Thursday, May 3, 2012

Learning to Write the Male POV

I'm taking an online class about writing the male POV this month. Here's my thoughts as I read this week's lesson: 
My hero grew up with an Eastern European mother, in rural Oklahoma, and a Native American father. His mother was exotic, beautiful, intelligent, and he loved her with all his heart, although he didn't always act like he did because a part of him wanted her to be like all the other mothers. Although he had time to make his peace with her before she died of cancer, he still carries shame and guilt about some of the ways he acted when he was younger. As a result, he wants an ordinary life in the community where he grew up, and an ordinary Oklahoma wife.

Then his father reignites a relationship from his youth with a woman who lives in Europe, which sours him even more on the lure of exotic European women. 

So when he meets Hadley, who lived in Oklahoma as a child, but has spent most of her life in Paris and on the Riviera, although he is wildly attracted to her, he’s angry with himself for feeling that way. He is also ashamed because his grieving father has asked him to help this chick so she will leave the lake, and here he’s getting involved.

I’m wondering if I have him musing too much about the way he feels about his mother and who that influences his mixed emotions about Hadley. Should he be aware of this motivation, or should I just write his thoughts, and let his motivations finally break to the surface later?


The critique group I used to attend told me that when I’m in his POV, it’s cheating to not tell what he’s thinking, you know, the deep stuff, but sounds like that’s exactly what I should not be doing, because that’s what he’s not doing. His conscious thoughts are surface, emotional thinking, not analytical thinking.

So…. Does that mean we’re really MORE analytical than men?

So, he made up with his mother, but hasn’t changed his views…consciously, about women who aren’t all-American. Check.

He’s afraid he’s going to lose his father. He lost his mother a year ago. He does insist his father is going to be OK, although obviously, he’s very worried about him and dedicated to him.  Check

Hadley is not the clinging type. In fact, she’s not the relationship type, which, I guess, is one of the reasons he falls for her so hard. And in the end, he does come after her. He realizes they should be together before she does.  Check.

My former critique group thought she was also way too liberated. And yes, the little girls who see their mothers as role models. That’s Hadley.

I need him to scoff at her when she’s freaked out in the storm and tell her to, “Calm down.”  Should he ponder more about the meaning of her obvious come-ons to him? (She’s not shy about sex, although they don’t actually “do it” until near the end of the book.) I guess he needs to see her as a flirt, a tease, that first day, and think that way.

Take away:
  • Men will do anything not to feel loss or let loss change their viewpoint on life.
  • Men will do anything not to be feminine, including talking dirty, etc.
  • Men want specifics in conversation. Vague references and hints go right over their heads.
  • Men will scoff at emotions from a woman.
  • Men do not analyze feelings.
  • Men feel shame if they can’t fix every problem, yours included.