices so much of herself for other people that she never figured out what she wanted out of life and has to journey to figure it out. Another extreme.

It was some big personal growth for me realizing how one-note my cast was and fixing it, adding to it and balancing them appropriately. I was pretty proud! I could re-read my drafts now and nod approvingly. Yes, these could be real people walking down the street. Yay me! Gold star on my forehead!

I still have more growth that needs to happen though, naturally. I realized this as I was trying to go back to writing one of my NaNoWriMo stories, “Hourglass”. In a nut shell, I abhor details.

Lemme explain.

I had my three main characters set up in this story. They had names and personalities that played off each other. They had importance in the story and provided plenty of conflict. All seemed well until I came to a flash back. Ahh crap. This means I need to provide BACKGROUND. And here, my friends, is where my downfall is while creating my characters.

Background. History. Family. Childhood.

Now these things don’t seem like they’re important in most stories. Unless you’re writing a biography or writing a lot about the character’s history, you’ll only ever really write about key events from their past to explain their current behaviors. Minimal effort put into the background may seem sufficient. Plus, this is a lot of extra work, writing down background stuff that may never end up in the story at all.

BUT MAYBE IT WILL.

I had an instance where my character basically had to go back and visit her husband in the past. She had to get answers from him that would determine her future actions. It is a rather pivotal scene that I’ve been stuck on for a long while because I never gave her enough history to augment this dialogue.

Creating history for your cast or characters can only benefit you in the long run. And the beauty of it is that you can make it as detailed or as simple as you like. If you don’t know how to start, there are tons of questionnaires out there on the internet. You can google it and come up with hundreds of results. There’s no shame in using them! There’s also no shame in changing details when you need to. Great aunt Mildred can become Great Aunt Tessie. Daddy could have died of leukemia instead of sickle-cell anemia. Favorite childhood snack could be popcorn instead of brownies.

The point of it is, to have the information on hand when it’s needed. Or even when it’s not needed. Often writers will have secrets about their characters that no one else is supposed to know, not even the readers, but sometimes they slip in anyway. Go for it! Details like that make them seem more alive and personable.

Plus, creating a character background allows you to be on-on-one with your cast. You can really get to know them, ask them questions and get answers. You’ll be able to know exactly how he/she will react in any given situation because you know them so well. They won’t act out of character when a bomb blows up their car or they’re passionately kissed by a stranger because you, as a writer, took the time to familiarize yourself with their personalities.

Yes. This is more work on top of everything else a writer is “supposed” to do but think of it as building a foundation. These details will build your stories brick by brick until you’ve created a mansion for readers to frolick through and enjoy.

Put in the work, reap the rewards!

Real or Not Real? Location, location, location!

Hello my friends. Welcome back!

Lately I’ve been thinking about locations. Why? Well, I live in southern California and recently I’ve decided that the weather is bi-polar. Yep. I’ve taken to wearing tank tops with a coat just so I’m prepared for any eventuality. Being on the coast, we have such a thing called “May Gray” and “June Gloom.” It’s a time of year where we get a cloudy maritime layer of yuck over the city for the better part of the day and the sweet Cali sun will bust through. This year the weather seems to be flip-flopping a bit more than usual and I find I have to change my clothing at least once a day to follow suit.

Annoying sometimes as a resident. Intriguing as a Writer.

This got me thinking about all the books I’ve read that were based on real cities and places. I really love it when authors do this. The fact that I could board a plane to Forks, Washington or Manhattan, New York and follow the steps of the character; see the sights they saw and ate where they ate is very appealing. There’s a kind of grounding in reality with this kind of setting. Blue sky. Green grass. Neon lights. Yapping dogs. It’s comforting and familiar and it makes me that much more connected to the book.

I’ve set my “Silver Sun” story partly in my own city. I love being able to share a walk down Main Street with my readers and describe the smell of Thai food mixing with the pizza place across the street. I can include real live people (with permission of course) that I’ve talked to, like my favorite postal worker and my cat’s veterinarian. Not to mention its kind of cheating. There’s no need to make up a city and people to interact with. They’re already pre-set for the writing!

It definitely has appeal for a writer (and a resident in my case. I’m lucky to live in my little paradise.) Even less than desirable cities and neighborhoods can make intriguing stories. “Cry, the Beloved Country” by Alan Paton comes to mind and “A Child called It” by Dave Pelzer We just wouldn’t necessarily want to GO to those places. They’re tangible locations you could put  a pin in on a map though.

Then again you can also change reality and still base it on earthly locations. A melding of the two. There’s a whole genre that has explored this phenomenon and it’s called “Fiction” with sub-genres such as Paranormal, Science Fiction, and Magical Realism. A certain percentage of the story is based on earth with cities and people who resemble reality but might have portals to other worlds or have mythical creatures walking among the humans.

I think that would be a really awesome reality to live in. This kind of setting is where I base a lot of my stories in. There’s so much freedom! To be able to blow up the Golden Gate Bridge and then rebuild it with super advanced alien technology or step through a mirror and end up in another realm is appealing to imagine, not to mention write. You can choose how much science and how much fantasy are included in your story although you run the risk of getting those ultra fussy critics that demand facts to support your werewolf metamorphosis theory.  (My husband is one of these *ROLLS EYES*)

And then there is, in my opinion, the hardest kind of setting to write. Let’s sing about it Jasmine!

~”A whollee neewww worrlllddddd! A dazzling place I never knew!”~

Sorry. There’s your ear worm for the week. But it’s true. Writing an entirely new world is a daunting task. I’ve read quite a few Epic fantasy sagas that are so rich in politics and language and lore I wonder how they ever found the time to FINISH it. “The Lord of the Rings” by J. R. R. Tolkien, “Symphony of Ages” by Elizabeth Haydon and “The Belgariad/Mallorean” series by David Eddings. So much work and thought and love went into each one of these stories. But even these are still roughly based on reality.

Creme de la Creme? Science Fiction writing. How about we take all this up to the stars? I don’t read much Science Fiction because it’s not my cup of tea but I greatly admire authors who write this genre. This is completely new territory that they literally build from scratch. So little is known about space and what IS known barely makes sense to the professionals who study it much less curious writers. However, this, in its own way, gives complete freedom to the author to write whatever they want; even more so than fantasy writers.

Advanced technology. Brand new races of people. New threats and planets and galaxies born from their imagination. New problems and conflicts and malfunctions. New issues with politics and marriage and bearing children. All off the surface of the earth into the last frontier. How amazing is that?!

I certainly don’t have the fortitude or the will to create something out of nothing. Yet. Baby steps. But deciding where you’re going to base your story changes the whole tone of it. The setting really IS its own character. Probably the most important side character ever. World building gives the reader a frame of reference to where everything is happening to the main characters and paints the canvas of your mind with color and feeling. Don’t treat it like the background that it is. Make sure you can engage all five senses when you’re writing and have your characters interact with their surroundings frequently.

Keep it real. Or fantastical ;D Your choice!

Enjoy and keep plodding.

Cowboy up!

Writing is tough. It is. Authors put parts of their souls onto paper for people to critique or love or hate. The idiots that scoff and wave their hands and say writing is easy obviously have never tried. Not seriously anyway.

In a way, writing is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life. Even giving birth to my two children was easy compared to this. The pain was temporary and the joy is endless. Not so with a novel. You toil much and edit mercilessly for a manuscript that MIGHT get published or most likely, will get rejected.

I failed my challenge this month. I failed my 52k in May. I had a lot of life-changing shit going on so excuse me for not being able to concentrate on making my dreams come true. Even professional writers get reprieves for this kind of stuff.

I’m not as upset by this as I used to be. I used to beat myself up every NaNoWriMo I didn’t win. I realize now that there’s no rush to make this particular dream come true because I can get published at any age and there’s a whollleeeeee lot I need to learn before that can happen anyway.

The most important lesson I’ve learned over the last couple years is this:

Dust yourself off. Get on the bull again. Cowboy up!

Cowgirl…whatever.

I got knocked on my ass. I took a break despite many blogs advising against it. (Taking advice is another part of my journey I suppose.) Things are still shaky and weird and the writing momentum is completely lost. So now it’s time to build myself back up. I won’t be able to write 2K a day but I CAN write everyday. That’s more important anyway. Write until it becomes habit. It’s the foundation of every novelist.

This is one of the reasons I say writing is one of the hardest things to do, especially for nublets. Changing habits can be hard. Learning to set aside time to write and make it a priority when everything else is also pressing against you wanting to be number one priority as well is exhausting to sort out. It feels like when you bring one thing closer and focus on it, everything else goes to crap.

Exercise more and the house suffers.

Cook and eat healthier and the writing suffers.

Write more and the family suffers.

I bet you didn’t know you’d have to learn to juggle when you decided to become a writer huh? Yeah me either.

I know it’s all about balance and finding the routine that works for you. But even this can crumble under the overwhelming circumstances. So what do ya do?

COWBOY UP.

Get right back on it. Accept the fact you failed this time and you probably will many more times afterward. But never sink low enough to be a quitter. Remember this is the path you chose. You didn’t choose it because it was easy. You chose your dream and now you have to follow it.

“Does the walker choose the path or the path choose the walker?”~ Abhorsen, Garth Nix

Even if it’s by a thread, hang on. Face the fear of failure and conquer it by choosing everyday to write one word. Ten words. Five hundred words. Take a break if you need; reevaluate your priorities if you need. You can change the direction of your path. Just don’t quit on it completely.

My grip on this concept is tenuous at best right now. I remember when I started this I was going to have novels piled on more novels and I was going to make millions and put my girls through college. I was going to tour the US and Europe like J.K. Rowling and be famous and then take a sojourn to my little castle on a hill somewhere with my herd of Pit Bull doggies.

That’s still possible. It’s just a much farther off vision than I anticipated. I’m scared it won’t ever happen. But that’s why having a solid foundation of good writing practices is important. Start at the base and then build your pillars. If they fall down, build them again, stronger. And above all don’t EVER give up.

Just don’t.

COWBOY UP instead.

Do Re Mi–dafah is Writing Voice?

Voice is the author’s style, the quality that makes his or her writing unique, and which conveys the author’s attitude, personality, and character; or. Voice is the characteristic speech and thought patterns of the narrator of a work of fiction. ~(Taken from www.thebalance.com)

Go to your book shelf and pick a book by a favorite author.

Now pick another book from a different favorite and set it beside the first.

Open to the first page and read a chapter out of both.

They’re different right? Well, obviously they’re different but can you explain HOW? Can you describe specifics other than the novels aren’t the same genres or reading levels? (Saying they have a certain “Je ne sai quoi” is cheating btw.)

“It’s tone,” you might say. “Like the authors are writing with different accents or dialects.”

Or you might say it’s the way the sentences are structured. Maybe in the first novel they are short and gruff. In the other they may be beautifully sculpted, rolling trippingly off the tongue. Maybe they’re as dense and hard as stale bread. However the writing may be, you should be able to pick up any book by the same author and instantly recognize it as theirs. Different story, different plot line and characters maybe but still distinctly THEM. Why?

Writer’s voice should be consistent,  like speaking to a friend or receiving a letter from them. The way they curse a lot or the way they dot their “i”s with little hearts. If they speak softly or write ONLY WRITE IN CAPITAL LETTERS should be instantly recognizable as this specific friend. You’d recognize it anywhere. Authors have branded each of their stories with their own unique thumbprint; it is something they’ll be known for forever after, no matter how many books they write.

This concept is perhaps one of the most difficult I think for young writers to grasp because it’s not something that can be TAUGHT. Plot, characterization, pacing, arcs…these can all be taught and perfected with time. Voice cannot. It’s something every writer has to discover for themselves through the process of writing. For some it might take a couple of novels to figure out. For others it may come quickly and naturally.

I find myself in an in between category when it comes to discovering my own writer’s voice. When I write my blog posts or my flash fiction, I find that the writing style is bold and consistent. A little passionate sometimes maybe but it flows from one subject to another smoothly. At least in my opinion it is does. I rather enjoy that it is that way currently and that it is a reflection of my true self.

However.

(Yes you knew that was coming.)

Thus far I have limited myself to only writing short stories or flash fiction, usually fantasy or reality based. I’ve also had a steady diet of YA fiction in my reading lately, which explains the writing preferences.

BAD JESSIE! SPIT IT OUT!! SPIT OUT THE YA FICTION THIS INSTANT!

Awwww.

Writing fiction makes me feel confident and competent. I’m safe to bull shit safely within it’s walls because anything and everything goes. But it limits me as a writer. In a way, it’s taking the easy way out as compared to writing Nonfiction or poetry or even a genre I don’t read, like horror, subjects that require research and deep thought.

(Did I just make a blond joke out of writing fiction? I didn’t mean to. I’m sorry!)

Now it’s never bad to be thoroughly versed in one category before moving onto another. Being able to have an anchor to safely return to in this crazy writing world is a GOOD idea. Trying to have a finger in every pie as a beginner will likely confuse and deflate a budding writer. To really be certain that you’ve had a balanced diet though, you should explore different types of writing and reading. Penning a dark macabre flash fiction should still sound like you as much as the romance novella and the only way you’ll be able to achieve that is by knowing what you’re writing.

Telling a different story with the same voice takes practice and it’ll take some time for you to recognize it. Even longer to carry it throughout your career.

I guess I don’t really have much to say on this because I’m just discovering my own Writer’s voice but I felt I had to write about it so it’ll be on the list of subjects I can come back to eventually and expand upon.

Do Rei Mi! Good luck with your writing scales and arpeggios! 😉 I look forward to hearing your sweet new voices ^_^

52k in May: We will writes the nasty wordses—

And so it begins.

I’m going to run the gauntlet. I’m going to do a trial by fire. I’m–going to write. And I will hates it.

I was challenged to do a Camp NaNoWriMo this month by my bestie Owen. I think it’s because he loves me and wants me to succeed but it might be a little bit because he’s tired of hearing me whine. “I want to be a published author wah wah wah! It’s hard to write waaahahhaah!!” Poor guy. He’s my unofficial editor (and psychologist) and he only gets paid in gratitude.

“SO WRITE.” <–passive aggressive voice of Owen.

Wha…? His demand startled me out of my latest tantrum.

“You’re going to do another NaNo in May.”

“Whoa wait! What?!”

“Fifty two thousand words. Thirty one days. NO complaints. NO getting out of it. DO IT. (Rewards and punishments to follow).”

Owen doesn’t make demands. Ever. So of course I had to do it. And it will indeed be a trial by fire because on top of this I have to deal with deep emotional crap from just about everyone I know AND allergies AND my exercise routines. Yee haw. I’d better come out of this rock hard and ready to be a savvy published novelist .-.

LETS DO THIS THING!!!!

As I thought about this challenge though and May 1st was drawing nearer, I realized that as simple as the challenge was, basically 2k words a day, I wasn’t going to be satisfied just writing short stories or flash fiction everyday. I mean, it would definitely give me a leg up on my blog but it wouldn’t put a stop to my whining. I needed to complete something; beginning, middle and end. So I added the challenge to my growing list.

As we all know, however, first projects are usually crap. There are a few exceptions that have published best sellers right out of the gate but so many authors I know have misses because it’s their first. They haven’t found their voice yet or locked in the secret to a  successful plot arc. Whatever the case. I kept this in mind as I perused my story ideas and realized I didn’t want my first rough draft, the one that would be my first guinea pig, to be a story I cared deeply about like Silver Sun or Hourglass.

Okay, I care deeply about all my stories. Don’t get the wrong idea.

I care enough to want to write them, after all. This was different. The stories that have stayed with me for years I wished to give my best and most honest effort to. I want them to be the best versions I can make them and that requires more practice from me. So I chose something instead that I haven’t outlined to death but has a good strong foundation. (I’m a pantser at heart. My best work comes out of that.) It was a plot bunny story that wouldn’t leave me alone a few months back.

So far, I’m sure you’ll be happy to hear, this has been working for me! Within the first two days I wrote 5K in this plot bunny story and I like the hook. It starts out with drama and eases the reader into the strange world the book takes place in. (Apologies for being vague. It’s still an ugly baby story and I must protect it!)

Day three I finished a 4K blog post short story

Day four I had four different visitors to my house and wrote in between conversations.

Day five I had…a very big development in my personal life that confounded me so I only wrote 600, understandably.

Now it is day six and I am trying my very hardest to get back on track, in spite of my turmoil. Because that’s what writers do, don’t they? Which brings me around to the title of this post.

This is perhaps the first time in my writing career that I have forced myself to write when I didn’t want to. Yep. I’m pretty much the adult version of a child throwing down her toys and declaring in a screechy voice that I WILL NOT be doing my chores today.

C’monnnnn we’ve all been there! There’s shopping to do, cars to wash, kids to wrangle, toe nails to clip…no time to write! Or we’ll use one of those excuses given to us by the writers that have come before us. “Yes, it’s okay to take a little break. Recharge your brain. Go relax and come back when you’re ready.”

Yeeeep. Legit “get out of jail free” cards from the Pros. BYE! Netflix and popcorn. Just one or two episodes….or binge watch 13 Reasons Why. It’s okay. Go for it.

AS IF!

Writing is hard. It’s especially hard when inspiration has left you and you have to pound out one word after another, hating every damnable letter. These are the moments where authors have to dig in deep. You and your novel are married. You have to sit down now, have a long talk, and muscle through it. You have no other choice because this is your dream.

I have to put my big girl panties on in times like these. I need to get serious. Think of it as practice for when I have a REAL deadline form a REAL agency. Getting paid to write books. Have to develop good habits now while I’m still a tender young thing, ready to be molded and taught. I know this now so I’m going to force my way through it. Even if it takes many shots of alcohol, three walks a day and a full hour of exercise to get my frustrations out, I will write gawd bless it! I can always go back and edit the crap that I wrote but I can’t edit NOTHING.

So I will writes, but I will hates it. One step closer to the big leagues. I hope.

You too! Keep going!

Mars VS. Venus (No, this is not about Sailor Moon)

The first draft of my #7 “Mother Project” story, More than words I sent to my bestie Owen for review. I needed his opinion since part of the story involved a guy’s point of view. It’s a bit of an emotionally charged piece about a man who finally confesses his love for his long time best friend. I know I needed to push myself outside my comfort zone so this happened. Men emotions are alien creatures to me though. Men are enigmas. I needed back up.

I thought I’d done an OK job on the story. The MC wasn’t blubbering or word vomiting his feelings. He did guy things like fist bumps and spoke in short concise sentences. He was able to function normally at his job and nobody saw anything was wrong. That’s very “guy” right? Ha.

“He still sounds like a girl.”

It was the first thing Owen said to me after finishing reading.

My reaction: *Sad face* D,:

I’m sure he heard my heart plummet to the floor.

Even more sad is the fact he couldn’t tell me how to fix it. Or wouldn’t because he’s a butt and thought it would be “cheating”. Greaaaattttttt. This is what I get for toeing the comfort line. Alright. I had two options. Find a guy in the immediate vicinity that would actually be willing to talk in depth about his psyche (I rank this phenomenon up there with winged flying pigs)…or turn to the ever comprehensive blogosphere.

Ahhh thank gawd for internet. Pinterest, especially.

I found several helpful articles that outlined some great pointers about Male Point of View. It was a relief I didn’t have to pull this out of my writer’s Hat of diminishing Magic Tricks. I ate up every word, amazed and thankful there are SOME men out there willing to give an account of their inner workings (THANK YOU).

So here’s the break down of the male POV, generalized of course since there are always facets and fractions to everything:

  1. Any problem they face will normally be dealt with in a physical manner first. Immediate action.
  2. When they talk to other guys, it’s usually about one or two shared interests such as sports, cars, music, sports, politics, religion, sports or the occasional stamp collection. Also, if he can make them laugh, then he’ll do so. Goes for men and women.
  3. When they talk to women, it depends on if they think the woman likes them or not. Either potential love interest or deep friend-zone “one of the guys”. Guys, apparently, cannot have platonic friendships with women so this is the way they’re categorized. (I find this completely off in my world but whatever…)
  4. Guys will normally hide their inner feelings unless it is an extreme case, such as death or a harsh break up. This is what they’re taught. They CAN cry. They just reserve the tears until they have no other choice.
  5. On understanding women: believe or not, most men DO listen women and understand. They just don’t know what to do about it. This is partly the woman’s fault if she can’t communicate what she wants to him. Which brings me to the final point…
  6. Men aren’t psychic. They DO NOT know what is in a woman’s mind (thankfully). They don’t catch subtle cues or flirting. They don’t know what the should and shouldn’t do in every given situation. Women, throw them a frickin’ bone. Making the first move will put them at ease.

I want to remind you this is a GENERAL list culminated from the articles and interviews I’ve read. No one male will fit all this criteria so please don’t flame me. I respect all personalities and quirks and flaws! It adds character.

Ah, speaking of characters…

Now that I’ve outlined the male POV, it’s time to do the hard part. The other hard part I mean. Time to apply it to my writing. With a brutal and scrutinizing eye, I cut out mushy paragraphs. I shortened lengthy emotional inner monologues. To the other characters my MC interacted with, he was totally 100% cool male. Okay. DONE. But how the heck do I convey he’s hurting inside to the audience and still make him sound male??? “I miss her” just doesn’t cut it. Or does it? It’s more than that surely! Isn’t it? Guys??

What a conundrum. It really worried me that I would fail at this first tiny test I gave myself. I wanted to give it a fair shot, even though I knew it wouldn’t be anywhere near perfect. I considered reaching for the books on my shelves for hard core examples of Male POV. Do you know how hard I had to search? Seriously. I had “Harry Potter”, “Percy Jackson”, “Eragon” and book 1 of “The Dresden Files” to guide me through male POV. Those are the only books I’d read that had male leading characters that I could find in a pinch. (I have 6 book cases double stacked guys…gimme a break, kay?)

The industry, it seems, has a distinct lack of male protagonist novels. Or I’m just not picking them up off the shelves. I wish I could say that this put a fire in my belly to write the Next Great American Fiction Series with an Epic Male Leading Character. It didn’t. They say write what you know and man language is Swahili to me. I’m still trying to write one COMPLETE novel, much less one with a male MC. I’ll stick to short jaunts in flash fiction for now, thanks.

But there’s nothing stopping YOU! Go for it! You’ve got the basics right here in one nifty little blog post plus the plethora of other articles out there.

I’m not sure I aced this Male POV test but I DID publish the short story as proof I was brave enough to try. It definitely still needs work, but at least it’s out there, right? I’m going to be putting out part two on Thursday, which is from the female’s POV. Pssshhh it’s in the bag… HA.

I have to say over all though I enjoyed researching for this challenge. It’s one of the goals I want to achieve this year. I want to be more informative and less opinion based writing my blog articles. It’s one thing to write all about me but now I hope that you can take something away as well. Inspire each other, right? Write.

WRITE! Expand. Experiment. Be Brave. Go do it!