Creating Characters: Tapping Into The Male Psyche

Today I’m sharing a portion of Ronie Kendig’s fascinating piece on creating believable male characters, a topic I’ve spoken and written about before, as two of the three characters that drive the narrative of my literary mystery (The Angry Woman Suite) are male, and I am not … so, whether you’re Wally Lamb and writing from the female point of view (She’s Come Undone), or as I and Ronie Kendig (Dead Reckoning/link below) have done, from a male perspective, how the heck do you do that and get it right? Here are Ronie’s thoughts:

“Writing is a literary expression of who we are, what we feel and how we think. It would be correct to say that in order to write the male POV accurately , one must understand the way men think (I hear many ladies snickering right now). That line of thought led me to the Gender Genie and/or Gender Guesser, an online program that analyzes chunks of writing to determine the author’s gender. The algorithm used is based off a study done between Moshe Koppel, Bar-Ilan University, Israel, and Shlomo Argamon, Illinois Institute of Technology, which found indicators within documents that were distinctively male and distinctively female.

The point is, while generalizations about males and females are often exaggerated, they are based in truth—there are differences in the way men and women talk and think. Writers have the great task of translating the known differences into plausible, compelling fiction and characters. To do that, we refer back to the science. And remember, these are generalizations.

  • Men provide answers that assume the receiver has no knowledge of the topic/object being discussed. In other words, they talk and act to provide INFORMATION.
  • Men tend to state demands (“Give me an iced tea.”) rather than preferences (“I’d like a Diet Coke, please.”) the way a woman would.
  • Men usually do not answer all questions or respond to everything said
  • Men are one-box thinkers. They say what they mean and focus on one topic. Typically, there’s no reading between the lines.
  • While men internalize their thoughts, they are generally not thinking about feelings. Paragraphs of internal diatribe on feelings do not belong in a man’s POV (or at least not heavily).
  • Men are not verbose. They take the shortest possible route through a discussion; unlike ladies who can cover ten topics with one conversation, (we’re just talented that way!).
  • While a man might notice a woman’s curves (just keeping it real), they aren’t likely to notice what the woman is wearing (“Hey, is that a new Kate Spade dress?”).
  • At a dinner party, the men are more prone to chat up friends, but women will have stronger radars, noticing not just who is there, but relational aspects (Why is John sitting so close to Sue?) because women are about INVOLVEMENT, connecting, relationships.
  • Use appropriate verbs. Men do not giggle. They chuckle. They guffaw (a strange word in and of itself).”

 

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Ronie Kendig grew up an Army brat. She married a veteran, and together their lives are never dull with four children and two dogs–a Golden Retriever and a Maltese Menace. Ronie’s degree in psychology has helped her pen novels of intense, raw characters. Since launching onto the publishing scene, Ronie’s Rapid-Fire Fiction has hit the CBA Bestseller List, won the prestigious Christy Award, named to 2012 Bestselling Fiction by Christianbook.com, finaled in numerous contests and reader awards, including ACFW Carol Awards, RWA’s Faith, Hope, & Love’s Inspirational Readers’ Choice Awards, Christian Retailing’s Readers’ Choice Awards, INSPY Award, The Christian Manifesto Lime Awards, and FamilyFiction’s Readers’ Choice Awards. Ronie’s titles include her debut title and spy thriller–DEAD RECKONING–the Discarded Heroes series (NIGHTSHADE, DIGITALIS, WOLFSBANE, FIRETHORN), the A Breed Apart series (TRINITY:MILITARYWAR DOG, TALON:COMBAT TRACKING TEAM, BEOWULF: EXPLOSIVES DETECTION DOG) and the upcoming (2014) The Quiet Professionals (RAPTOR 6, HAWK, FALCON). Ronie’s writings are also in the 7 Hours direct-to-digital novella collection (WHOLE PIECES), Central Park Rendezvous novella collection (DREAM A LITTLE DREAM), and the Denali Dreams novella collection (DARING HEIGHTS, TAKING FLIGHT). Ronie can be found at http://www.roniekendig.com, on Facebook (www.facebook.com/rapidfirefiction), Twitter (@roniekendig

 

 

The Great E-book Pricing Question

Originally posted on David Gaughran:

soulsale There’s more guff written about pricing than almost anything else, resulting in an extremely confusing situation for new self-publishers. I often see them pricing too low or too high, and the decision is rarely made the right way, i.e. ascertaining their goals and pricing accordingly.

Price/value confusion

Before we get to the nuts-and-bolts, it’s time to slay a zombie meme. Much of the noise on this issue springs from conflating two concepts, namely price and value.

Authors often say something like, “My book is worth more than a coffee.” Or publishers might say, “A movie costs $10 and provides two hours of entertainment. Novels provide several times that and should cost more than $9.99.”

Price and value are two different things. From Wikipedia:

Economic value is not the same as market price. If a consumer is willing to buy a good, it implies that the customer places a higher value…

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The HarperCollins Lawsuit: Keeping Authors Aboard As Traditional Publishing Sinks

Originally posted on The Misfortune Of Knowing:

HarperCollins v. Open Road

In March, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, sitting in Manhattan, handed a victory to HarperCollins in its lawsuit against Open Road Integrated Media over the e-book publishing rights of Jean Craighead George’s award-winning children’s novel, Julie of the Wolves (1972). This “victory” for HarperCollins, however, highlights for authors one of the perils of pursuing the traditionally published route: desperate publishing corporations will stop at nothing to make sure “its” authors go down with the ship.

Let’s start with the facts of the case:

  • In 1971, author Jean Craighead George signed a contract with HarperCollins (then Harper & Row) to publish Julie of the Wolves “in book form” for a $2,000 advance (just over $11,000 in today’s dollars) and royalty payments between 10-15%.
  • Although the grant of publishing rights was in Paragraph 1, the contract also contained a provision (Paragraph 20) that said:…

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A Review of Lee Fullbright’s The Angry Woman Suite

Originally posted on The Misfortune Of Knowing:

Lee Fullbright’sThe Angry Woman Suite is a heartbreaking tale of historical fiction spanning six decades.  There are three storytellers:  Elyse, Aidan, and Francis, each offering a different perspective of a murder and its effect on one family over three generations.  There are many seemingly evil women, bordering on stereotypes at times. The real lesson, though, is that people are complicated, not all bad or all good, though perhaps more one than the other.  It’s worth reading.

I found many aspects of Fullbright’s novel intriguing, including her portrayal of the public perception of divorce, marriage, and disabilities and the cyclical nature of child abuse.  Diana Grayson declares in 1955, “divorce is unacceptable,” telling her daughter to stop talking about her “real daddy,” who had passed away, because “where we’re going, people might [mistakenly] think I’ve been divorced.”  Fear of divorce and/or marriage motivate several characters to remain in unhappy, unhealthy unions or…

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Awards, Reviews, And Moving On To The Next “Woman”

I have taken a nice long novel-writing break since The Angry Woman Suite won the big San Diego book award (the Theodor Geisel Award) for ”Best of the Best” in June, 2013, but now that the holidays are behind us and I’m feeling caught up with myself again, I’m also feeling a need to dive back into the first draft of book #2, tentatively titled A Woman of Commitment, about a young veterinarian looking back on the mid-century conviction of her then-boyfriend for the murder of her best friend.

So before I re-bury myself in research (currently on how to commit the perfect murder (and one can research this particular “how to” via Google), here’s goodbye to an awesome 2013. And while this isn’t goodbye to blogging, it’s accepted (I hope) that I’m pretty “one- track” when caught up in creative writing; I will, though, check in from time to time and perhaps share snippets from A Woman of Commitment as I move along with her.

 In the meantime, I’ve shared (below) some of last month’s Goodreads and Amazon readers’ comments and ratings re The Angry Woman Suite (Amazon link: http://amzn.to/ZBCGGg). I have not edited readers’ spelling and/or syntax.

I value all your comments (um, just the good ones, actually) and the amazing generosity you’ve shown me since The Angry Woman Suite debuted. Thank you so much, and Happy 2014!

5.0 out of 5 stars An extremely insightful, intriguing and impressively written book!,

By John P. Cohan (houston, TX USA) – Amazon Verified Purchase

This review is from: The Angry Woman Suite (Kindle Edition)

I generally do not give reviews, but was compelled to do so with The AWS as the author deserves recognition for creative talent. Great characters who are well developed and worth getting to know. Take your time to enjoy this great book!

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read!!,

By Heather MAmazon Verified Purchase(

This review is from: The Angry Woman Suite (Kindle Edition)

This book was fabulous! You fell in love with different characters, hated others, and grew empathetic to the rest! Lee had some great life lessons that she taught to the reader, and educated us on history as well! The three different voices kept you interested throughout this book!

5.0 out of 5 stars The Angry Women’s Suite: thumbs up

By kristi nugent Verified Purchase(This review is from: The Angry Woman Suite (Kindle Edition)

A great book-club read. My book-club just finished and discussed Fullbright,s award winning book. A masterpiece in thought with characters you may hate at first, then love or …every reader at club has her own favorite character, either who they wanted to become or who they despised. I was amazed at how three protagonist all worked together to create a relationship, family struggles, a complicated web of emotional ties. Fullbright also seems to understand human nature, history and has a writing style that captivates from the first chapter. I bought this book on my Kindle on my iPad. I took a screen shot of her first two pages outlying the three protagonists inner circle. I referred back to it often and recommend to be sure to look for this especially in electronic version. This book for me brought up emotions but Fullbright was careful to not go too far, emotionally, but keeps you wanting to read to the end. The last half of the book has surprises.

4.0 out of 5 stars Very well written story 

By Mark Phillips – Amazon Verified Purchase

This review is from: The Angry Woman Suite (Kindle Edition)

Understated storytelling where drama is built gradually from well written and flowing episodes. The passage of time unveils a subtle yet interesting story with memorable characters.

5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual and compelling

By AMB Amazon Verified Purchased This review is from: The Angry Woman Suite (Kindle Edition)

This is not a light read, but it is one that drew me in and kept me thoroughly entertained throughout. Excellent writing, good characters and an interesting plot, this book deserves the positive reviews it is receiving.

5.0 out of 5 stars Unique read!

By Jaclyn HeiserThis review is from: The Angry Woman Suite (Kindle Edition)

Awesome, unique, I was glued to it from beginning to end. Riveting story, great historical references. I Would definitely recommend!

5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!

By deborah leelingAmazon Verified Purchase This review is from: The Angry Woman Suite (Kindle Edition)

A real mystery! I read it straight through the day, couldn’t put it down. It kept me guessing until the very end!

5.0 out of 5 stars Very deep!

By bj2131Amazon Verified Purchase

This review is from: The Angry Woman Suite (Kindle Edition)

This book was rather hard to follow, but not so much that I lost interest. It got better and better because little tidbits of information were constantly being revealed. The way the author jumps back and forth between decades was like an interesting puzzle. I was constantly having to pay close attention to who was speaking and what era they were in. But, in the end, all my questions were answered. I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone whose just looking for light reading. This author digs down deep into the heart and sole of her subjects, and sometimes it isn’t very pretty. But then, neither is life…sometimes.

4.0 out of 5 stars A Story of Forgiveness and Redemption  

By Tammy JohnsonThis review is from: The Angry Woman Suite (Kindle Edition)

This book gives the reader a glimpse into the lives of three people whose destinies are hopelessly intertwined and the journey to acceptance and forgiveness…of self, of others, and of circumstances beyond our control. Historical significance mingled with hope for a different outcome in a story that is carried full circle from Washington on the Brandywine to the Vietnam Era, this story artfully ties the past with the present and art with life.

4.0 out of 5 stars the angry woman suite  

By Pamela Carroll (Mary Esther, FL USA) – See all my reviews

Amazon Verified Purchase)

This review is from: The Angry Woman Suite (Kindle Edition)

It’s an interesting story and helps readers understand better why it’s important to nurture children. Ideally children should have a warm loving home environment; however, realistically, many time it doesn’t happen that way. For those times, there can be a serious consequence that is passed on to future generations. It’s alarming how many lives are affected by a seed of anger.

4.0 out of 5 stars The Angry Woman Suite  

By J. Shap Amazon Verified PurchaseThis review is from: The Angry Woman Suite (Kindle Edition)

Hauntingly beautiful. Provocatively inspired. So many twists and turns, as in every life lived. As the story grows through differing eyes, you will be captured!

4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing

By Amber Henson (Huntsville, TX, US) – Amazon Verified Purchase

This review is from: The Angry Woman Suite (Kindle Edition)

Very different and loved every bit of it. A recommended reading for any one who enjoys a twists and turns.

4.0 out of 5 stars Quite the puzzle!

By MaryAnneAmazon Verified Purchase

This review is from: The Angry Woman Suite (Kindle Edition)

The story is there. It just takes a while to figure it out. Kind of like unwinding a tangle of thread. So many twists and turns and characters to figure out. Good narrative and overall tale.

4.0 out of 5 stars Captivating,

By lucyvanpelt27Amazon Verified Purchase This review is from: The Angry Woman Suite (Kindle Edition)

The Angry Woman Suite is a captivating novel with twist and turns that leave you hanging on the last words and wanting to push on through to the end to find out the outcome. Wonderfully written.

5.0 out of 5 stars Story of a twisted family and its fight for survival

By Kindle CustomerAmazon Verified Purchase

This review is from: The Angry Woman Suite (Kindle Edition)

I really liked the twists and turns of this story. Reminds me to be very careful of the way we act and talk in the surroundings of children, be they ours or someone else’s. Very well written and will keep you turning pages .

5.0 out of 5 stars Margie

By margie tenleyAmazon Verified Purchase

This review is from: The Angry Woman Suite (Kindle Edition)

This was one of the best books I have ever read . You usually know how it will end a lot of twist and turns but this book was challenging

5.0 out of 5 stars A great read!

By Carol Petersen – Amazon Verified Purchase

This review is from: The Angry Woman Suite (Kindle Edition)

Complicated plot and story, wonderful character development. I couldn’t wait to read till the end and then sorry it was finished.

4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read

By Kathrine J SchroederAmazon Verified Purchase

This review is from: The Angry Woman Suite (Kindle Edition)

This book is a paradox. I found the characters unsympathetic as a whole, but The Angry Women Suite is beautifully written.Many times I put this down determined not to read any more of it, but I couldn’t stop until I had finished it.

 

Via Goodreads:

Michelle rated it 5 of 5 stars

Amazing book! I don’t have words enough to condense a review into a few short sentences. there are so any dynamics evolving at one time that it was occasionally hard to follow. But the author does an amazing job keeping on track and wrapping it all up beautifully. Loved this book!

Emily rated it 4 of 5 stars

Fullbright crafts an intricate narrative, layered with fear, deception, heartache, child abuse, and constant chaos. An aging mansion in Pennsylvania, and a missing suite of paintings, become the bones binding together this skeleton of a family. The story unravels dramatically in detailed, diary-like accounts, written by three main characters, each representing jagged pieces of the past, the present and the possible future of the Grayson legacy.

I found Fullbright’s writing style to be poetic and musical, engaging all of the senses. I also found it to be haunting, staying with me days after I had finished reading the book. In fact, the farther back I stood from the passages, the more depth and detail I saw. It’s as if the characters and the story line continued to present themselves, demanding my attention, reminding me of some basic life lessons that should not ever be forgotten.

“It’s a ludicrous expectation for women to have of men, thinking they live to fill their empty spaces.”

This book is not an easy read, it does require attention and the ability to be patient while the story unfolds. Although each chapter is beautifully written, they require one another for the full impact, much like the way a photo-mosaic requires a distance to see the whole picture. I would recommend this book for individual enjoyment, but I do believe it would be an excellent book for a book club. In fact, I will be recommending it to mine.

Barbara‘s review

4 of 5 stars

Complicated, frustrating, compelling – a great read! Halfway through the book, I concluded that it was a book I would probably read more than once, which is something I very rarely do.
Alternating characters and across several decades, the narrator switches voice, detailing in first person narrative the development of characters in three generations, each with complicated stories which leave profound legacies for those who follow. If you don’t pay attention to whose voice you are hearing, you can quickly become confused (pay attention to chapter titles). To my surprise, the method works quite well.
The insights into how and why children might quietly accept physical and mental abuse and even blame themselves is quite disturbing. Also disturbing is hearing from an abuser how such abuse can be rationalized. One might expect there to a direct link from the dysfunction in one generation to the next, and yet perhaps such is not totally inescapable. There are surprises here. The ultimate answer to the question of whether personality is the product of heredity or environment will not be easily nor definitively answered.
Those who have lived in the Chadds Ford area of Pennsylvania (Delaware, Maryland) will appreciate the intertwining of art, music, and history in that area, from Revolutionary War times to the present. The characters spend time in different parts of the country, including time in the deep south as well as California, but it is the Chadds Ford area that features most prominently. References to the Revolutionary War are prominent no matter where the characters are temporarily based.
A fascinating book, which I will revisit.

Pooja (On books!)‘s review

4 of 5 stars

bookshelves: 2013, ohmyeffingodsobrilliant

Lee Fullbright’s writing is definitely what made this story seamless despite the breadth of the misery, damage, history, longing, lust, apathy, “matter-of-fact” twists and downright chills the book is packed with. Even more laudable is the tightly-woven intricacy with which the conflicts of the narrators are handled; leading to a coming of age, the letting go and making peace spanning over all of the three generations ! It takes an exemplary writer to be able to incorporate so much, and still leave us wanting more. I would’ve nearly thought it impossible before I read The Angry Woman Suite, so kudos to the writer for that!

One thing I must mention, though, is that The Angry Woman Suite is definitely not something you read when you’re in the mood for something fast or flippant. It’s going to demand every bit of your attention, suck you into the darkest corners of the human psyche and entrance you with its realness. It rewards the patient reader with its thoroughness and insights; with its re-readability and incredible writing… which definitely makes me want to recommend you make time for it!

Wendy ‘s review

5 of 5 stars

The writing is superb. The imagery brilliant and the writer seems to have thorough knowledge and understanding of psychosis and the different levels at which it affects its sufferers. This is not your average definition of crazy in stray jackets. It’s the type that goes on behind closed doors unnoticed or rather ignored. And then it builds members of society who are damaged and left unable to cope with life but have created just enough of a veneer to be considered “normal”.

My recommendation is that if you are looking for something challenging and entertaining you should certainly get the book. With that have something handy to throw, wail into or a friend to call. I can guarantee that unless you have had a perfect upbringing, your own demons will rise.

Stephanie‘s review

5 of 5 stars

This family saga was well done and super intense. Not many happy moments, but redemption always seems possible. The Graysons include two lovely individuals, but the rest are insane. I think maybe Buster was one of my favorite characters. He and Aidan are overshadowed by the fabulous Papa, however. Papa, we could all use a grandpa like you. Meeting you was worth reading the whole book. Elyse, I feel you.
I only hesitated to read this book because I didn’t want my darling husband to think I was “an angry woman”. The title is scary!

I realized after I wrote the review that the complex and finally insane paterfamilias was named Lear and he had three daughters. So obvious, yet I didn’t make the connection. I don’t like it when that happens.

Maria Barry‘s review

5 of 5 stars

Brilliant, utterly brilliant.
The darkness, the game play.
Anyone who has grown up in a dysfunctional family will feel the psychological games that exudes the pages of this novel.

The characters are full, rounded and jump off the page at you. I want to read it again, just to absorb the storytelling further.

Ladory rated it 4 of 5 stars

This was a very good book! The first few chapters especially pulled me in. I thought the author brilliantly captured how the mind of a precocious, gabby little girl worked. Her wise grandfather taught her a whole lot and I learned a lot from his teachings, as well! I was actually enthralled with the first third of this book. It gave me a lot of very good food for thought. It’s about three very dysfunctional families who included jazz musicians, artists, and historians. The storyline is very complex including murders, abuse, disease, and theft, and I felt lost a few times; but things were always explained eventually. So it does keep one guessing. The chapters were each written from the viewpoint of a different character. Some were more likable than others, of course, but the reasons for what drove these people to become what they did made sense for the most part, in my opinion.

I found the author to be very intelligent and insightful. I look forward to reading more from her!

Ginger rated it 4 of 5 stars

Thoroughly fascinating study of three characters told from each person’s first person point of view. A very well done study of the unreliable narrator as first person as the story unfolded. This would make a great book club discussion book.