The new Asylum Tales series has brought me a great combination of new revelations and challenges. It’s a new world, a new adventure, and a new storyteller. What’s more, this storyteller is a guy. Not being a guy myself, that brought its own interesting challenges as I attempted to create a voice that would be believable. The mental processes of a man are distinctly different from that of a woman. They think different, feel differently, and react to those thoughts and emotions differently.
For the most part, it has been a great joy writing from the point of view of a guy. It has definitely felt more freeing, both in terms of the language that I use as well as how he processes situations. He seems bogged down less with emotional weight than Mira (from the Dark Days series), but there is more to that situation than a difference in gender.
However, I’ve recently hit a small snag as something unexpected happened in the book that I’m working on. I didn’t think much about it when it happened, but retrospect is a dangerous thing. I now find myself looking back at that scene, wondering if I should tweak it.
Without giving too much away, it’s an emotionally charged scene between my main character, Gage, and a woman. Not only does Gage lay out his feelings before this female, but a single tear slips through his control. The feelings that he spills out don’t bother me. I was only surprised that it happened at this point in the book. It’s the tear that draws my concern.
We all know that men cry. At some point, we’ve all seen it so let’s throw aside that old belief that men don’t cry. Men cry when a child is born and they cry when a loved one dies. And some even cry when their favorite team loses. I think part of the problem for me is that in Hollywood, men don’t cry. Big, strong, kick-ass men never cry in movies. If Sylvester Stallone suddenly broke down in tears when the woman he loved got killed, we’d think less of him. We’d rather see him pick up the biggest gun he could find and kill the guy who killed his love. That’s what we’ve come to accept and expect.
Now Gage is no Sylvester Stallone. I don’t want him to be. But the precedent in our entertainment has already been set. If we drill down even further, we find that we can accept tears when someone dies, but what if someone is just leaving? The girlfriend is leaving, breaking up with the boyfriend? Could you accept his tears of pain and loss? In a drama, maybe. In an action, no.