In VOX LIT May 2018 :
IN THE FREE VOXLIT ON-LINE THIS MONTH:
A very full offering this month. Ted Bun, James Gault, Sherry Leclerc, Karen Smith John Dill, Zaheera Shaik Alli and Keith Guernsey are back, and we’re joined by Andrea Lechner-Becker, Maggie Brumit, Priscilla D Robinson, Cherise Castle-Blugh and young writer Lenka Le.
Our News articles discuss the perfect (fictional) man, Naturist fiction, self-belief and confidence building, the mammoth task of the ‘rewrite’, how to be resilient, a criticism of big London publishers, editing as you write, and the fear of starting a new writing project. Our satire offering has Peter Pan struggling with controlling the borders of Never-Never land. We also have author interviews with Canadian authors Sherry Leclerc and Haidji Holtschlag.
Book reviews this month include the classic American novel ‘The Sound and the Fury’ and Ted Bun’s latest. Our new reviewer Priscilla D Robinson discusses Peter Davidson’s ‘My Advice to my Grandson Joel’.
In the features section you will find excerpts from James Gault’s new thriller ‘Best Intelligence’ and Ted Bun’s latest in the ‘Uncovered Policeman’ series, together with a short story by Keith, poetry from Zaheera and young writer Lenka’s first blog article.
The Writers’ Notes section throws light on how to control pace in a story.
Finally, do check out the Contributor’s section, which now contains a Contributors’ bookshop as well as information and links to their Author pages and web sites.
THE PERFECT (FICTIONAL) MAN
I recently posted on several Facebook authors’ groups asking ladies to comment on what they were looking for in their ideal man. I wasn’t meaning the dream love of their lives, but rather what it was that appealed to them in the male main character of a novel. Maybe not unsurprisingly though, the responses indicated that if they didn’t want to live with a character, they didn’t much want to read about them either.
One thing I asked about was whether they liked male characters who appealed to their inbuilt maternal feelings. This suggestion was rejected unanimously by all of my sixty or so respondents. ‘I want one that appeals to my female instincts, not maternal’ Rachel told me. Adrienne doesn’t want to ‘baby a man’. Ella’s view was even more dismissive: ‘gross! a mummy's boy!’. The lesson for poor male novelist like me is pretty clear, whatever we create for our main lead, ‘he better not need a mommy’ , as Deb insists.
I also asked about the perfect hero. Rejection of this type of character was not quite unanimous, but very nearly so. Only a couple of respondents indicated an interest in Supermen, Captain Americas or James Bonds, but as Taylor said ‘I'd watch the crap out of new 007 movies, but I would not date him.’ In general, the feeling was that a prefect hero would be boring, and, as Dani said, ‘who on earth wants perfect? That would get old so fast’. Perhaps one of the most illuminating comments came from Emma: ‘Every character needs a flaw that they overcome throughout the course of the story’.
To sum up, the advice from all the creative writing courses and authoring manuals seems to be about right. Create realistic protagonists with minor flaws that make them human, but give them enough sexual attraction to make your female readers want to move in with them. Sounds good to me! Like most male authors, I just have to write about myself.
A big thanks to all those ladies (and the occasional gentleman) who contributed to the discussions and provided their insight!
Contributed by James Gault