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Friday, February 5, 2010

My Characters' Shoes, Part 2

In my last post, I shared with you the shoes my female protagonist would wear. Today, it's my male protagonist's turn. Since Jack spends a lot of time working on his family's farm, he can often be seen in work boots similar to these. But when he isn't working, he most likely will be wearing something like this. After all, he is just your average seventeen-year-old boy. Or is he? Let's just say that he has a lot of secrets and might have to up and run at any minute. (Thus the functional, yet fashionable, tennis shoes.) On occasion, he has to dress up. You know, for something like a funeral every now and again. In these instances, you might find him wearing these shoes. Speaking of sad occasions, I'd love your opinion on something. What do you think about male characters who cry? Is it okay? If so, under what circumstances? On a happier note, have a great weekend!

54 comments:

Anissa said...

I think, given the right circumstances, a male character crying could be extremely powerful. Hard to say what circumstances specifically since I don't know your character. But if you keep it true to him, the reader will be right there with you. Hitting that emotional sweet spot isn't easy, but I have no doubt you can do it.

Janna Qualman said...

Susan, you rock. This was such a creative idea! I think it would be so cool to work these character sketches into a query somehow, tied in with your blog theme and its followers. Somehow, it would all help. It's too awesome not to!

storyqueen said...

Yes. A male character can cry...you just have to decide the degree to which they can, based upon who they are. Eyes that start to well up...a lone tear...or full on sobbing...maybe yelling in anger that is really pent up crying...

Paul Greci said...

Teenage boys cry.

I guess it depends on who your character is and what is going on. I have a few in my stories that cry. I'd say just focus on the character. Good luck. It sounds like you are thinking deeply about this--that's the way to go!!

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

So fun to see the shoes your character would wear. Made me think of what mine would wear.

As long as it's not the Bruce Willis deal from Friends, then I think you're okay to let him shed a few tears. Make us feel sad first.
~ Wendy

Robyn Campbell said...

Yes! They can cry. In my WIP he cries. After his mama is found dead. But you don't want him crying A LOT. Show other ways that his grief surrounds him. By his actions and thoughts.

You go girl. I see that, like Paul says^, you are thinking about it, and that is the way to go.

Happy weekend my friend. And great post. I love your posts Susan. Thank you for them. =)

Natalie said...

I think men crying can be really powerful, if it's done only at really sad times. No one likes a guy who's always crying. :)

Solvang Sherrie said...

I've never been bothered by a male character crying. Although I gave my son a book to read that I thought was awesome and his first comment after finishing was, "He cried too much." So I guess it depends on who you're writing for.

Carolyn V. said...

A male character that would cry? I guess it would depend on what is happening. It would also have to depend on his age. I think as long as he remains manly through out the book and something terribly drastic happened. Okay, I can see that.

laurel said...

Yes, teen guys cry. Check out Jay Asher's 13 Reasons Why. In it, the narrator, Clay, goes through the emotional wringer.

BTW, I like your guy character already. He has my hubby's exact taste of in shoes (I swear he owns those last two pairs), though hubby is an urbane 40-yo philosophy professor, not a farm boy. :-)

Julie Dao said...

I like it when a supposedly tough, masculine character cries because I would never have expected it! Guys who cry all the time would be annoying. I guess it would depend on what was happening to make him so upset.

strugglingwriter said...

Male characters should be able to cry. They are human after all. Also, why not play against stereotypes, right?

L. T. Host said...

One of the first things my betas informed me of after reading V was that my protag (a male) cried too much. I manned him up in revisions. I think if the situation genuinely calls for it, it's okay. But if they do it a lot, or for things that they might not actually need to cry over, it would be too much.

Karen said...

It's funny because I can see my male protag's wardrobe, but not his shoes. Going to have to ponder this one...

As for crying boys, I think it completely depends on the character and the circumstances. Some guys are really sensitive, while others don't even cry when things get REALLY sad. I don't think there's anything "wrong" with it, but it should be true to the character.

Jackee said...

Crying... hmm. It has to fit the situation, I guess. But for most people, men who cry make them uncomfortable.

Cute shoe post! And a great weekend wish to you as well!

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

I think the guy crying, especially if he's your romantic lead, has to be done carefully. The situation has to be right so that the moment is powerful. Nothing is better than seeing a normally tough guy show some heart, but use the tears sparingly.

For instance, in True Blood, Eric (the ultimate cool, seemingly heartless, tough vampire)has a scene where he's crying over the death of his Maker. Super intense and powerful.

jbchicoine said...

Hey, those are the same boots my male protagonist wears!

I think it's okay for a guy to cry, but he'd better have a good reason for it, and we'd better know him well enough that we don't feel embarrased for him...

Tere Kirkland said...

Male characters who cry (and don't make a habit of it) are awesome in my book. If the guy's dog gets hit by a car and he's not bawling, he's not a guy I'd want to be with. ;)

Sensitive is sexy. (Just not TOO sensitive) Great example, Roni!

Dominique said...

I've seen it work, and I've seen it go bad. If it's understated -- you know, not bawling -- and not something he makes a habit of, it can be powerful. But if he does it all the freaking time or cries instead of acting, I'll just get annoyed with him.

Lady Glamis said...

Ah, male characters who cry. I got A LOT OF FLACK for my novel when I had the men cry a lot. A lot of flack. So I've toned it way down. I honestly think it's okay if the situation's right, but many people told me to just have it happen off screen, that it really weakened my men. Hmmm. Great questions, and great shoes! What a great thing to think of what your characters wear on their feet. :)

Sharla said...

I agree that men crying can be really powerful if done right. Not the hysterically balling kind, but when a tough guy that never shows emotion is hit with something that rocks him to his core...say a death or equally knock-on-butt experience, I like to see a man tear up, fight it, maybe get mad about it, go off somewhere alone. I had one do that when his dad died, and I think it worked well, because he internalized everything normally and that threw him so off balance that it was believable.

Nisa said...

How creative!!

I think it's fine for male characters to cry. Particularly at death or great loss. I think it makes them human. I can't imagine it being done a lot, or having it be the MC's weakness per se, but you never know. If done well, even that could be pulled off I think.

Heather Sunseri said...

Oooh, a man crying. That, done right, can be amazing. My mom has told me of the one or two times she's ever seen my father cry, and I think it has to be something like the sad or extremely moving occasions that brought tears to his eyes.

I like this post and the last post about shoes your character would wear. I can totally see it. Awesome!

Bane of Anubis said...

Um, coming from a guy, assuming your guy's over the age of 12, guys should rarely cry (and when I say rarely, that means maybe once per book, twice if you really want to stretch it). And it's usually got to involve someone dying, or when witnessing a selfless, heroic act (usually that won't go beyond misty-eyed). They've got to cry for real, not because you want to evoke or invoke the reader's sympathy/empathy.

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

I'd find it believable... depends on the scene or circumstance, but I'd believe it.

Have a great weekend!

Nancy said...

I have some shoes almost like those men's dress shoes. I wonder what that means?

Do I like men crying? In books and the movies, if it's real emotional, I like it. Not wimpy crying, though.

In real life, I can't stand men I love to cry.

Leah Rubin said...

I definitely appreciate men (and therefore male characters) who cry. At appropriate times. It shows they're human. Even the guys in the Lomax and Biggs series by Marshall Karp can cry, and they're L.A. cops. (Great series, btw.)

Sarah Simas said...

Oh, a man that cries? Hmmm. I think having a hero show some "real" emotions would be perfectly fine. It would just have be a darn good reason. lol A protag (male or female) who cries the second things go willy-nilly would be exhausting to read. :)

Fun question!

Keep The Faith, Love The Craft!,
Sarah

Terri Tiffany said...

Yes, mine have--not out and out sobbing, lol, but maybe with joy and a few tears.

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Angie Muresan said...

Well there's crying and then there's crying. As long as it's only a once every three hundred pages it should be fine. There's something very endearing about sensitivity in a male character.

Kristi Faith said...

Let's see, in the nine years we've been together I've seen my husband cry about three times. When his princess and prince were born and when his dad passed away. Oh...wait, he cried when I left him once to go to CA for a few months before he could come with me...it was a bad time.

But I do think the occasional roll of a tear or wet corners of the eyes is fine.

lightfeather said...

Real men cry. They don't sob, but yes, they cry. I stumbled in here and I will be back. Come visit me if you have a chance.

WhisperingWriter said...

I don't mind a man who cries.

Tara McClendon said...

Love the shoes. I think it's okay for a man to cry as long as he doesn't cry at girly things unless you're writing a comedy. Then go ahead and let him blubber in the popcorn at a chick flick. :]

Name: Holly Bowne said...

Well, my male protagonist spends a lot of time on a construction site. So he is often found wearing steel-toed boots. :)

As far as male characters who cry--I think it's all right as long as it's really something really major that makes him cry. And no all out sobbing. Well, unless you're trying to be funny and have him get caught crying at an Oprah's Angels episode or something. Ha, ha!

(Oops! I wrote this and just noticed the comment above mine. I'll have to go check out her blog now. Great minds think alike!)

Faith said...

If a male character is crying, he'd better have a good reason for it! I think it would make sense in the case of something like... a family member's/wife or lover's/child's death or serious accident... or joy, like the birth of a child. I don't think all-out sobbing would make sense, but in the case of extreme emotion I can see it happening.

Deb@RGRamblings said...

I recently attended a memorial for a 17 year old and there were tears all around -to varying degrees. A lot of the girls were sobbing, the boys were misty eyed and shed a few quiet tears. Their grief was visible, haunted shadowed eyes, jaws clenched, but even at this age they offered up "the strong shoulders" that the girls clung to. It seemed typical behaviour to me, although I did wonder if the boys allowed themselves a good healthy cry when they were alone. I hope so.

I just finished a novel with a weepy adult male pro-tag who at one point sat down and sobbed. This is a bit of a contradiction - I don't see male tears as a weakness in real life, yet I don't like reading about them. Tricky issue.. good luck with it!

Tamika: said...

Loved all the shoes- he quite the diverse young man.

I love a male who cries, especially when they purpose to make a habit not to. That may be an outdone technique, but a male sapp is never attractive in my opinion.

Matthew Delman said...

I think if it's something really freaking huge, like a death, or the birth of a child, then a good cry is OK for a guy to have. It has to be really, really, really big for it to make sense though.

Most guys -- even the ones who have no problems with tears -- don't cry all that often. It's something to remember.

Kathryn Magendie said...

When VK's daddy cried, VK never saw it, but Micah caught him -up at the lonely house on the hill -- so, though he cried, he did it where no one would know - or at least that's what he thought.

#167 Dad said...

Guys I know don't cry unless they have a good reason and never in public. I did cry like a baby a couple of months ago when I had to put my dog down. Then again, I recently saw former baseball star Mark McGuire cry his eyes out at a press conference in which he confessed to juicing up. Come to think of it it's not all that uncommon to see big name jocks cry after losing a big game.

Kelly said...

Very creative! Love the laid back sneakers!
I think it is okay for the male character to cry if it's appropriate. There are definitely certain situations that would call for that.

Stephen Tremp said...

I have no problem with men crying. There have been a few occasions that I wish I could. Now worries in this department.

Stephen Tremp

Stefany said...

Love it as much as Part One. Where ever did you find all these shoes?

quixotic said...

Not big on crying males, but that is not to say it can't happen under the right circumstances.

Love the tennis shoes! I'm a casual girl and practically live in mine.

Bob West said...

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Dawn Simon said...

I think a teenage boy can cry, though how much or how often depends on the character and the situation. Will he be sobbing, teary eyed, or somewhere in between? You referred to funerals...I'm betting he has quite a bit to be sad about. At the same time, too much crying from any character (male or female) gets old fast, in my opinion.

Erica said...

I think it's okay for him to cry, I just wouldn't make it too often and make sure the scene warrants it. There's a thin line between whiney and sincere. My hubs cries more than me, so it does happen ;o)

Great question - love the shoes :o)

Amy Tate said...

I think it's o.k. as long as you write it in a way that is believable. Emotion is a fragile thing. People react to it in different ways so let your critique group weigh in their thoughts when you finish the scene.

Shelli said...

hm i need to think about my characters footwear!

Lily Robinson said...

Well, you created him... Does he cry? Some men do, some don't. That's the great thing about writing... you decide!

Deb@RGRamblings said...

Hope all is well.