Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Thursday Thirteen

13 Woes of an Anguished Writer

1. Word length. Usually before I begin a manuscript I have an idea of how long I would like it to be. Never in all of my years of writing have I hit the targeted length. Every, single, time I go over… by a few thousand words at least. Yeah, longwinded much? *sigh*

2. Plot Bunnies. They’re like dust bunnies but a trillion (yes a trillion) times worse. Why can’t they stay in the back of my mind where they belong?

3. Uncooperative characters. Seriously, they should do what I WANT them to do, all the time! Don’t they know it’s not about what they want? Arguing with me is not good. *grumbles*

4. Scenes popping up in the wrong place. OK I will admit this is probably a side effect of being a panster but come on, can’t the scenes just come when they’re supposed to?

5. Blockage, for me usually due to massive amounts of numbers 2, 3 and 4. Being blocked is like hitting my head against a brick wall… for like a week. Not good.

6. Editing, OK please let’s have a show of hands to see who really likes editing. It’s slow and it’s painful but necessary.

7. Commas are the devil. I’m sorry to those of you who like them but you’ll have to face the fact someday.

8. Cutting. I hate having to cut parts of a story. After laboring over thousands of words having to suddenly cut them because they no longer fit with some stupid (OK probably brilliant) idea due to number 2 is like loosing a limb. *pout*

9. As much as I hate cutting I also hate layering. Seriously, when I’m done with a story I want to be done, not have to go back fifteen million times (I’m not exaggerating… much) to add something I forgot.

10. It’s probably obvious from numbers 6, 7 and 8 that I can’t stand revisions. Yeah, I’ll admit they usually make the story so much better but damn it, why couldn’t that stuff have made it in there the first time?

11. Submitting. I love getting my stuff out there don’t get me wrong but must I have an anxiety attack every time? Seriously, it shouldn’t take thirty minutes to submit an MS you’ve already finished. There is really no need to check the body of the email three thousand times, and the attachments two thousand times… is there?

12. Waiting for responses to submissions has to be the most nerve racking part of the whole process. After like a day, the panic sets in and I’ve become positive that I’ve screwed up at least one thing (if not all) in the submission package.

13. I’ve saved the best for last. Acceptance! (I totally skipped rejection because I didn’t want to depress people.) Receiving an acceptance letter is the most joyous of occasions and should be celebrated as if it were a major holiday. It’s what pushes every writer to do their best and go through all of 1-12 on the regular. Just the thought makes my little heart sing.

Alright now go write or whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. *Takes her own advise and skedaddles*

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Realistic Hero

Let’s talk about heroes today. Yesterday when I was speaking to The Man about the differences between men and women (we actually have this conversation often and even crazier is that we usually agree) he confided in me that a lot of men can’t get into romance because the heroes are not believable. “Really,” I replied with shock and awe.

What it seems to boil down to is, SOME (obviously not all) romances portray men as women see them or want to see them and not as they actually are. He gave me some examples, two of which I thought were the most interesting. The Persistent Chase and The Suave/Debonair.

The Persistent Chase: In this scenario the man is ridiculously persistent for a woman he is so obsessed over (but barely knows) that he takes shut down, after shut down, after shut down until he finally wears her down and she gives him a chance and they eventually fall in love and make us go, “Awwwwwww” at the end of the book, movie or whatever it is.

The Man says most guys are not going to do this. They get shot down too much and in too many ugly ways (some of the time) to keep chasing after a woman who isn’t giving them the time of day. Apparently there is only so much rejection and certain types of rejection a man is willing to take before he just says, “Screw it.” So I found it rather funny that while I am awing over a movie a nice “Oh please” sign is scrolling across The Man’s brain.

The Suave/Debonair: The Man says that most men are not suave or smooth my nature… sometimes ever. They are forever saying the wrong thing. And half the time they don’t realize they’ve said the wrong thing until after they’ve said it. Apparently the right thing for one woman can be dead wrong for another. He says that most men spend so much time screwing up that when they actually manage to be suave (that one time in their lives when it may happen) they are so excited they inwardly (and sometimes outwardly) celebrate and then immediately run off to tell “The Boys”. According to The Man, the guy we may read about or fantasize about that is a perfect gentleman and says all these wonderfully phrased things to make us melt is a myth.

This leads me to a few other “myths” us women seem to believe about men.

1. Men don’t care about women’s feelings.
2. Men only want sex and emotions don’t matter.
3. Men can’t handle an aggressive or independent woman.
4. Men don’t talk to either men or women about what’s on their minds. They keep it all bottled up inside.

Now before you throw things at me I am not saying that all women say or think these things about men but I listed them because I have heard women repeatedly make these comments over and over. So I decided to ask The Man because maybe I was wrong in believing that maybe ALL men don’t feel, think or act the ways noted above. I’m sure some do but certainly not all and probably not even the majority. I will go as far to say that there are some men who have made these or similar arguments about women, but that’s for another blog post.

Any way The Man says:

1. Not true. Men care very much about women’s feelings they just don’t understand them or the motives behind them. There have been times when he has hurt me (unintentionally) and had no clue. A lot of our friends have said the same thing. They get so confused about what they can and can’t do because something that makes their women laugh at one point can make her go off the deep end the next. “I’m not a mind reader,” he says and to that I would have to agree.
2. Also not true. Though sex matters (*grin*) so do emotions. He feels that he has never purposely led a girl on just to get sex. I can even remember him telling me about one girl who liked him but since he thought they would not be compatible in any way and she would probably get hurt he didn’t do it. The surprise is that this is not the first time I’ve heard this from a man.
3. So not true he laughed out loud. A lot of men actually WANT an independent woman who can take care of herself and contributes in whatever way suits her best to the household or relationship. What they don’t like is a woman who is constantly holding things over their heads and throwing it in their faces that is she is doing better than him or can do without him. His thought is, if your life would be so much better without me then why are you here? He feels there is a difference between aggressive/independent and obnoxious.
4. This one made him chuckle. He says to me, “What do women think men do when they go out together?” He goes to the bowling alley (where they play pool) every two weeks to chill with his friends and talk (sometimes vent) about their lives. Not to mention that all of my guy friends talk to me all the time about things from girl trouble to what they want out of life. Oh yes, it’s true.

So I said all of that to say this. Are the heroes we see in romances realistic? I hear women say all the time they want to read about a realistic man or hero… but is that really the case? Let me know what you think?

Check out my alter ego’s blog to discuss the realistic heroine.