Sunday, October 29, 2006

As a Man Who Writes Romance Novels…

After reading my recent Post, Men Reading Romance, some of my friends and colleagues have asked me, “Bill, how can you, a man, write romance novels?” My first response was in jest – I harkened back to the movie, “As Good As It Gets.” When the receptionist asks Jack Nicholson, a male romance writer, “How do you write women so well?” Melvin Udall, played by Nicholson, immediately replies, “I think of a man, and I take away reason and accountability.”

On a more serious note, however, a short time ago I read an excellent WRITER-ON-LINE.COM article by Joyce Lavene, “Write from the Heart: The Men of Romance.” In it, she refers to Jim McBride, a male romance writer, as being “more of a maverick in the romance field.” And in addressing why and how men can write romance novels, she quotes Jim as saying, “I don’t think that has much to do with gender. To other men who want to write romance: I would encourage men and women to do what they want in life. My advice: Write from the heart; write what you like…. I don’t think it’s unmanly to be sensitive. The soul has no sex."

From my own perspective, as a man who writes romance novels, I have numerous considerations regarding the question. For example, I’m not convinced that women have the corner market on romance. (As I said in that Post, “…maybe the world is becoming more androgynous.”) I think a lot of men think and feel lovingly and romantically, but don’t express it because in our society men who are romantic are many times considered a wuss or called a girly-man. As I write my romance novels, I just think lovingly – like “what might a loving person say or do in a situation like this?” Then I write it out, and nine times out of ten it sounds and is romantic.

Thanks for the question, Bill

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