Ah, this is a touchy situation for female romance writers. I’ve read a lot of romance books, the good, the bad and the supremely ugly, and one thing that I’ve noticed is a few of these books don’t quite “get” the male POV, whether it be in word or in action.
Now, readers, writers, folks who read this blog (and I hope they are more than a few), I am not pointing fingers. Don’t go peeking at my GoodReads list and say “Oh, she’s talking about this book, she’s talking about that book”. As an author, I live in a glass house, surely, so yeah.
One story I read, a while ago, had the male lead “wringing his hands”. My jaw dropped. A dude? WRINGING his hands? What’s next, is he going to whip out the handkerchief and blot his eyes? Clutch his pearls? (heh, yeah, I just thought the same thing)
I run a lot of male dialogue and actions past my husband and he has been less than kind when I describe a certain action that he deems not to be masculine. His biggest criticism? “You’ve got him talking too much.”
How true. I understand that the words on the page have to convey the character’s actions, but I’ve shifted to a lot more action and some introspection on the man’s part when I write rather than have him yakking. When I edit, the first thing I do is cut down male dialogue and either add action or introspection.
I also try to read books written by men (that are non romance). My favorites are the Spenser series by Robert Parker and the 87th street precinct series by Ed McBain. Both give excellent insight into how males process information and interact with others.
Watch shows like Law and Order, especially the ones with Jerry Orbach. Tough detectives with the quips and the dry humor. Excellent research and not so bad storylines either.
I also watch a ton of football and football oriented shows. That, uh, helps with male point of view too. (No, really it does.) And the NFL channel is probably one of the only places where you’ll see guys cry or almost cry. I saw Mike Ditka tear up, a tiny bit.
In none of these books do the men wring their hands. None. Never saw a guy wring his hands on the football channel either.