Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Hot Man Is Hard... To Write

Earlier this summer, I decided I needed a hashtag for His Good Opinion. I wanted something short, and that summed up the book. My amazing beta reader (and cohort) Jessica Melendez suggested #hotdarcy, and after several humorous tweets with suggestions for future books (#SexyFitzwilliam and #takeitoffWentworth, collectively known as #regencystriptease), #hotdarcy stuck.

To the confusion of some readers, this is not because there are hot, steamy love scenes in my book. Rather, the comment, "OMG hot!" is one of Jess' ways to let me know I've nailed Darcy's character. Let's face it--Darcy is hot.

Later, she read another story of mine from a different fandom and commented that I like to write from the male perspective, and it's true. The question that came in the following Twitter chat was this: "How do you, as a woman, write in a man's voice?"

The answer is deceptively easy, my friends. I don't think about writing in a man's voice; I think about writing in Darcy's voice. That's the same way I can write dialogue that sounds right for any character. After all, I've never been a nervous, easily agitated woman desperate to marry her daughters off, but some of my favorite lines are ones I've given Mrs. Bennet.

Voice is not about gender, profession, age, or nationality. Voice is about character. This of course is the difficult part. When you put a character together, you do need to know their gender, profession, age, and nationality, because those things are a part of who they are. However, you have to know this person, as an individual. It's that knowing, that intimacy, that creates dialogue that sounds genuine.

Of course, some gratuitous #hotdarcy action never hurt either.