After I finished the first chapter of No Holly for Christmas I decided to take it out for a test run and enter it in some
contests. Then, if it didn’t do well I could make some changes, or scrap the whole project before I had too much time invested.
It did surprisingly well, scoring a 9 and 9.5 out of 10 in both contests. What did the judges suggest to make it better? Well, not much except to comment that one of the main character’s (Brian) thoughts were too feminine at times.
And so I started to think. How do I—a woman—write and think like man? I had already tried to keep his thoughts concise—I know men don’t like to spend too much time analyzing things. So, what do men think about?
Then, I thought about a scene I had written where Brian was looking at a picture of Holly at her cotillion. How I had described the cushion she was perched on. How my editor had called attention to the fact that a guy wouldn’t notice what she was sitting on.
Only, when I took out the description of the cushion somewhere in the back of my head I heard the random voice of a creative writing professor, speaking for some reason with a British accent, and scolding me . . .
“But what kind of cushion was it, my dear. A good writer always paints a clear mental picture for the reader.”
So, according to some, when you’re in the male point of view you don’t have to be specific about anything but breast size?
But do men only think about sex all the time. I’ve heard they also muse about having power. To make Brian more masculine maybe instead of having him lash out at the judge for being the same man who spends every night sleeping next to the only woman he’d ever loved, I should have had him planning to unseat the judge, take over the bench, assume his power and thus win back the love of his life, so he could be the one sleeping next to her.
And, we’re back to sex again.
What about money? Men also think about being wealthy, having a big house, fast car, cool motorcycle (my husband), and a sexy chick (arguably, also my husband). All of these accomplishments feed their competitive streak. The hunter/gatherer bringing home the biggest kill to his family so all the other men will envy him, thus putting him at the top of the heap. The alpha male.
Sex, power and money.
So, instead of having Brian lamenting about the injustice of being pulled into his father’s unrealized expectations, I should have begun the book with him chagrinned about the how unfair it is that Hugh Heffner came up with the Playboy concept before he was even born and could think of it himself???
Hmmm, now Brian just sounds like a jerk. How do I make him masculine without turning him into a pig?
Maybe in my next book I’ll just stay in the heroine’s POV.