I love Friday the 13th. I have the Best Luck Ever on these days, which I’m hoping will translate into some serious writing.
Though, admittedly, the latest article by PBW gives me pause. Called Girl in a Man Suit, it suggests that too many writers create heroes who, if you took away the names and all the identifying characteristics, would be indistinguishable from the heroines.
And I’m thinking, is this true? I have read stories where the heroes are TSTL (Too Sweet To Live), and have probably written one or two of them myself, but does that make the hero inherently feminine? Or, if the heroes do carry the essence of some feminine quality (just as surely as some heroines in romance novels carry the essence of masculinity), is that bad? Does that make them less attractive? PBW posits that it does, in the sense that if you’re looking for a man in a story, a girl in a man suit just won’t cut it. Dish out some masculinity! Make your men act like real men, as opposed to wannabees!
Thing is, that’s just too cut and dry for me. I mean, I can see her point (which is somewhat exaggerated, but in this situation, it would have to be), but when have people ever been as simple as MAN and WOMAN? Ideally, doesn’t everyone strive for some balance of qualities – and don’t we strive, as writers, to create characters that demonstrate that balance? Maybe PBW’s point is that in some romances there is no balance. Though her example of a “shero” made me laugh:
He says and/or does something nice and PC, to facilitate bonding. Something the author thought was sweet. Something no man alive would say or do during such a calamity unless you were holding a .44 pressed against his head. Or someplace further south. Something like:
“I�m so sorry, Miss,” said Luke as he stepped out of the Corvette and knelt to pick up Bethany�s crushed groceries. He gazed up at her. “I didn�t see you, so please let me pay for everything I�ve ruined. Were these Shitake mushrooms? I should have gotten some for the stir-fry I�m making tonight.” He gave her a gentle smile. “Do you like Japanese?”
‘Cause, you know, if any man said this to me after a fender-bender, I would think: “Dude hit me on purpose and is going to kidnap me. Go for the balls!”
Which, now that I think about it, may be PBW’s point -though her example stilll doesn’t work for me, because I don’t know a woman alive who would ask about Shitake after a fender-bender, either. Only someone very creepy would do that – regardless of gender.
Hm. More thought on this is needed. I have to write some men today, so no doubt I’ll be plagued by doubts while Scott and Wolverine bust some backside. In the nicest most sweetest way possible.