bSoundtrack: Fires by Band of Skulls
Words: +3700 on my WIP because I did NOTHING ELSE yesterday
I'm being such a girl about being a boy.
I don't mean being a boy as in cross dressing, borrowing my brother's stuff, or cutting my hair off with a sword and dawning armor, a la Mulan. I mean writing from a boy's point of view.
At first I was being completely ignorant. I figured, boys, huh? Well, obviously all they think about are their "private parts" and objectifying women. Wow, that's just as bad, if not worse than a male writer writing as a girl and thinking, make up? Check. Body image issues? Check. Totally obsessed with sparkly boys? Check. Man, this character rocks!
I decided that the best way to learn to write as a boy would be to look back on some of the books I've read that have awesome male characters.
1) Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. I'm not even done this book (I bought it yesterday--employee discount, squee!) and I'm already in love with Sam Roth. Instead of being all serious and practical, he breaks events down into song lyrics. He's romantic and fragile and really fun to read. I'm really glad I'm reading this book because it's reminded me of something I really need to remember: you don't have to write uber masculine characters that shoot everything in sight just for them to read as a guy. Write the kind of guy you'd want to know--the one whose head you'd really like to be inside.
2) Break by Hannah Moskowitz. I liked this book because it does a great job of showing the relationships between brothers. Just like girls, boys come with baggage--friends, family, past events--and writing about a character, singular, will never be as powerful (in my opinion!) as exploring that character's relationships with others. In Break, Jesse, Jonah and Will all have issues. Jesse has tons of serious food allergies, Will's a baby who won't stop screaming and Jonah is determined to break every bone in his body. Those things alone make them strong, interesting characters--but it's their reactions to each others' issues that make them really stand out as individuals.
3) The Darkest Powers trilogy by Kelley Armstrong. I'm not just saying this because I'm a total fangirl over these books--though it does help. I love Derek and Simon, two of the boys who are at a group home with the main character, Chloe. Derek is incredibly anti-social and aggressive, while Simon is pleasant, approachable and artsy. In this case, it would be easy to say, "Derek's bad, Simon's good," but good books are rarely so black and white. I'm glad I read these books because they reminded me of how important it is to have a back story that makes sense. It's easy to write a mean character but it's better to write a mean character who has a reason for being mean. Do they pick on people because they don't feel accepted? Maybe they dump every guy they meet within a few dates for fear of getting rejected themselves because someone dumped them in their past.
Okay, crappy examples, I know. The point is back story can equal motivation. It gives a character past events and choices that influence what they do now. It makes it easier for the reader to sympathize with a character, even if they are mean. Guys are damaged too.
I've been away for a little while because I was at my grandparents' house. It gave me some time to write, swim, and bask in what's left of summer (insert sad face). A seventeen hour drive later and here I am, over joyed to have my wireless back.