A Man or a Mouse

The ladies at Seekerville have given writers a cool reminder about making sure male characters are allowed to be male. I took notes when I read their blog post about writing “Guy”, the language which shows that a character is male. Their post has links to movie trailers which show who men are and how they react. I watched a few of the trailers. Correction, I enjoyed the few trailers I watched. Again, I took notes.

This post is a summary of what I learned that day mixed with comments from my own experiences with males.

Are focused on one thing
Are a little arrogant or cocky at times because it comes with having confidence
Speak in as few syllables as possible
Get in the enemy’s face
Don’t let a fight rob them of their sense of humor
Feel the heaviness of responsibility
Want their Dad or male mentor to be proud of them
Know what they’re fighting for
Take risks
Make sacrifices
Get the job done

Many times I’ll read comments from an author who says their characters dictate how the story will turn out. They interview their characters to find out what kind of people they are. So when my male characters begin to tell me their story, I’ll ask them, “Are you a man or a mouse?” That may rile the man a little, but he’ll give me examples of how he doesn’t back down from a fight or how he risks his own life to save the lives of people who can’t defend themselves.

Men are fun to write. Mice are not as memorable as Men. Men will confront trouble, but Mice will flee. Mice are easy to scare, but Men exude a powerful confidence.

Men are handsome no matter what they look like. They’re handsome because they care about the people they’re trying to protect. You can tell they’re handsome because they come out into the open where they can be seen, usually dodging bullets and drawing attention to themselves, not for the glory, but so the people they’re trying to protect can escape.

Mice lurk in the shadows because of their fears.

Men are heroes, and heroes live life to the fullest. Heroes know when to laugh, when to love, and when to stop everything else and get the job done.

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