Friday, October 16, 2009

Writing Guy

Ever have a contest judge tell you your guys don't sound like guys?

Did they use the words : girly, wimpy or the dreaded feminine to describe your Alpha Male, your Reluctant Hero, your Beta Man?

So maybe you need a leetle help in the Guy department.

There are lots of ways to learn Guy.

Observe the species in the wild. Eavesdrop.

Do your homework with books and movies. Understanding the basic mental differences between men and women can help you write Guy.

10 Big Differences Between Men's and Women's Brains by Amber Hensley

Or check out Madame Zelda's Characterization techniques to channel your Guy.

I have a few favorite Guy Flicks. These movies really help you get into the Guy psyche.

Transporter (1, 2 and 3)

Casino Royale

Failure to Launch

Bourne (all of them)

The Untouchables

Die Hard
(any and all)

Top Gun

High Noon


Lethal Weapon

Feel free to add to my list.

One of my absolute favorite books on the topic is Dave Barry's Complete Guide To Guys

(You can listen to a part of the audiobook at the Barnes & Noble site by clicking the above link.)

It's a terrific and hilarious peek into a guy's mind. (Yes, scary too.)

A little joke from the book:

Let's say a guy named Roger is attracted to a woman named Elaine. He asks her out to a movie; she accepts; they have a pretty good time. A few nights later he asks her out to dinner, and again they enjoy themselves. They continue to see each other regularly, and after a while neither one of them is seeing anybody else.

And then, one evening when they're driving home, a thought occurs to Elaine, and, without really thinking, she says it aloud: ''Do you realize that, as of tonight, we've been seeing each other for exactly six months?''

And then there is silence in the car. To Elaine, it seems like a very loud silence. She thinks to herself: Gee, I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he's been feeling confined by our relationship; maybe he thinks I'm trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn't want, or isn't sure of.

And Roger is thinking: Gosh. Six months.

And Elaine is thinking: But, hey, I'm not so sure I want this kind of relationship, either. Sometimes I wish I had a little more space, so I'd have time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are, moving steadily toward . . . I mean, where are we going? Are we just going to keep seeing each other at this level of intimacy? Are we heading toward marriage? Toward children? Toward a lifetime together? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person?

And Roger is thinking: . . . so that means it was . . . let's see . . ...February when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the dealer's, which means . . . lemme check the odometer . . . Whoa! I am way overdue for an oil change here.

And Elaine is thinking: He's upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I'm reading this completely wrong. Maybe he wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more commitment; maybe he has sensed -- even before I sensed it -- that I was feeling some reservations. Yes, I bet that's it. That's why he's so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He's afraid of being rejected.

And Roger is thinking: And I'm gonna have them look at the transmission again. I don't care what those morons say, it's still not shifting right. And they'd better not try to blame it on the cold weather this time. What cold weather? It's 87 degrees out, and this thing is shifting like a $#@% garbage truck, and I paid those incompetent thieves $600.

And Elaine is thinking: He's angry. And I don't blame him. I'd be angry, too. God, I feel so guilty, putting him through this, but I can't help the way I feel. I'm just not sure.

And Roger is thinking: They'll probably say it's only a 90-day warranty. That's exactly what they're gonna say, the scumballs.

And Elaine is thinking: Maybe I'm just too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white horse, when I'm sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a person I enjoy being with, a person I truly do care about, a person who seems to truly care about me. A person who is in pain because of myself-centered, schoolgirl romantic fantasy.

And Roger is thinking: Warranty? They want a warranty? I'll give them a $#@% warranty. I'll take their warranty and stick it right up their ...

''Roger,'' Elaine says aloud.

''What?'' says Roger, startled.

''Please don't torture yourself like this,'' she says, her eyes beginning to brim with tears. ''Maybe I should never have . . Oh God, I feel so ...

'' (She breaks down, sobbing.)

''What?'' says Roger.

''I'm such a fool,'' Elaine sobs. ''I mean, I know there's no knight. I really know that. It's silly. There's no knight, and there's no horse.''

''There's no horse?'' says Roger.

''You think I'm a fool, don't you?'' Elaine says.

''No!'' says Roger, glad to finally know the correct answer.

''It's just that . . . It's that I . . . I need some time,'' Elaine says.

(There is a 15-second pause while Roger, thinking as fast as he can, tries to come up with a safe response. Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might work.)

"Yes,'' he says.

(Elaine, deeply moved, touches his hand.)

''Oh, Roger, do you really feel that way?'' she says.

''What way?'' says Roger.

''That way about time,'' says Elaine.

''Oh,'' says Roger. ''Yes.'' (Elaine turns to face him and gazes deeply into his eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves a horse.

(At last she speaks.)

''Thank you, Roger,'' she says.

''Thank you,'' says Roger.

Then he takes her home, and she lies on her bed, a conflicted, tortured soul, and weeps until dawn, whereas when Roger gets back to his place, he opens a bag of Doritos, turns on the TV, and immediately becomes deeply involved in a rerun of a tennis match between two Czechoslovakians he never heard of. A tiny voice in the far recesses of his mind tells him that something major was going on back there in the car, but he is pretty sure there is no way he would ever understand what, and so he figures it's better if he doesn't think about it. (This is also Roger's policy regarding world hunger.)

The next day Elaine will call her closest friend, or perhaps two of them, and they will talk about this situation for six straight hours. In painstaking detail, they will analyze everything she said and everything he said, going over it time and time again, exploring every word, expression, and gesture for nuances of meaning, considering every possible ramification. They will continue to discuss this subject, off and on, for weeks, maybe months, never reaching any definite conclusions, but never getting bored with it, either.

Meanwhile, Roger, while playing racquetball one day with a mutual friend of his and Elaine's, will pause just before serving, frown, and say: ''Norm, did Elaine ever own a horse?''

--Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys

Seeker Tips to Writing Guy

1. Glynna Kaye: I don't let him get too wordy. Or wax too poetic.

2. Camy Tang:

Short sentences and simple words--flowery sentences are not manly.

And if all else fails, I ask my husband if a guy would say XXX. He usually tweaks it into some sports reference.

3. Mary Connealy:

"I always under dialogue my guy. Women talk things through-Men think things through.

I often cut the guys dialogue several times to make it terse. Have them grunt on occasion. Have them think a whole bunch of stuff then just say, "No."

To have him announce decisions rather than discuss how he's coming to the decision."

4. Janet Dean:

Dialogue tips: My heroes tend to use shorter sentences and leave off words. Instead of "It sounds expensive." They'd say, "Sounds expensive." They use last names for other males when they're talking or thinking about them, even themselves. Whoa Jacobs instead of Whoa Luke. They use fewer adjectives or flowery words. They tend to give orders instead of making requests, which can get them in trouble. :-) Occasionally I like to have them say, "Yes, ma'am." to add levity or show good manners.

Description: I give my heroes broad shoulders, rippling muscles, large forearms and hands and thick hair, but other details like hair and eye color and height vary.

5. Ruth Logan Herne:

I love 'mini' movements, like the Richard Gere squint, the jaw muscle twitch of Harrison Ford, the slight incline of chin of Mark Harmon as Gibbs in NCIS, the direct stare that sets feminine hearts a-twitching...

Male sensuality exudes from understated actions in a lot of cases, so I try to employ that.
They have to have a sense of humor to accompany the sexy quirks, otherwise they're just not worth the bother. ;)

6. Pam Hillman:

My heroes stomp, stride, or saunter. They do not mince, tiptoe, or glide. They growl, grumble, or drawl. They do not shriek, squeal, or screech. A lot of this "tough man" description is seen and/or heard in the heroine's pov. It's in the movement and the words. Even a slow, quiet loner can have those Clint Eastwood moves: swagger, narrowing of the eyes, squint, smirk, cocked hip. Then when somebody like that does strike out (like drawing a gun, or throwing a punch), it looks and feels like lightening!


Instead of walking: "Jake’s long legs ate up the distance as he stomped out his rounds, the thoughts in his head swirling faster than the snow flurries from the week before."

Instead of knocking: "Jake rapped his knuckles on the kitchen door."

7. Julie Lessman:

Think football: muscles, sweat, grunts, and monosyllables. Athletes don't meander all over the field -- they focus on one thing like a heat-seeking missile. Writing guys is much the same way -- with dialogue, internal monologue and actions. Dialogue? Guys talk in clipped, straight-forward language and sentences, not with explanations and feelings like women do. Internal monologue/thoughts? Never sentimental and pining like a girl's, but focused on one thing, be it his anger, his attraction or his regret. Men never belabor a point or give much thought to it like women do. And actions? Usually stubborn, casual and sometimes gruff. Gentleness is okay, but only when you have a major streak of something more dominant that tips the balance toward all male.

8. Myra Johnson:

I like to write my guy characters with a touch of humor, no matter how serious the story is. Maybe a klutzy thing that shows how much they really need a woman in their life. Or a hint of irony in their outlook or speech. Able to laugh at themselves. Not too much ego but a solid sense of their own identity. Strong when it counts.

9. Audra Harders:

In creating a hero, I start by assessing the qualities I need for him to have. That's the easy part I spend time listening to country music, especially Chris LeDoux and George Strait (who better to create cowboy images??). As the hero gels in my head, I start thinking about movie characters and end up watching a specific movie featuring a character with specific traits -- not necessarily cowboy character, actually, I rarely watch cowboy characters at all. Then, once I find the male character, I watch that movie over and over and over again until I see him, hear him, smell him in my sleep. Once I've *digested* him --or devoured, which ever works -- it's easy for me to transfer those traits into the character I'm working with. I find this gives him a dimension I can't create by just sitting down at the computer and conjuring up a hero.

Ha, I"m not going to give away all my secrets, but you'd never guess what kind of characters I get stuck on and turn into heroes in my books : )

10. Missy Tippens:

Most guys worry about being good providers or being successful at their work. When I'm getting inside their heads, I usually make them worry about things that have to do with their pride. They're going to worry about looking inept in front of the heroine. They worry about being worthy in her parents' eyes. Or worry that they can give her whatever it is she needs.

Any questions? Okay, let's Write Guy.


  1. Awww man I love this post! Now I won't be able to sleep! LOL! Ya got me thinking about those types of heroes I love so much...then you throw in that photo of Mr. Darcy and I'm drooling!

    I like the insight on how you ladies write your heroes...especially Janet! Who doesn't love broad shoulders, muscles and great hair?!

    Great post!!!

    xoxo~ Renee

  2. Excellent post, Tina. I have to get that Dave B book.

    My hubby always tells me, "A guy would never say (or think) that."

    LOL! So I ask him what would they say. Sometimes I have to tone it down for use in Steeple Hill and he's pretty conservative. LOL!

    Great post,

  3. Good morning Seekerville. Time for Seattle's Best Breakfast blend.

    Thanks for the kudos, Renee.

    Cheryl pops her head out of her manuscript and says hi!!! Good to see you too!

  4. Tina, thanks for gathering Seeker tips on writing heroes and for the hilarious Dave Berry story. Hilarious but so true!!

    Renee, you and I love he-man heroes. Even if they're beta types, we want to drool. LOL

    In honor of heroes everywhere, I brought fried steak, potatoes and eggs with strong coffee. None of those fancy creamers. :-)


  5. "Steak, huh? where's the ketchup?"
    (scratch, burp, yawn)
    "What are you lookin' at?"

  6. This post was great! Thanks.

    The excerpt from Dave Barry's book was soooo funny.

    Definitely gave me ideas of revision for my WIP.


  7. Great post!!! I started writing a novel with a man as my MC and it was awful! My writers group pointed out that a man would never ever think the things he was thinking. I tried to fix it but it still wasn't quite right. I shelved the project until i could get a better grasp on writing a man. Thanks for this helped a lot!!

  8. So glad it helped Gina and Stephanie.

    It also helps I was outnumbered by guys for a long time around here.

  9. This is a terrific post, Tina. I think one of my favorite ever!!!

    Men think and act so differently than women. We need to appreciate them for their differences. I mean, come on, just imagine if they were as emotional and analytical about *gasp* feelings and stuff like we are. Haha.

    One time I asked Hubby how I looked and he said, "fine." I told him I wanted to look more than fine. He said, "Yeah, but fine is the married hot." So when he tells me I look fine, I know I look Fiiiine. :-) And yes, I've already used his line in my novel.

  10. Too bad, Lisa, because you know only 217 of us would have snatched that TERRIFICALLY FINE line in a heartbeat.

  11. Debra, your take on guys is hilarious.

  12. I hunted around for an excerpt that I thought was a nice example of man thinking.
    The Edwards’ women escorted him to the house and seated him at their table as formally as if he were visiting royalty. He was appalled.
    “This is where you live?” The minute the words burst out of him he wished them back.
    Sophie bristled and all the girls frowned at him, even Laura.
    “What’s wrong with where we live?” Sophie asked defensively.
    Clay tried to be more tactful. “It’s the most pathetic house I’ve ever seen. It's so small.” Clay rose from the table, and stepped to the door to stare out. “Are we in the middle of some kind of...weed patch?”
    Sophie appeared at his side, her hands on her hips. “This is our home. There’s nothing wrong with it.”
    “But you can’t live in this...this shack in the middle of a thicket.”
    Sophie crossed her arms, and glared at him. “Define can’t, Mr. McClellen. Because my girls and I have proved you can.”
    “And it's just one room? How do the five of you fit in here? What are you thinking to be raising my nieces like this?” Clay looked into the fire in Sophie’s eyes, and wondered what was the matter with her.

  13. Have any of you seen All Of Me, the Steve Martin/Lilly Tomlin movie.

    One of the most hilarious scenes in that movie is when Lilly Tomlin's soul is inhabiting Steve Martin's body and she's trying to pass herself off as Steve by acting like she thinks a man would act.

    It's just so funny, she's belching and scratching herself. And the director is sort of switching so we SEE Steve Martin, but then we SEE Lilly Tomlin, both in the same body.

    It's just a killer comedy scene.

  14. OMIGOSH, Tina, this is an AWESOME post!!! And the Dave Berry scene is hysterical because it is SO true!!

    Lisa, you're married to one smart cookie who sounds like a keeper.

    One of my favorite scenes of all time when it comes to men/women differences is a scene from Tim Allen's "Home Improvement." Tim holds up a stop sign to his "Tool Time" audience and says that a man invented the stop sign.

    "Do you know how I know?" he asks his audience. "Because if a woman invented it, it would say this. He then flips the sign around and it reads as follows:

    If you really loved me, you would know what to do right now.

    Bull's eye.

    Great post, Teenster!


  15. I love Tim the Toolman Taylor.

    Have we frightened the men out of Seekerville today do you spose??

  16. What a great way to end the work week! Great post, Tina.

    And great examples everyone.

    Mary, I love the All of Me movie and seem to remember a part where they are trying to walk that shows the difference between women taking "steps" and men taking "strides".

    I'm trying to be more aware of this male attitude aspect in my writing and not let them go off in "thinking tangents".

  17. I must be part guy. Other than Failure to Launch, I love all the guy movies you listed. Have a great weekend! :O) (girlie smile, just to keep me part girl too)

  18. Diane I love those movies too. They're great examples of movies with great guy dialogue.

    James Bond: Casino Royale. Whatever is left of me. I'm yours.

  19. Laughing out loud at the Dave Barry excerpt! So true, it's frightening!!!

    And I learned so much from all those other Seeker examples. I will definitely be thinking even harder about how my male characters come across.

    Or maybe I'll just have them scratch themselves.

  20. OMG!

    Don’t you realize that Dave Barry was playing a joke on women with that story? That’s how men think women think men think.

    Here’s what a man really thinks.

    She says: ''Do you realize that, as of tonight, we've been seeing each other for exactly six months?''

    He thinks: “Exactly six month. She’s counting. She’s thinking anniversaries. Anniversaries are numbered and repeat. She thinking commitment. Women won’t ask you outright what they're thinking. They won’t come right out and say, “My biological clock is ticking, I’ve invested six months in you, I want a family of my own, do you think this relationship is going to go anywhere or should I be looking for someone else?"

    He says:

    (1) If he thinks commitment is desirable with her.

    “Six months! Let’s celebrate by going back to the restaurant where we had our first date.”

    (2) If he wants to keep the woman but does not even want to consider commitment at this time:

    “Six months! Wow! And they said it wouldn’t last. Hasn’t it been great! You’re wonderful.” (He kisses her here).

    (3) If he’s been thinking of bailing out of the relationship.

    “Six months? I would have thought it was more like a year.”


    I’m surprised you haven’t thought of the most obvious way to research ‘guy talk’. Read good male-to-male detective stories. Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct books show men talking to men just like men really do talk (minus the explicatives). Hemingway’s men talked to other men the way men talk.

    Also, men blabber and talk in endless run-on sentences with each other when discussing things like hunting, sports, or their hobbies. Of course male egos will be very tied up in these discussions.

    Men are mostly taciturn and direct with women out of self-defense. A woman can pull more meaning out of a single sentence than was ever dreamed of in any male philosophy. So why give women any more rope from which to hang us? Even little five year old girls have amazing selective memories which produce endless “But you said, but you said,” accusations.


    I think Missy's comments best hit the nail right on the head.

    “Most guys worry about being good providers or being successful at their work. When I'm getting inside their heads, I usually make them worry about things that have to do with their pride. They're going to worry about looking inept in front of the heroine. They worry about being worthy in her parents' eyes. Or worry that they can give her whatever it is she needs”.

    All the years I was a child growing up my mother would say, “How do you expect to get a wife, if you don’t study and do well in school?”

    “How do you expect to get a wife if you don’t comb your hair or don’t care what you look like?”

    She must have said things like this a thousand times or more back then. So when it took me 33 years to get wife, I told my mother at the wedding, “You were right. I almost didn’t even get a wife.”


    BTW: is anyone still doing BIAW? I can’t seem to stop! : )

  21. Vince.

    You are a guy.

    Of course you think Dave Barry is a joke. Actually it is how women think men think women think.

    We women know. It is real. It is MORE REAL THAN EVEN YOU KNOW.

    Don't think you can fool us.

    Nice try, pal.

    We have sixteen remote controls in my house. I know how men think.

    We won't even dare touch what our mothers told us all our lives.

    I'd just like to say, NICE GIRLS are way over rated.

  22. Sixteen remotes, huh? My DH is doing well figuring out how to use ONE!

    And he also talks WAY more than I do. He has to explain every little thing to the nth degree.

    Now, what's going on in his head is anybody's guess. But I'm thinkin' it's not too different from the Dave Barry example. Really.

  23. Fantastic! Couple this with Randy Ingermanson's workshop, Writing in the Male POV, and any writer can master that male character. LOL!

    Thanks, ladies!

    Btw, I also ask my husband to double-check my dialogue and internal thoughts for my men. Usually ends up snipped in many ways. :)

  24. Vince if you keep doing BIAW for a couple more weeks you'll have a finished book, GOOD FOR YOU.

    I am very conscious when I'm writing not to use girly words for me.

    Often when I'm revising I'll go back and read the man's dialogue and just alter it hugely.

    Isn't there some website where you go and fill in a paragraph or two and the website will tell you if a man or woman wrote it?

    I've used that before inserting my men's dialogue/pov scene and my women's to see if the site thinks a man or woman wrote it. To me the goal is that when I'm writing in the male POV the site will call it a man writer, and when I'm in the female POV the site will say it's a woman.

    Okay, looked for it.
    Here it is.

    Gender Guesser

  25. I MEAN>>>>>>>>>

    I am very conscious when I'm writing not to use girly words for me.

    I am very conscious when I'm writing not to use girly words for meN.

  26. That is amazing Mary. I just tried it with my WIP. But to get 300 words I had to use all the heroes dialogue for two chapters.

  27. Wow, this is so much fun! I guess because I love men, but I love them more in theory than in actuality. Ya know?

    I think I'm pretty good at writing heroes. I had a critique partner say that my latest hero was one of her favorite heroes of all time. *Big Silly Grin* BUT, to be perfectly honest, I make my heroes realistic without making them totally ... well, realistic. I fudge a bit. After all, this is my fantasy here. I can make my guy sweet and sensitive if I want to. But it has to be a manly sweet and sensitive. (That probably makes no sense. Sorry.)

    My favorite hero that I created, I guess, was my artist hero. He's an artist so I made him very sensitive, is a bit more wordy than some, notices things other men don't, feels things more deeply, etc. But he was also strong and masculine and dangerous, when the need arises. Yum.

  28. Oh yes, and the photo of Colin Firth's Darcy ... have to go take another look.

  29. Sigh!

    In vain have I struggled, it will not do. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.

  30. Mmmmm, love that!

    And that picture captures the look on his face when he finally realizes how much he loves Elizabeth and is deciding he has to propose AGAIN!

  31. Vince, I had to laugh when you said: So why give women any more rope from which to hang us?

    I have noticed my husband squirms when I ask a simple question such as, "Do you like my hair this way or the old way?"

    He's afraid it's a trap.

    Depending on my mood, he could be right.

    Janet :-)

  32. Oh my stars, I'm dying here.

    THIS was definitely the day to come in late. What a hoot. First, the post, so funny, so spot on, and I LOVE Dave Barry, but if I was married to him, he'd be dead. Murdered. Maybe buried or barbecued, very Fried Green Tomatoes, depending on the day. Have you ever noticed what's funny with Dave Barry and Bill Cosby isn't QUITE SO FUNNY IN YOUR KITCHEN? LIVING ROOM????? Just sayin'....


    And Vince.


    (sorry about the white space, Deb. Forgive me. Gotta make Vince think a bit. And where is WALT, btw???)

    Vince, Vince, Vince...

    I'm not even goin' there, buddy. Nope. Not goin' there. Four brothers, one husband, four sons...

    This is a mother who advised a beautiful young woman to dump my son like a load of old roof shingles because he wouldn't commit. "Dump him, he's SOOOO not worth it."

    They've been married eight years now with two beautiful kids but he didn't propose until AFTER she dumped him.

    Yup, I say ol' Dave's pretty much on target. There's a reason men gravitate to the movie Clueless... Dumb and Dumber....

    In romance, the guys have to talk like guys, act like guys, but be attractive to the reader. This is no easy feat given guy parameters. I do remind my husband of this often. Very often. :)

    Hey, I brought apple crisp and vanilla ice cream. And more coffee because it's cloudy and dim here and coffee would sit well right about now!


  33. Really, really great post today! The example from Dave's book...LOL! That was hilarious! I could not stop laughing and am soooo glad no one else is home yet! : ) They would've been like, "Is she okay?" Unfortunately, I think that this is something that would happen to me. I totally over analyze things : (

    Ah to pick up my sister. Her and a friend were practicing their tap numbers for the musical. Neither has ever tapped before and they had to learn a bunch of tap in 1 1/2 hours! Crazy if you ask me : )

  34. In relation to Dave Berry's book, Vince said: "That’s how men think women think men think.

    My response? EXACTLY! And the market for romance is primarily women, so what's the problem??? :)

    But you also said "Men are mostly taciturn and direct with women out of self-defense. A woman can pull more meaning out of a single sentence than was ever dreamed of in any male philosophy. So why give women any more rope from which to hang us?"

    AMEN to that, brother!


  35. One of the best 'man thinking in a nutshell' passages I've come across was one from the Robert B. Parker novel Appaloosa.

    Everett Hitch is transporting a prisoner by train, and they pass by the prisoner's ranch.

    Hitch wondered what a man might feel looking on his property for the last time as he was transported to prison to be hung.

    Then he decided there was no profit in thinking about what a man felt, so he quit thinking about it.

    It made me laugh because it's such a GUY way of dealing with stuff.

  36. Awesome, Erica!

    The "don't go there" mentality.

    Hiya Happy Friday to Hannah!

  37. Every once in a while my husband asks about one of my books and I always say, "You don't really want to hear what I'm working on."

    He insists he does.

    So, I start talking, giving him my one sentence pitch, then the blurb, then building on what I'm trying to accomplish.

    I can see his eyes glaze over pretty quickly.

    Or, barring the glaze, he'll start shaking his head and make some comment about how strangely my mind works.

    Well, yes, I suppose that's a given with a writer.

  38. Funny,

    It reminds me of the time my sister asked her husband what he thought about her dress. The conversation goes like this

    How do I look in this dress?


    Just fine?

    What do you think about the color?

    It's fine.

    She stares at him, arms akimbo.

    "Are you evening looking?"

    He glances at her. "Of course I am."

    "Then why can't you answer me?"

    "I did."

    "Honey, fine is not an answer. Honestly, couldn't you expound just a little?"


    She twirls before him in her yellow dress. "Well, how do you think I look."


    "Yes. Do you like the dress?"

    He studies her. Maybe does a few Monk moves as he honing his thoughts and calculating his eye. "Reminds me of a yellow school bus."

    We'll finish the story there...

  39. LOL, Tina and Mary. Both excellent examples. Proving that Dave Barry is right.

  40. Thanks Tina! Happy Friday to you too. I'm soooo glad it's the weekend! Have a lot to do this weekend though : / Schoolwork, musical rehearsal, Hannah's READ Program, yardwork...the list goes on and on! Lol...

  41. Every woman need to learn to think like a guy. I know my dialogue gets a bit wordy for males until I need to rewrite things. When cutting words comes into play, my heros ALWAYS get their conversations snipped.

    Hey talk is talk. It's *the look* I'm into. Men can say so much with a simple facial expression.

    Oh be still my heart!

  42. Hey all!
    I'm serving up Garlic Alfredo Pizza for everyone tonight! Fresh out of the has pizza crust, alfredo sauce, chicken breast, garlic, and carmelized onions. I can honestly say that it. is. fantabulous! Lol...


  43. Hi Tina:

    You wrote:

    “You are a guy.

    Of course you think Dave Barry is a joke. Actually it is how women think men think women think.”

    I didn’t argue with that one bit. Dave Barry has how women think down pat. Of course, he is no position to know if he’s right.

    It is his opinion of how men think that I objected to and that is something I’m in a position to know something about.

    If you ask a man a commitment question, or what he perceives to be a disguised commitment question, he’s not going to be thinking about changing his transmission fluids. He’s going to be thinking about survival.

    Am I to take it then that Dave Barry got the female mind right?


  44. Hi Julie:

    You wrote:

    “In relation to Dave Berry's book, Vince said: ‘That’s how men think women think men think’.

    My response? EXACTLY! And the market for romance is primarily women, so what's the problem??? :)”

    I was actually going to address this very issue but I thought my post was too long already. Years ago I heard a film director say that they could not use real gunshots in cowboy movies because real gunshots were too short in duration and did not sound real when heard in a movie theather. So to sound real, they had to use fake gunshots (sound effects.)

    I was going to write that the benefit of reading male authors like Ed McBain (and Robert Parker as well) is that they write male dialogue in a way that other males will perceive as genuine.

    Real male talk is often full of mistakes or repetitions. In many cases the hero would not sound very heroic speaking the real thing.

    Therefore, I have to say that I agree with you and there is indeed no problem.


  45. Hi Mary:

    I must say the strongest male sounding character I’ve read in a romance book is Clay in your book, “Petticoat Ranch”. Every time Clay speaks, I see a young Clint Eastwood. Did you have Clint in mind when you wrote this? I’m only on page 49 because the type is too small for me. I sure hope you get eBooks so I can read them all.

    I’m on 38,600 words and I love what I’m doing. Thanks for the kick-start BIAW.


  46. Hi Ruth:

    You wrote:

    “Yup, I say ol' Dave's pretty much on target. There's a reason men gravitate to the movie Clueless... Dumb and Dumber....”

    Guys are just getting even for all the Chick Flicks they’ve had to endure. Those guy-bashing movies are an inside joke.

    * * * *

    And, BTW, kudos for helping create a real life ‘black moment’ leading to a happy ending. ‘ )


    P.S. I’m doing all I can to provide balance but Walt needs to get here soon.

  47. Vince, you get the Guts and Glory award for the day for defending men.

    Walt is deep doo doo for not being here as your Wing Man.

  48. Tina, what a fun topic! What a great post! I love all the comments, too, esp. Lisa's: "fine is the married hot." LOL

    Thanks for the great Seeker tips, and the photos, and the laughs. This is better than happy hour. :)

  49. Vince, Petticoat Ranch recently released in large print. It's expensive so I'm not expecting you to buy it BUT go to your local library adn request it in large print. If they don't have it, see if they can get it on inter-library loan.

  50. Oooh, What a great post to get ready for sweet dreams by? Thanks a bunch!

    And it's given me a lot to think about regarding my 'heroes'. Sigh... they seem so perfect in my head, but now I have to focus on transferring that on paper.

    I just finished reading Robin Lee Hatcher's new book 'Fit to be Tied'. Oh my goodness, I fell in love with her hero the very first page I met him and I'm not even sure why. Maybe it was 'feeling sorry for him' but oh my...he was loveable.

    Those are the kinds I want to write.

    I'm going to the website you mentioned AND check out the books. What fun reads.

  51. Vince, I spoke directly to you, as did others, but you didn't reply to me. That's so like a man! Surely you can't argue with this. Even inane comments deserve a grunt.


  52. Hi Janet:

    Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!

    I tried to answer everyone who addressed me directly with my last four posts but I did miss you. Sorry. (I left some nice red roses with the coffee next to the remaining blintzes.)

    You wrote:

    “I have noticed my husband squirms when I ask a simple question such as, "Do you like my hair this way or the old way?"

    He's afraid it's a trap.

    Depending on my mood, he could be right.”

    Indeed, it could be a trap. You might not have changed your hair at all. Besides, female questions are often not an attempt to get answers.

    For example, “how did you like the lasagna?” is really a reminder to say thank you for fixing our meal and to make the cook feel appreciated.
    If a man has not learned this, and he says something like, “it was good but a little dry” then he is in for big trouble.

    My favorite trap is to sneak off and get a haircut after my wife has been nagging me for days to get a haircut. She doesn’t even notice I got a haircut. Then without thinking she will nag me again, often from another room, about getting a haircut and I’ll indignantly say, “I don’t think I even need a haircut.” When she comes out to argue, I win. : )


  53. Sorry I'm late to the party.

    I've spent two days at Bouchercon in Indianapolis. I know Michael Connelly has probably said this before, but this was his advice: Put your head down.

    Meaning, write without getting distracted.

    I'm exhausted. Loved the Dave Berry stuff :)

  54. Hi Mary:

    “Petticoat Ranch” is in the Tulsa system in Large Print and I’ve already requested a hold. This has been a profitable post for me today.



  55. Sorry I missed this fun tete-a-tete. I have been swamped at work and had kids' activities immediately afterwords.

    Guys are easy to figure out. Woemen, that's a separate challenge. Jack Nicholson said it best in the movie "As Good as it Gets" when Helen Hunt asked him, "How do you write women so well?"

  56. LOL, Janet and Vince you are killing me.

    Cathy, you got to go to Bouchercon! Lucky girl. I went once when it was in Denver and was inches from Elmore Leonard (my hero) when he was speaking at the awards. Now there's a guy who writes guys.


    Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets--

    How do you write women so well?

    "I think of a man, and I take away reason and accountability."

    This is why Diane Keaton killed him off in her screen play.

    Be very afraid, Walt!!!

  58. Tina,

    Sorry, but that line always made me laugh.

    A reader of my manuscript once asked how I got women's comments about men so accurate.

    I responded that I was only chenneling what my wife had said to me over 14 years of marriage.


  59. LOL. I had to go to a lot of trouble to find that line you know.

    I googled and then found the scene on HILARIOUS.

    I'll cut you some slack AND give you bonus points for having the guts to post that at all.

    Guys 10 Gals 100 Apparently we still won today.

  60. Tina R said...
    Guys 10 Gals 100 Apparently we still won today

    Tina P says...

    That's because we know men so well, if they'd just admit it and let us change them like we need too everything would be fine.


  61. I live constantly in guy heaven (mother to four guys, wife to one who is in a family of guys.) I have more trouble with a woman's point of view...:)

    Anyway, loved the photo of James Dean. (Cathy and I live in Fairmount, home of the late James Dean...) :)

    Fun post.

  62. REALLY??? I had no idea!! Wow, do you get a lot of JD tourists? Did they memorialize his home?

    Yeah, I spent most my life swimming in testosterone. Everyone else goes back and makes their guys sound manly and I have to go back and make my women sound girly.

    Go figure.

  63. This was one of my all-time favorite posts. Thanks, ladies, for this treasure trove of info on writing guy.

    BTW, who is that scrumptious model at the top of the article? That eye candy is better than breakfast pastry any day!

    > : D

  64. Kathleen that is the infamous James Dean.

  65. Vince, you're a sneaky guy. Who knew? LOL

    But very nice! Thanks for the roses. They made my day. See how easy it is to please a woman?


  66. For those of you wondering, James Dean and I are not related. My loss.


  67. OMGoodness, I've never seen that pic of James Dean before. Where have I been? Thanks, Tina.
    so, Janet, I guess that means you can admire him without guilt like the rest of us. heehee

  68. Hi Janet:

    I never thought it was hard to please a woman. All a man has to do is find out what a woman wants and then give it to her.

    The hard part is figuring out what a woman wants. Women have a way of asking for things they don’t want as a way of getting things they do want. It took a long time for me to figure out that this actually makes sense.

    For example, if a woman wants a man to say “I love you” more often with passion and genuine sincerely, then she can’t actually ask for this! If asked for it would not be sincere.

    I think mothers could help their sons’ future wives if they would teach sons this form of woman-speak.

    BTW, I learned of James Dean’s death while I was visiting my uncle’s house and I heard my teenage cousin crying her eyes out in her bedroom. I asked my aunt what was wrong. She said, “James Dean died.” I said, “Who’s he?” and she said, “Don’t ask Linda that.”