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View Full Version : do you mind reading romance written by a guy?



preyer
04-13-2006, 06:33 PM
or do you feel like a typical man, even a writer, can't possibly grasp what it's truly like to be a woman, thus their female lead won't be as believable, hence why bother? now, i know guys write romance all the time under fake names, but is it usually pretty clear when that happens?

i ask because i'm trying to get my wife interested in writing a book with me. she's an avid romance reader, and i mean avid. i'd actually be writing most of it, pretty much under her direction. she'd write some, though, but probably mostly be the story's ongoing editor. basically, i'm cheap labour, research and can come up with alternatives for places she gets stuck in. in the end, i hope not to have done so much of it that i feel uncomfortable putting her name on the front cover and accepting a credit for helping (seeing my name in print is no big whoop for me, but, you know, in case i ever decide to seek publication for something else, it'd be nice to have that on my resume). plus, i need to her rein in my soap opera style of storytelling, lol.

Perks
04-13-2006, 06:56 PM
You know, Romance is not the first thing I reach for on the racks, but an unapologeticly male byline would intrigue me. I don't see any reason why a man thus inclined and with the writing chops to make a good story, couldn't write a fine romantic novel.

Do it! Convince her.

Carlene
04-13-2006, 07:52 PM
Men have been writing romance novels for years - they just had to adopt a female pen name. I'm not a big romance reader - ladies? A little help? I know Gary Provost wrote and had one published in the '80's just to see if he could - his pen name was Marion Chase. Course, he could write anything.

Carlene

Lyra Jean
04-13-2006, 07:59 PM
I don't see a problem with it. In a romance you have two leads male and female. You could argue that women could not make a convincing male lead because they are women.

So try writing from the pov of the male character instead of the female.

veinglory
04-13-2006, 08:44 PM
I am absolutely indifferent to the gender of the writer--there are a couple of romance writers I happen to know are men, some use female pen names.

Also the bulk of romance these days uses male and female point of view pretty equally, some now even use male POV predominantly and a few exclusively.

sunandshadow
04-13-2006, 08:57 PM
I have read some good romance novels (and fanfiction and online erotica) by men. Generally I pick a book up because of its title or a recommendation, read the back cover, and decide based on that whether I want to buy it. I don't bother looking at the author's name unless I liked the book enough to want to seek out more by the same author.

PattiTheWicked
04-13-2006, 09:21 PM
I think assuming that a man can't write romance is a bit like assuming a woman couldn't write a detective novel or science fiction, because she wouldn't know how to be a hard-boiled PI or a macho space pilot.

A good story is a good story, and I'd never pass up the chance to read one just because of the author's genitalia.

Sonarbabe
04-14-2006, 02:10 AM
One of my favorite romance authors is a man. Leigh Greenwood writes great historical romances. I didn't realize a man had even written it until I finished the book, turned to the back cover and saw his picture. In fact, he was on the board of directors for RWA. So, I say go for it.

Psst. And just so you know, it can be pretty difficult for a woman to write from a guy's perspective. Especially when it comes to, urm, intimate scenes.

scarlet
04-14-2006, 02:38 AM
There's a very popular romantic writer in the UK who writes under his own name: Victor Pemberton. Just go for it preyer, I think the barriers (if they were ever there) are coming down now. Most people just love a good read whatever the author's gender. You'll never know though, if you don't try;)

preyer
04-14-2006, 04:51 AM
good replies, thanks all. i'm trying to think about if it affects how a reader, not a writer, may make their buying decision, too, particularly in such a relatively huge field. and it's not about the story i'm worried about, rather the characterization. not that i write bad female characters, mind you, but that's not to say i couldn't make a critical error somewhere.

there was one book of my wife's that i picked up and read quite a bit of only because the male character was so ridiculous it was entertaining. of course that may and probably is the exception, but that one turkey of a book had me saying aloud, 'no man would *ever* do that.'

i think that opens up and interesting question (to me, at least), that being: do you think some romance writers idealize male characters to the point they're unrealistic? i mean beyond pirate rogue with a heart-o-gold turned mary sue by the end, rippling muscles and manes of gold flowing like glints of sunlight off rough waters (i don't even know where to begin with where i went wrong with that description, lol, both prose-wise and analogy-wise), are the males in these stories just a dream not only in their actions but their thoughts, too?

i ask only to be less ignorant. :)

scfirenice
04-14-2006, 04:57 AM
I would definitly read a romance by a male writer. I think the point of view would be refreshing. I mean we all know about her quivering thighs....lets hear about HIS! : ) The male perspective is fascinating.

veinglory
04-14-2006, 05:15 AM
It depends on the genre and publisher. But romance requires more realism in some areas than others. Hell, if real life was like that there would be a bare-chested cowboy dragging me off to bed right now!

Tell me, did you think the female character in that book was any more realistic than the man?

Cathy C
04-14-2006, 05:38 AM
Wow! There are already LOTS of male romance writers. You'd be entering a noble, honored tradition. Here are a few of the best selling ones. Now, mind you -- a lot of them write either under initials or under a pen name, but everybody knows who they are (after all, they do book signings too!)


K.N. Casper (Ken Casper, former Air Force officer who writes for Harlequin)
Tony Kariyianni (writing as Tori Carrington, with wife Lori. Tony/Lori=Tori. Writes for Harlequin, Silhouette and Tor)
Wayne Jordan (Writes for BET, now owned by Harlequin)
Nicholas Sparks (need I say more... ;) )
Leigh Greenwood (yeah, it SOUNDS like a female name, but he's all guy!)
Tom Curtis (writes as Laura London with wife Sharon. I think they wrote for both H/S and Zebra.)
Tom Huff (who wrote under the pseudonyms T.E. Huff, Edwina Marlowe, Beatrice Parker, Katherine St. Clair, Jennifer Wilde for Silhouette)

Those are all I can think of at the moment. But I will say I know both Ken Casper and Tony Kariyianni, and they're not at all shy about the fact they writes romance. Most of these authors, I'd also mention, are best sellers with many, many novels.

Good luck!

Jenny
04-14-2006, 05:39 AM
Good point, Veinglory. If the guy's unrealistic, chances are the woman is too.

Husband and wife writing teams do work in the romance field. Go back about fifteen years with Harlequin and there's "Emma Goldrick". There's another couple who branched out into suspense in the last few years, but the name is lurking just out of reach, Track of the Scorpion ?? might have been one title.

Jenny

Lady Cat
04-14-2006, 05:40 AM
I've read ALOT of romance novels and I'm sure some of them were written by men. If the book was well written, I wouldn't care whether the author was a man or a woman.

One of my favorite books is Single White Vampire by Lynsay Sands - the hero is a male vampire romance writer!

preyer
04-14-2006, 05:46 AM
no, not at all, and i deleted a sizable portion of my last post concerning females in these (albeit i really mean *all*) stories. except in chick-lit, they generally seem to share one of a few basic character bases. what turns me off in the 'romantic' genre is i don't know any women actually like that and, well, i feel rather removed from any realization that these are complex women. as to that specific book, i thought the female character was a crazy b!tch who reacted irrationally, but yet she was supposed to be 'understood' by other women. gawd, i hope that's not the case. all it really illustrated to me is that anyone can be published.

what i'd be afraid of is a male author writing from a female perspective being nothing more than an extended gripe about how women can be, or go so wishy-washy with the male character that he's no better than the worst cliche fantasy of what a man should be.

not just because i'm some dude, but i think they're just easier to write because our motivations and through processes tend to be on the simplistic side. basically throw in a couple of interesting flaws in with a male character and it seems most people are satisfied with that overall. caveman + aversion to killing + warrior poet = ...no one i've ever known, but a viable character nonetheless. but a female character, imo, is totally different. flaws just don't cover the character. am i wrong, does not the readership of 'romance' (here used as a catch-all) take for granted a lot of feminine characteristics which might escape a male reader and/or writer? for example, i know why the guy married to the most beautiful girl in the world screwed the skank at the end of the bar. because he's a guy. why the most beautiful girl in the world screwed the pizza delivery guy has quite a bit different set of motivations and psychological elements, i think, which, and correct me if i'm wrong, a woman is far more likely to grasp than a typical man. that girl tells her friend the story and she gets a knowing nod, that guy tells and buddy and gets asked, 'how was she?' the male character in a romance doesn't tell anyone because he's perfect, which basically negates any reason why the female character would share herself to begin with.

i think i've even cornfuddled myself with this one. :)

veinglory
04-14-2006, 05:48 AM
I love the sci fi romances by Sharon Lee & Steven Millar (some of the few books I think romance and non-romance fans could enjoyed equally)

...which romances have you been reading. It's a more diverse genre than it used to be.

But if you want to write the classic alpha male / happy ending stuff you need to learn to love some of the quirks that go with that, at least a bit...

Cathy C
04-14-2006, 06:07 AM
except in chick-lit, they generally seem to share one of a few basic character bases. what turns me off in the 'romantic' genre is i don't know any women actually like that and, well, i feel rather removed from any realization that these are complex women. as to that specific book, i thought the female character was a crazy b!tch who reacted irrationally, but yet she was supposed to be 'understood' by other women.


What book are you discussing here? I'm confused. Also, what sort of romances does your wife read? The subgenres of romance are very different as to the common elements of the characters. Some are more complex than others.

Medievalist
04-14-2006, 06:17 AM
Preyer

You need to read some romances first. I'd suggest a broad range of kinds of romace--you like Fantasy, try Sara Zettle, C. T. Adams and Cathy Clamp's Touch of Evil (which I've started and am using as a bribe), Lee and Miller's Liadan books, and more pure romance forms, like Heyer's Regency novels, maybe the horror/romance cross overs--like Charlaine Harris Southern Vampire novels, or Patricia Briggs Mooncalled.

I'm exceedingly fond of Laura and Tom Curtis' The Windflower, published under the pen name Laura London. What are some other reading suggestions?

And there are other male romance authors, though my mind is blank at the moment . . .

preyer
04-14-2006, 06:48 PM
maybe then i would submit any ms as a collaboration.

my wife generally picks up historical romance, but she reads just about anything except paranormal romance. oh, i understand there's a wide selection to choose from, lol. and i've picked up some of her books and been very impressed. on the other hand, i'd be embarassed by some others to line my bird cage with. that's any genre, of course. i wish i could remember the name of that awful book i'm referring to, but there are probably several hundred romance books floating around here. her first choice are the kat martins and nora roberts. she breezed through all those, though, and is down to fabio (which i joke you just don't *say* fabio, you whisper it).

okay, okay, fabio is a guy. but, you know, he's got to be the exception if ever there was one. and i'd say other exceptions are proven writers dipping their toes in other fields for whatever reason.

were it just me and it being my first time, what are the realistic chances with an editor? worse than they already are, or it shouldn't make a difference provided i provide a good enough story?

Cathy C
04-14-2006, 08:17 PM
were it just me and it being my first time, what are the realistic chances with an editor? worse than they already are, or it shouldn't make a difference provided i provide a good enough story?

That second one... It won't make a bit of difference whether you're one person or two. The publisher won't care. :)

preyer
04-16-2006, 04:03 AM
ah. :) see, i never really considered until now whether or not an editor cared if it was a collaboration when it comes to unpublished authors.

Sonarbabe
04-16-2006, 04:20 AM
Tony Kariyianni (writing as Tori Carrington, with wife Lori. Tony/Lori=Tori. Writes for Harlequin, Silhouette and Tor)

OMG! I just bought Tori Carrington's newest Blaze book and it's fabulous! I never would have imagined that it was written by a man (with the aide of his wife) See? A guy can write romance just as well as a woman!

preyer
04-16-2006, 04:23 AM
well, that's good to know. :) my wife isn't a writer, though. oh, i think she can probably write very well once she started, but, you know, there's a learning curve. and i'm probably a better editor than writing myself, so maybe it'll work out. or cause a divorce. if you see me posting an 'application to be preyer's girlfriend,' you'll know what happened.

Medievalist
04-16-2006, 04:25 AM
Editors don't care if you're a giraffe with hives, as long as you can write.

veinglory
04-16-2006, 04:42 AM
A giraffe with hives and either an opposable thumb or some good speech recognition software then ;)

preyer
04-16-2006, 04:45 AM
are you suggesting i should start putting down-payments on an army of monkeys and word processors?

veinglory
04-16-2006, 04:50 AM
I'm cheaper and have a rent-to-buy option.

preyer
04-16-2006, 05:23 AM
well, it *would* be nice not having to buy flea collars for all those monkeys.... i assume you're housebroken?

veinglory
04-16-2006, 05:39 AM
Sure, I broke this one--I'm sure I could break yours too.

preyer
04-16-2006, 05:46 AM
lol. i normally don't do posts like this unless i think it's funny, so, once more, lol.

dlcharles
04-16-2006, 06:33 AM
Will Cook - The Life and Loves of Sabrina Kane - Romance - Leisure Books - 1995, Western Writer and Historical Western Fiction. Mr. Cook is very well known for his works. In my endeavor to study up on romance writing I stumbled across his book and found it interesting.

I find you enjoyable, Preyer, you tend to tread fairly lightly along the precipice.

dlcharles
04-16-2006, 03:25 PM
But romance requires more realism in some areas than others. Hell, if real life was like that there would be a bare-chested cowboy dragging me off to bed right now!


I take it you haven't heard about Broke Back Mountain. That bare-chested cowboy would probably be dragging another bare-chested cowboy off to bed.

Oh, and about romance writing by a male, what about that young upstart called "Shakespeare" - he not only supposedly coined more new words in the English language than anyone, he wrote from the POV of all sexes.

preyer
04-17-2006, 07:01 AM
thanks, dl, and i've always been a pretty nimble guy and unafraid of heights (but i loathe ladders and all things rickety).

you know, some aver shakespeare was really the virgin queen, so there's your female perspective. personally, i think he was edward de vere, earl of oxford. :)

imike
04-17-2006, 08:17 PM
Anyone of you think that true love can happen in long distance? Do you think that long distance relationship will last?
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preyer
04-17-2006, 09:46 PM
okay, i guess this pretty far from the original question and bound to be moved, but i never minded going off on tangents.

can long-distance relationships last? they can. but do they? there are so many factors involved, but my knee-jerk reaction is they fall apart on average. then again, so do most short-distance relationships. i'd say the likelihood of keeping a long-distance relationship going strong is harder and therefore harder to keep. i say this under the presumption that the people involved were involved in a short-distance relationship.

i think that with internut relationships, there are a whole lot of people who kid themselves into thinking they're in love out of their own desperation and partially based on a fantasy scenario. of course, in every bunch there's one person who says that's how they met their spouse.

to answer your question it requires a lot of blanket statements and/or generalizations, just off the top of my head i'd say that, while it's possible, the odds are probably worse than with the two people within close proximity. at some point, a person needs physical contact, to speak in person with someone, and to have things unclouded (or at least less clouded) by distance to see if there's real chemistry there beyond sharing photos, phone calls and IM's.

i'm not sure i believe in true love in real life. it's all had an element of work for me. but, like a religious experience, maybe it has to 'hit' someone to make them a believer. if true love exists, i wouldn't think that distance would be a relationship killer given they weren't apart for decades on end. i do like those true love stories. i'm enamoured with the idea, certainly.

i wouldn't argue any of this, though, it's just my opinion. from the standpoint of a potential writer, i think i have to believe in the possibility and give it credence if i want to tell that kind of story. kind of like how i don't believe in magick, yet that doesn't stop me from writing a fantasy story, know what i mean?

Robin Bayne
04-21-2006, 03:05 AM
Men have been writing romance novels for years - they just had to adopt a female pen name. I'm not a big romance reader - ladies? A little help? I know Gary Provost wrote and had one published in the '80's just to see if he could - his pen name was Marion Chase. Course, he could write anything.

Carlene


I read a 7-book series by a male romance author--picked up the first because the title was "Fern," my sister's name, and unusual for a heroine. The author (Leigh Greenwood) also served as the prez for RWA.

To be honest, I saw absolutely no difference in his writing, plot, POV, or anything, in comparison with historical romances by female authors. I believe he studied the genre first and made his product comparable.

veinglory
04-21-2006, 03:08 AM
I take it you haven't heard about Broke Back Mountain. That bare-chested cowboy would probably be dragging another bare-chested cowboy off to bed.


I write gay romance, including westerns. So that would hardly be the last thought to cross my mind. But my 'real world' tend to include... well, me.

Dark Sim
04-21-2006, 03:24 AM
I was asking a similar question in another thread to the topic title of this one.

I'll just repost part of what I said here, slightly changing certain parts for this thread:

I was wondering how others (both female authors within that genre, and male authors outside that genre) would view a man writing romance. Just as a man could be a secretary or a nurse, it's still less usual to see one than a woman. Could others (both sexes) look down upon that man who has written romance just as others could potentially look down upon that man who has chosen that occupation.

I was also wondering if it might be like a man going to a hen party. Maybe there's nothing wrong as such, but wouldn't both the women there(and the men at the bachelor party) wonder why the man is going there (unless he is either trying to pick up chicks or is gay - and even then that might still be the wrong time for the man to be going there if he understands the purpose of both the hen and bachelor party).

veinglory
04-21-2006, 03:29 AM
I genuinely don't think the mainly female readers of romance care--many of us have named examples we know of. I mean what weird negative motive could de attributed to it?

Oh no, he's trying to... um, tell me a story and make some money writing in the best-selling genre that exists in the world today. Well, okay then.

dlcharles
04-22-2006, 01:34 AM
Veinglory: If I may, did anyone ever mention how well thought out and helpful your posts are? Well, they are!