Monday, August 16, 2010

TMI, or How to Write A Real Hero

My Boss M wrote this, and then was forced to take it down because one gay male got offended. Sorry, dude. I live with a gay male hairdresser who is my crit partner. His name is Dante. He tells me often that my heroes sound like him, giving TMI. So, nuts to you. This is the truth, and I'm sorry you don't like it.

**Re-posted with Permission** 

TMI...Or: Have you written a flaming gay hairdresser/ fashion consultant instead of the hero you wanted?

Whilst editing, I ran into a common problem, and decided it was time to try to explain why your straight hero reads like he’s gay. So I asked my Darling Husband (DH), who produces our Encounters, in addition to his many other endearing qualities, “If there was one thing you could point to about our heroes that makes them unbelievable, what would it be?” 
I expected some down time on that, and a studied response. Nope. 
“No one’s ever average.” 
OK, so that needed some prompting to get a better explanation. 
“These guys are all ‘Heroes’ and ‘Hunks’ with great faces and weight lifter bodies. Any guy I’ve ever met who looks like that knows it, and he’s a real asshole.” 
True, but not where I was trying to go. 
However I was as intrigued by what it took to get the explanation as the explanation itself. Having pondered this conversation, I’ve come to one general conclusion.  Men written by women tend to talk too much, too fast, about the wrong things. 

**Note from Lena: I checked with my DH and Dante. They agreed with this statement. Often a romance hero sounds like a girl in guy's clothing. 

1) Clothing -- men don't notice clothing details -- this one’s where I started, and I couldn't pry a word about clothing out of the DH no matter how I tried. If your explanation of clothing from a Male POV goes beyond “Red Dress” it’s TMI. 

2) Bodies -- yup. Women have ‘em. Usually with curves. The curves make ‘em “not men,” which is good (If he’s straight). He knows by looking what size she wears? TMI. He’s just met her and he remembers what size she wears and goes shopping for her? Oh, yeah, he’s gay. 

3) Hair -- yup. Women have that too. Apparently it comes in colors -- red, blonde, and brown -- and two lengths. Long and short. Waves Vs Curls? Auburn? Sable? TMI. 

4) “I love the way that burgundy dress brings out the color in your perfect oval face and your hazel eyes. Great lines.” Oh, yeah. Gay fashion designer TMI. 

5) Three pages of spoken dialogue about -- anything other than battlegrounds (Sports are condensed battlegrounds) -- especially before, during, or after sex -- TMI. In fact, full sentences during sex -- TMI (I'm way guilty of this one). 

6) Explanations of anything involving past, present, or future emotions as they relate to one another outside a shrink’s office? Way TMI. 

Yes, we've got to compromise. Our men need to talk. In full sentences, even, upon occasion. But sometimes our heroines need to work a little harder to get information out of them, and really big things -- like “I love you” -- ARE really big, and probably need to be valued a lot more. Don't throw that line away. For a guy, it’s a major, major deal. And it doesn't come with becauses, or in spite ofs. 

If a guys sees a gorgeous woman in a red dress with real curves, he doesn't give a shit about the dress size or the size of her boobs or the span of her waist or the length of her perfectly coiffed hair. He sees “Blond, Red dress.” Whatever it is that makes her gorgeous to him, he probably can't tell you. Or her. But the most important thing he sees, we often overlook completely -- the thing men see that makes a woman most attractive to them? 

She’s looking back at him.

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