Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Man Trouble

Pssst! Hey you! Yeah, you there, sitting in front of your computer screen. I've got a problem -- one I don't really like to talk about, but geez, I need help and besides, what's a few intimate details between a few thousand friends?

Here's the thing....Well...The thing is...I'm having man trouble. No, my marriage is just fine -- really it is. It's all the other men I'm having problems with. All the other men? Yeah, you know, the ones in my head. The ones who won't do what I tell them to do. The ones who look at me, their voices dripping with disdain and snap, "I would never say something so ridiculous!" When I tell them they have to, they cross those tanned, muscular arms and stare at me with contempt, their square jaws rigid, mouths shut tight.

So what's a writer to do? I had no male role models growing up. My mother -- a steel magnolia right down to her three inch heels she even mowed grass in -- raised my two sisters and me all by herself. I had no brothers, dated very little in school... That's another story you definitely don't want to hear!

So, how do I figure out these mysterious creatures? How am I supposed to know what they would say or do? And, since we're sharing secrets, I'll tell you, I love those alpha males -- the strong, silent type who can make your toes tingle, your mouth water and your belly flip all with one raised brow.

In the beginning, I can get it right. My heroes are mysterious, maybe a bit sullen, even angry and bitter -- with good reason -- they've not met their heart's desire -- yeah, I know that's sappy -- but hear me out. That's why I'm having man problems.

Once my man...uh, hero, falls in love, he becomes tender, somewhat sappy and he starts to lose that sexy edge he had at the beginning. Sometimes I can delay the sappiness until almost the end -- but he still feels all these tender feelings for the heroine -- no matter how unwanted they are to him and his personality shifts.

So, what's a writer to do? Who do you use as your male role models for your heroes? Do your men stay alpha all the way to the end? How do you get them to stay the strong, tough, silent type but still have that tenderness that makes your reader sigh and close her eyes, wondering where she can find a man like that?

Anyone have suggestions? My hero in my wip is having all these mushy thoughts and it's way too early!


Carla Swafford said...

Wow, I had to think about this one. The alpha males I've read/wrote tend to not wax poetic, no matter the tender moment. What little they say is short and to the point. They reveal how they feel by actions more than words. The only tenderness he'll show is by handling his woman with a gentle touch or brushing hair out of her eyes, stroking her cheek. If it's verbal. It won't be nothing flowery, but more of an order. Like "Wear your seatbelt!" or "You're driving me crazy!" It's all tied in with claiming ownership and (in good romances with rather well-adjusted alphas) expecting the same from her.

So plan to cut out the verbage from him after he falls for her - think pride, macho, and highly sexed. That's alpha.

Karen Beeching said...

I have to agree with Carla on this one. And if the guy is even thinking something remotely sappy, you can always turn it into a comedy inside his head as he struggles to stay alpha while falling in love.

Paula said...

I think for men, love equals fear. Fear of losing himself, fear of losing her, fear of the dangerous world we live in. His reactions will vacillate between sexual excitement and competition (claiming her for himself) and the very male human need to protect what's his (doing everything he can to keep her safe, including some things that will make her crazy).

Try filtering your hero's POV through those two concepts--sexual desire/possession, and manly protectiveness.