Saturday, November 12, 2011

Talk This Way, Walk This Way

Last night, while watching the new Nikita series, I realized something about myself. I love it when a man talks soft with confidence. This new Michael has that gruffness that sends delicious chills down my spine. I wonder if they asked him to talk in whispers, the same as the other Michael in the previous Le Femme Nikita series had.

In my book, Circle of Desire, Collin talks the same way. He might threaten to cut a person’s throat in that soft, quiet tone that he uses to seduce Olivia. It’s scary sexy.
The volume and timbre of a character’s voice can be as much as a part of the story as what he says. A bully shouts and shakes the walls. A whiner shrieks, making a person’s ears bleed. A seductive voice drips honey and soothes the savage beast. Sure some of those were clichés but you get the idea.

My next book, Circle of Danger, will have a hero whose voice box has been damaged. So his voice is rough, like a six-pack-a-day smoker’s. You can easily imagine when he’s tender, his voice will deepen and make your toes curl. Yes. More clichés. But this is blog post and I’m being lazy.
When it comes to how the characters walk, please avoid saying he moves like a powerful panther, cat, tiger, etc. Overdone. Okay to be lazy (see previous paragraph) here, but not in your books. I’ve never seen a man in real life who walked that way. It would probably freak me out. Think about it. Think hard. He would have to be on all fours. Oh, of course, a werewolf or werepanther might could get away with it as long as they were in animal form.

ANWAY, I describe their walk in the same way I do in real life. Long legged stride with a slight shift of their hips. Yes. Men do move that part of their bodies. Otherwise, they’ll look like they have a problem with constipation.  

I tell you, if you want to describe a real man’s walk, use John Wayne’s. Below is the last scene in McLintock. The movie isn’t PC any longer, but it’s still funny and shows the famous walk. Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne make great Alpha characters. I guess that’s why they made so many wonderful movies together.


Lexi said...

I'm a STAGECOACH fan m'self. When he steps in the middle of the road with his saddle on his hip, oh my! I like a soft but deadly voice too!

Carla Swafford said...

Lexi, he was certainly a man's man. And I don't mean it in the twenty-first century way.

Carla Swafford said...

I almost put Aerosmith's video (same song as title of post) on here and decided I rather watch John walk. Maybe I can find that scene Lexi was talking about.

Marie Campbell said...

Ah...John Wayne. My hero. Thanks for the video, Carla.

Chris Bailey said...

I especially like a man who walks across a laden table.

Louisa Cornell said...

LOVE John Wayne in any film! My favorite is probably The Quiet Man. My fondest memories of my Dad are of him channel surfing and finding a John Wayne film. He'd look at me and say "How 'bout it, Stinky?" I'd always say yes and we'd spend the next couple of hours laughing in all of the same places and rooting for the Duke in all the same places. When my brothers and I are visiting Mom we can often be found in the den watching an old John Wayne movie. I can't help but think Dad is there with us somehow laughing and rooting for the Duke.

Carla Swafford said...

You're welcome, Marie. Mine too.

Carla Swafford said...

Cool, isn't it, Chris?

Carla Swafford said...

Oh, Louisa, I know what you mean.

Luckily, my dad is still with us. He loves John Wayne movies. When I was a kid, he would take me to westerns and army movies. About the time I was a teenager, my brother was old enough to go instead.

When Private Ryan came out. I got him to meet me at the Summit and we watched it together. It's a special moment I'll never forget.

Cari Hislop said...

My favorite masculine voices always resonate (Alan Rickman and James Earl Jones). I think Snape is one of my favorite Harry Potter characters partly because of Rickman's voice, but I freely admit I've always had a soft spot for acidic cynical loved starved men (married one - a complete softy under his public sneer).

As for how men walk...I've been trying to figure out the mechanics why some men walk better than others and I haven't yet figured it out. My husband has a funny walk. He was in a motorcycle accident in his mid twenties and came out of it with the smashed up leg an inch shorter than the other. Since he doesn't wear a corrective height shoe he looks like he's mincing (an exagerated almost feminine hip movement) which is made more pronounced by certain kinds of pants. I've persuade him to avoid those pants!

Carla Swafford said...

We do men's egos good, don't we? LOL!

Alan Rickman. Oh, yes, I agree totally.