Monday, July 11, 2011

Writing from a Man's Point of View

By Minnette Meador (Guest Blogger)

Here is what this amazing blog asked me to write about:

“It sounds from the blurb like GHOST OF A CHANCE is a M/F story told primarily from the point of view of the hero. If this is true, it's unusual in the romance world (I applaud that!). So what made you choose this point of view? Are you at all worried that romance readers will find it strange or be put off by it?”

I LOVE this question, mostly because it addresses something near and dear to my heart; how point of view changes the timbre of a book and introduces a whole new element into a story.

I come into romance from a very different platform; I began my career writing epic fantasy. In that genre I had to write from several different POVs (point of views), including men, women, mythical creatures, and powerful gods. I sharpened my writing chops by imagining what it would be like to be a non-human creature. It was very difficult, but very educational as well.

Here’s the interesting thing: The first time I wrote my fantasy book twenty years ago, I put in a gnarly old wizard, with long white hair and beard; you know, your stereotypical Gandalf character. When I came back twenty years later to re-write the book for publication, I did something outrageous; I turned the wizard into a wickedly cantankerous, wonderfully alive, beautiful older woman. It changed the book completely, gave it heart and warmth, opened up amazing angles from a romantic side, from a compassionate side, and made my other characters react completely differently. The book turned from a meager copy-cat fantasy into something really special. That’s what I hope I’ve done with A Ghost of a Chance.

I have five boys and one husband and most of my young life I had men friends instead of women friends. It’s given me a unique perspective, I think. That coupled with the fact that I like to write a bit outside the box, it just seemed natural to have this first book in the series from Keenan’s POV. During long conversations with my husband and a dear friend who happens to be a very good male romance writer, I struggled with the concept of the male mind. But after long cups of coffee at Starbucks, I think I finally got it; men are every bit as complicated as women, they just don’t show it as quickly. Add an elevated libido (compared to women) and it made it much easier to write from Keenan’s POV. Of course, I had to run everything through my male critique partners, but the experience was amazing. For you writers out there, try writing a scene with two or three males at a bar just talking about anything, then take it to your husband, your male friends, your grown up boys and ask them to read it, then ask these questions: Would you say something like that? What would you say instead? What goes through your mind when he say this? And so on. Your eyes will pop wide open.

So, to all my men friends out there that may be reading this, I thank the whole lot of you for making this woman’s life a little more interesting. I hope you will read A Ghost of a Chance; even those of you who do not read “romance.” This might surprise you.

I hope my lady readers won’t be put off by this departure from the norm; for me personally, I love stories that push the envelope and experiment with new ideas. But if you love your tried and true books, I respect that; I have stayed myself with a certain formula in mystery books that I deeply love, only because those books are like coming home to an old friend. Because of that, it is difficult for me to take up new mystery writers.

I do hope you’ll at least try A Ghost of a Chance. There should be enough tickles and tears for everyone. :o)

Blurb

Keenan Swanson is your typical, everyday graphic designer. Well, except for the hundreds of pesky, prank-loving poltergeists that make his life interesting (in a Chinese curse sort of way). He finds his situation precarious yet manageable—until witty, smoking-hot coworker Isabella enters the scene and Keenan decides he wants her all for himself. With a horny succubus who has other ideas, a burly city cop determined to lock Keenan away, and an evil entity who’s hell-bent on using Keenan’s seed to create a living demon, the reluctant psychic realizes he just might not come out of this alive—or with heart intact.

CHAPTER ONE – LIVING WITH STRANGERS

“Isabella, isn’t it?” Keenan hadn’t seen a ring on her finger, around her neck, or a Love John Forever tattoo any place noticeable, so he assumed she was available.

“Right. You’re Keenan. We met the other day.”

“Right.”

Usually he didn’t have problems talking to girls, but now it was harder than it had ever been. A hundred witty comebacks crowded his brain for attention, but not one of them could make it past the lump in his throat. His growing cock wasn’t going to be much help either; all it wanted him to do was blurt out, “Ya wanna?”

Bracing himself against possible rejection, and telling his cock to shut the fuck up, Keenan gathered his courage and charged into the fray. “Say listen, if you’re not…”

The elevator jarred to a halt and the doors burst open in front of them. At least fifteen people piled into the box, disregarding the “maximum occupancy” sign.

Keenan hit his back hard against the railing and suddenly found his arms full of warm, healthy girl.

The sounds around him came to a crashing halt when he fixated on those gorgeous almond eyes and full red lips. The urge to devour that mouth was irresistible. He felt like he was home. Her balmy scent marinated his brain, clouding out everything else. The velvet skin of her naked arms made his palms tingle.

A sudden terror seized him when he realized his rod stood at full attention, shouting, “Yippee!” Since the crowd had crushed Isabella against him, she must have felt it jumping like an excited dog against her stomach. To Keenan’s amazement, she didn’t say a word and smiled sweetly up at him. Her expression was almost pleased. It boggled his mind.

“Sorry,” he managed after a few precious seconds.

He let go and fully expected her to scrunch as far away from him as possible, a murmured “pervert” escaping her lips. Instead, she slid up next to him and stayed attached to his shoulder, turning her lovely breasts to the doors.

Keenan had a hard time keeping his eyes off them, noting with interest that both nipples were little rocks against the black fabric. He forced himself to focus on the bald spot on the head of the guy in front of him. He hoped to God the man wasn’t pushed back; in Keenan’s current state, it might be difficult to explain what rested against the man’s ass.

**********

Come hang out with Minette at www.minnettemeador.com and http://minnettemeador.blogspot.com

Get your own copy of A Ghost of a Chance at Respendence Publishing or Amazon.

NOTE FROM LISABET: Minnette will be giving away a Kindle at the end of her promotions campaign and anyone who comments on her tour, or on her blog, will be entered into that drawing. One randomly drawn commenter from the tour itself, as well as the tour host with the most comments, will-- in addition-- win a $100 Amazon gift certificate. So please, please, please - leave your comments, not only here but at each stop on Minnette's tour. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning! The tour dates can be found here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2011/05/virtual-book-tour-ghost-of-chance-by.html.

46 comments:

Lisabet Sarai said...

Welcome to Beyond Romance, Minnette!

I too like to write "outside the box", so I strongly sympathize with your perspective. I love the humor and warmth in your excerpt, and I hope A GHOST OF A CHANCE is hugely successful.

Paul McDermott said...

Confessing that I've never attempted a 'full length' 100% Romantic novel but I like to place 'tender' scenes in works of other genre and I'd like to think that us Males also have the heart, emotions and sensitivity to write Romantically!
A word of caution,though: we Menfolk DO think of subjects other than Sex and Football - please don't 'stereotype' us as a sub-species of "bears with very little brain ..." LOL and apologies to AA Milne

Maggie Nash said...

Oh wow! I love that excerpt Minnette!

I know what you mean about being surrounded by males. I have 4 sons and a husband, so almost as many as you. Like you I had more male friends growing up, and seem to get on better with them than women for some reason. LOL. My dh reads all my work, and sometimes he has a good laugh and says "I wouldn't say that, but I can see how a woman might fantasise about a guy saying that." Cracks me up every time!

Best of luck with your tour :-) It's been lovely to meet you..I love finding new authors to read :-)

Maggie

Kayelle Allen said...

I like the humor in this piece. Keenan sounds like a fun guy to hang out with.

marybelle said...

I have not read any romance written from the point of view the hero. An interesting take. I'm looking forward to GHOST OF A CHANCE.

marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Minnette Meador said...

Good morning, everyone! Thanks so much for coming. Thanks for having me Lisbeth!

Paul - I'm so glad you said that. It is absolutely true that men do not only think of sex and football LOL My husband doesn't think about football at all! But it brings up a very interesting question: For you women out there, what do you think you'd do differently if you were a man. The same for you men; what would you do differently if you were a woman. I'd love to hear what everyone things since this process is obviously ongoing! :o)

Thanks, Maggie - Your DH sounds like mine! ;o)

Hi, Kayelle! Thanks...

Thanks, Marybelle - I hope you get a chance to read it.

Minnette Meador said...

...everyone thinks... Man, I'm firing this keyboard. Can't spell worth a damn! :o)

Leanne109 said...

Another great post :D I look forward to coming to read them each morning now :D I think I'm gonna miss your blog tour when it's done :D
I've read a few romances from the point of view of the hero, they aren't my favorite but it's nice to read a different perspective once and awhile. In what perspective is your fave way to write?

Leanne

childrensandteensbookconnection said...

Fabulous post, Minnette. I have clients who are men writing in a female POV, but not as many in the reverse. I think it's great that you've written something outside the norm.

Best of luck,

Cheryl

cg20pm00(at)gmail(dot)com

Booksrforever123 said...

I've read a few where both are taken into consideration and it opens up a whole new world for the reader to see what each character is thinking. I'm sure that this one will be just as good. Many wishes of fortune on your new book. Carolyn

Kanya said...

Hi Minnette, 5 boys? OMG!!
If I were a man, I'd probably be less fussy! If I go to the park with my 2 year old, my purse is bursting! I need a cell phone, water, kleenex, hand sanitizer, snacks, bandaids, sunscreen, diapers, etc. When my husband goes to the park, he brings... nothing at all! He just doesn't nedd all that stuff.
I love books written from the mal POV. I've never read a romance from a male author, with a male POV, though. It must very different.
Have a good day!
Kanya

kanyachhetATyahooDOTca

Ranae Rose said...

I enjoy reading stories told from the male POV. Maybe it's because I've always been surrounded by boys, too. :)

I liked the excerpt, especially the last line - hee hee!

Sweet Vernal Zephyr said...

Wow! All the twist and turns just in the blurb suck me in. I love reading stories with different angles and any chance to poke around in a man's head is fun for me. :) Best wishes on your new release!

Miranda
mdwartistry at yahoo dot com

Jean P said...

Another interesting post. I haven't read a lot of stories from the male point of view, but I found reading Ghost of a Chance that I quite liked it. That different perspective, more straightforward.

Jean
skpetal at hotmail dot com

bearaboo said...

What a great excerpt. I am curious about reading a book from a man's perspective that is written by a woman. So far, so good from what I have read so far!
books4me67(at)ymail(dot)com

Anonymous said...

Hi Minette,
Men have only 4 emotions: hungry, thirsty, sleepy, and horney, yet women continue to try to turn them into complex creatures who hide secret meanings in phrases such as,"Hey honey, could you grab me a beer?"

This is an excerpt from a blog article I wrote entitled "Men Writing Romance" which I hope will answer some of those complex ideas about the male thought process.

Let me set up a scenario where a hero and a heroine are riding horses across the wide open plains. A woman writer will climb into the hero's head to find that he is intensely attracted to the heroine, finds her to be the only woman in whom he will ever be interested, and that he is mentally planning how he can spirit her away so that together they can build a house by a stream, plant acres of crops, raise herds of livestock, nurture children, and live happily ever after in their little house on the prairie. A male writer, by contrast, will enter the hero's brain and discover that he's thirsty, his ass hurts, and that he thinks she has nice tits. Hardly heroic. So the challenge to the male writer is to put on his 'true love' cap in order to endow our miscreant hero with an uncontrollable passion for our heroine; no small task given the male's internal programming to avoid, at all costs, uncontrollable passion for anything but sports. We must grab our hero and whisk him away from his world of pizza, Monday Night Football, and burping out loud, and deliver him to be 'reconditioned'. As a reward for his attendance at our 'hero boot camp', our hero-in-training will be transformed from an average guy with bad habits, a receding hairline, and limited mating prospects into a tall, handsome, muscular, alpha warrior chick magnet with a deep voice, a full head of flowing wavy hair, and the ability to remove an enemy's head with a broadsword while galloping at full speed on a large white horse. Not a bad deal. The catch is that he must learn that any resistance toward the heroine is futile. He must become completely enchanted by her to the point where her face fills his thoughts and dreams. He must dedicate himself to remembering her eye color, the first place where they kissed, and he must unfailingly remember her and her Mother's birthdays. He must be willing to battle all enemies and to freely surrender his life, should that become necessary, to protect her. Even more importantly, he must give up watching football. She is to become the focal point of his life and his reason for existing. THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is our romance hero from a man's perspective.

We hope that this information has been helpful.

Yours,
Randall Lang

seachele71 said...

i would enjoy hanging out with Keenan....makes me laugh

randall i enjoyed how you discussed the 4 major or only emotions for men...i do believe i concur

can not wait to read this book
seachele71@hotmail.com

tammy ramey said...

i love this excerpt, i can't wait to read the book and see what happens next.
trvlagnt1t@yahoo.com

Julie Robinson said...

Hi Minnette!

Wow, With your family, I'd say you should be an expert! I had a lot more male friends that female, especially in college ---but after marriage to a somewhat jealous male, that changed. After 23 years, though, we've worked it out, a bit.

I love the idea of a psychic hero, not heroine. And your sense of humor in the excerpt is hilariously erotic! I've got to read this.

shadow_kohler said...

hi minnette! having fun today? wow 5 boys...you must of had a fun household. :P ive read a few books from the male pov and some have surprised me. there have been a few that ive read and thought 'wow, this woman can write!' and then i find out its by a man. lol if i were a man, one thing i would do differently: hmm...im not sure. great tour!

Christiana said...

Good Afternoon Minnette,

First to address Male vs. Female POV...

I tend to write from the Female POV, however, I utilize a very good friend and we "talk" out certain conversations where I really need to get into the guys head. I admit I don't have a lot of male friends, nor did I ever even pretend to understand my ex, so the only person I have to bounce ideas off of, is my dad. He's great about it, yet there are days when I think he thinks I'm nuts.

A creative writing Professor I had in college gave me some invaluable advice: Write. Create characters that evoke emotion, you have to love them or hate them, give the ones you hate redeemable qualities, and write the death of the ones you love. Ultimately you have to be able to kill them off. The characters that stick with us are the ones that drag our emotions into play, whether you love to hate them, or hate to love them, they are the ones you can't stop thinking about.

Randall Lang, I love your perspective on this subject. Your comment was very insightful into the male mind. Thank you for Sharing.

One last thought for everyone who writes, if you typically write from the female POV, take a scene you love, and re-write it from the Male POV. Use your first scene as a guide, but really think about what he's saying, what he's feeling and try to show that in the re-write. You will be amazed at the differences.

~Christiana~

Mike Garzillo said...

First, I have to say that after reading one of Minnette's books recently, I can vouch for her ability to unveil the dynamics of men vs. women with realistic dialog. That said, I can vouch for the difficulty of male dialog even though I am one. Most guys, when challenged by a women during a conversation, shut down. Real life, yes, but tough to write because it thwarts the progress. Many authors make up for it with the usual description of body language, etc, but even that becomes one-dimensional eventually. The best trick I've read, mostly because it's accurate to real life, is have the guy duck the part of the converssation they're avoiding and bring up something else. For example, a past conflict that the guy wants to further comment on. I know this is a bias but most women want to keep talking while the guy would be OK with that if they switched subjects. You can tie up loose ends as well as show a conversational pattern that suits both males and females, but mostly, you can subltly show the thought process necessary for male charachter development. I'm sure you all know of a guy who needs to "think about it first" but saying that is too much of cliche. Just have him start talking about something supposedly-related, in his mind, giing the guy time to come up with an answer to the immediate conflict vs. walking out of the room, making a sandwich, etc. Address something else for half a page, then get back to the initial conflict. Guys usually want to regain control of a conversation that's getting away from them. Give them that chance.

garanna said...

stop and think about it first. that is an idea. i think it is harder for men to write as a woman i find that sometimes writing as a man i can see thru there eyes as to our faults.. do men do the same thing? just asking.. thanks

Vonnie Alto said...

Hi Minnette,

Writing outside the box always makes for a better romance. I think Laura Kinsale wrote a historical completely from the hero's POV. That was year ago and since then, others have tried it--but not many romance writers do it. So how did you find your male critique partners since you write romance?

Minnette Meador said...

Wow, some great discussions here... and even from some men!

Thanks, Leanne - I think I like writing from both; they each have their own charm.

Thanks, Cheryl - I really do love writing outside the box. :o)

I agree, Booksforever - I like writing from both the hero's and heroine's POV, Plus the villain, in some cases.

Thanks, Kanya - Too funny about the park! Ain't that the truth? I would love to read one of those too... I'm sure they are out there.

Thanks, Ranae! Sometimes I feel like that's the only one I've ever known! It's only recently I've started gathering and loving my lady friends.

Thanks, Miranda! Me too...

Thanks, Jean. I'm so glad you liked the book. Keenan is definitely special.

Wow, Randall! Thank you so much for sharing this with us! I'm so excited we have this to share with all my followers... I'd like to cut and paste this into my resources on my web page. Would you be okay with that? You're are wonderful!

Thanks,Seachele -Nice to see you again! It's been fun hanging out with him!

Thanks, Trvlagnt! I hope you like it.

You are so sweet, Julie! I was the same way... lots of male friends and not too many females. Don't even know why. I hope if you do, you'll enjoy it.

Hi, Shadow! Thanks!

Great stuff, Christiana - Thanks for sharing. Your professor sounds like a great one. I've written scenes both way when I get stuck on whose POV it should be from. It's a wonderful excercise.

OMG, it's Mike!!! Mike is one of my male mentors, everyone! He was so invaluable to me when I was writing this and the Bell Stalker book. I'm so glad you came over, darlin'! Fabulous advice, as always... :o)

I don't know, Brigitte (garanna) - Let's ask 'em. What do you think, guys?

jswayne said...

As a man who writes erotic romance, I have the exact opposite problem. Thinking like a man or woman trying to seduce a woman is easier for me than thinking like a man or woman trying to seduce a man. Most of my friends are women, and I've found throughout my life that on the whole, I get along better with women than men. I have an emotional spectrum that isn't limited to "hungry, thirsty, sleepy, or horny," although I'm not going to lie: those DO often take center stage, and during football season, if the Cowboys are playing, might as well mark me absent for the duration of the game. I'll be back with you when the final score posts.
That said, I don't see any reason why a writer should have to be limited by genre. More and more men are admitting to writing romance, and women have long proved just as capable of writing gripping fantasy and sci-fi (in a lot of cases BETTER) than their male counterparts. I do tend to fall into the male (or "male-role" in the case of my gay/lesbian efforts) POV much more easily than the female POV, but I can certainly understand and appreciate the female POV. In many cases, I relate to and sympathize with the woman better than the man, unless she happens to be a complete simp, in which case I won't finish the story. Sorry, but there it is. I'm an unrepentant intellectual snob; your heroine can be the other side of forty, a hundred pounds over her ideal weight, and have no idea what her natural hair color might be these days; the only unforgivable sin is if she's TSTL.
Great post! This ought to be required reading for anyone thinking about writing something they're worried about :)

Na said...

I really enjoyed reading this topic. Choosing which POV or how many to use is certainly important in writing a story. It sets the tone and can change and address how a reader connects and perceives a story. When I am reading a story, I don't consciously ponder whose POV I am reading or really put much consideration in it, and ironically that is how I can tell I am enjoying a story. A POV should be a seamless, natural part of the story, not contrived or forced for the sake of being different. I found this reading A Ghost of a Chance, Keenan's POV was very natural and I easily connected with him. His thought process didn't faze me, rather it interested me and I found it refreshing.

Tina Hamilton said...

Ohh.. love this one. I write from both points of view but there are certain times where I completely give it away that it is a woman writing. Usually by referencing a book or something that is unrealistic for 90% of the male population. But that is why it is romance to me. The fantasy guy you will never find in real life.

Minnette Meador said...

Great comment, J - I think that whether you're writing male or female, you need to research the other side. I learned so much just by having the material read by two different men from two different worlds and it was a real eye opening. Like I said, one day I'll write a book called "What men won't say" but not about emotions or relationship... just word! Or maybe one of you guys can write it. :o)

Thanks, Na - I agree with you wholeheartedly. I try to make it about the story and sometimes I have to try something in each gender to see which one communicates the emotions, the texture, and the energy of the scene. I loved writing in Keenan's POV, but I don't know that I will do a single POV story again, though it REALLY got me ready to do a first person narrative which I'm really looking forward to now. :o)

I do that too, Tina. And that's why for Ghost of a Chance I had my dynamic duo help me out. What was really funny is that in The Bell Stalker (coming out in October), I had Cranston the homicide detective hero riding in a 64 1/2 Mustang, thinking that would be the most macho car. When I mentioned that the first time in a restaurant, they both turn to me, smile and said simultaneous, "No, a Corvette." Needless to say I changed it. I had to research a whole new car! LOL

Julian Alexander said...

I personally love researching women... in all shapes and forms, and made sure I did extensive background study before grabbing up my Grace. But I must say Minnette, you did capture the male POV effectively. When Grace and I read the book we loved it. She only gave me the "Look" a couple of times... when I tried to suggest some reenactments. ~grin~ But that is what a good writer does, makes you forget there is even a writer telling the story.

Amanda said...

Hi Minnette! I am the same as you with loads of male friends And few female. My experience has been that they are more complicated than they want others to think but feel pressured to only think of the four basic male groups. There have been times that I have found myself wondering if we don't have it backwards because some guys are so complicated I start to think women are simple and straight forward. I love this topic because I always try to see life from anothers POV it helps in every day life to understand those you interact with. I don't get angry anymore at ppl when trying to look at things from their side.

Minnette Meador said...

You and Grace sound like my DH and I! He is SUCH a good sport when I ask him to help me try things out and I think he likes it. I'd ask him, but I'd have to get the sh*t ass grin off his face first! LOL I am so glad you are liking the book! Imagining the two of you reenacting some of the scenes... Whew!

Nicely stated, Amanda! I think walking around in someone else's Crocs is a very good idea and I try to do that myself. M:o)

Chelsea B. said...

I don't think I would want to know what guys (in the real world) think about, haha, it would be a scary thing ;-) Now, in romance.... Yes, please! :-)

justforswag(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

Julie Robinson said...

Oh cool, Minnette! The Bell Stalker is coming out! I remember that one.

Minnette Meador said...

LOL Chelsea!

Thanks, Julie - I am so excited about Bell Stalker - it's an urban fantasy thriller with a bad guy that is going to blow your mind! :o)

Leanne109 said...

I loved reading all the comments!!! Very cool!!!!

Minnette Meador said...

Thanks, Leanne! :o)

Gabby said...

I'm a big fan of romance novels but I'm also into uniquely written novels! So I think it's kind of cool that this author has written her book using a male pov, I'm not I'm not the kind of reader who scared off but by interesting/unusual reads.

In fact I sort of flock to books that aren't the usual, so I think this book might be right up my alley.

kakuchouakisane_19(at)yahoo(dot)com

Minnette Meador said...

I really hope so, Gabby. If you get a chance to read it, let me know what you think! :o)

Kristi Knight said...

Hi, Minnette! Trying to catch up with you. Let's see if this will post!!

Toni said...

Great blog this morning. I love the idea about the bar scene. I bet we would be surprised.

Two boys was enough for me, thank you very much! Way to go raising 5.

Keep up the good work.

Bookwyrm369 said...

I think it's great that the story is from a man's POV - we need more of that in PNR :-)

smaccall AT comcast.net

Lisabet Sarai said...

I've been off toiling at the evil day job the last few days, but I'm wowed by all these great comments! (Guess my topic was a good suggestion, Minnette! ;^) )

Randall, you're a character (and I don't mean in a book)!

I think my views are warped because of the guy I'm married to. He's not at all like the stereotyped "HTSH" male. But then, he gets along much better with women than men.

Anyway, a hearty thank you to everyone who has chimed in to this fabulous conversation!

Chelsea Rafferty said...

*waves* trying to make up the last few days I've missed *sniffles* I also agree that its cool having it from a male POV ;)

I'm off to stalk the other reviews since I missed a few days because of work.. ick :(

Nichole said...

@ Chelsea : I think we're in the same boat!! I tend to forget to check things and usually get reminded from "beyond her book" group postings!

Male pov's are interesting...I don't know if I could get myself into their heads like that lol its enough living with my brother!

wade2121 said...

Great excerpt! Good idea about asking guys if they'd say or do that.

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