I’ve Become A Writer… Smile

My husband can definitely tell I’ve become a writer.  It’s bugging the hell out of him. A little.

As a writer, we’re taught several ‘rules’ that we can’t break if we want to be successful. First, avoid adverbs.  If you’ve used an adverb, that means you didn’t find the right verb. Go back and do it again.

Secondly – and this is what my husband has been suffering from – repetitive phrases are a no-no.

My hubby works from home a few days a week and spends the majority of his day on conference calls. (Exciting, I know, but he loves his work and I’m grateful.) So I overhear some of his calls, and more specifically his responses. And the more I learn as a writer, the more I pick up on the ‘rule breaking’ in my husband’s conversations.

Granted, my husband isn’t a writer, and probably none of his coworkers are either. So maybe they don’t notice it as much as it bugs me.

My husband has 3 phrases that he uses constantly. Not just two or three times a day, but more like 2 or 3 times per conversation.

~Long story short…

~At the end of the day…

And the most overly used phrase:

~In my perspective… (or From my perspective…)

Each of those phrases by themselves aren’t a problem. But the fact that I hear him use them so often every day, it’s become a tick under my skin. So I pointed it out to him a few weeks ago.

Clearly, it doesn’t bother him. He thinks I’m nuts.

And habits are hard to break. Since I pointed it out to him, I swear he’s been using them even more often. My parents heard us ‘arguing’ about this the other day, and now it’s become a family ‘joke.’ (B and I hardly argue, but we can have spirited, fun discussions. And by ‘joke,’ more like it’s something everyone in my family is waiting to see me smirk when he uses them.)

I wonder what ticks my husband, and family, see in me, now that I’ve become a writer. What new behaviors or phrases do they see me using that irritates them? Critiquing their emails? Being too picky when proof reading my husband’s homework? Throwing a book across the room when I think the editing is horrible? I’m sure I have several.

But at the end of the day (smirk), I’m glad they could put up with me before, and continue to put up with me today.

Long story short (smirk), it’s official. I’m a writer because I’m bugging my family. Just makes me smile!

How Do Women Write Men?

Interesting topic came to mind during a recent chapter revision.

It’s probably for the same reason you don’t see many male romance authors out there, simply because most men have no clue how to write a woman character and make it believable. Every little detail: gestures, word choice, slang, as well as what a woman would notice first looking at a man, or even another woman.

A lot of earlier romances had the stereotypical male hero: rough, tough, very little emotion, and all action. Either no words at all, or any words were based on the Tarzan psyche (Me want Jane. Me hungry.) I wonder if those male depictions in earlier writing were because most women authors didn’t know how to portray a realistic male character.

I ran into that issue the other week. My male character said certain things and behaved certain ways that didn’t sound believable. So I sent the chapter to a male critique buddy of mine, who helped me ‘man him up.’ (Another reason why I highly suggest joining a writer’s group!)

Such simple things like phrasing:

Original version: “People are mean.”

Manned up version: “People are cruel.”

Or how they refer to their own bodies:

Original version: ‘Thin Man clunked his beer bottle on the bar and jerked up his worn jeans over his hips.’

Manned up version: ‘Thin Man clunked his beer bottle on the bar and jerked up in worn jeans over his exposed whity-tighties.’

(I was told men never refer to their ‘hips.’)

There were several other areas that my critique pal noted were too ‘feminine’ for a male character (or at least the male character I was trying to portray). It’s amazing how different men and women will describe even a setting or what someone is wearing.

These kinds of suggestions are invaluable to me. It helps me learn how to write male characters better (and since my husband doesn’t read my work, I rely more heavily on my writer’s group.)

Women writers: how do you write your men? What tricks do you use to keep them realistic?