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A Man In a Woman-Dominated Romance World
This week, I offer a guest post from my friend and fellow writer, John Migacz.
Sitting at a table with a few writer friends,
I mentioned that I was searching for a blog topic.A few suggestions were thrown my way, then someone
suggested writing about being a man in a woman-dominated romance world.
I thought, “Yeah!Great idea!” then, “Wait– what?I’m a man in a woman-dominated romance world?How did that happen?”I should have realized this obvious truth at a
national Romance Writers of America conference when they had converted all the nearby
rooms into “women only.”
During that hurried ten minute walk to find
a non-segregated restroom, it should have occurred to me.Still, I didn’t see myself as a man in a room full
of women—I was in a room full of writers.Being around writers is always inspiring and inspiration has no sex.Of course sex can give you inspiration, but that’s a blog for another day.
My MIAWDW (man-in-a-women-dominated-world)
journey began at age twelve when I read my first book, a sci/fi novel by Edgar Rice
Burroughs.The hero strove to rescue his
kidnapped ladylove from scads of four-armed green monsters, giant yetis, and oily
vicious villains.Like a baby duckling that
imprints on a car tire, I followed that piece of rolling rubber through hundreds
of sci/fi and fantasy books, and later wrote novels in the same genre.
In the third book of my sci/fi series, The
Dieya Chronicles, the protagonist is a young female agent sent out on her first
assignment.I asked David Weber, bestselling
author of the Honor Harrington series, how to write a strong female character.His advice—just write it and don’t worry about her gender.I struggled with the concept like a ninety-pound
weakling against a Mixed Martial Arts champ.I took his advice, but it didn’t flow—my character was weak, flat,
One day, I stumbled across a time travel
novel.Cool.I love those.The book was written
by an author I’d
never heard of, and a female to boot.In
the past, I’d
found sci/fi books written by women to be either an excuse for male-bashing or just
plain incomprehensible.But I decided to
give this new (for me) author, named Nora Roberts,a chance.
Whoa.In her novel, the hero strove to win his ladylove, just like in that first
read.This time, he fought against the oily
villains of his own prevailing perceptions and that crucial heartbreaker—logic.Seeing the characters struggle with mind vs. heart
was a fight I knew well.Here was the true
conflict found in all good novels.The backdrop
of time travel had little to do with the clash of man vs. woman vs. preconceptions.Two people thrust into a heady collision of romance
where the good guys always win?What could
Regency, contemporary, paranormal, the sub-genre
matter – romance novels featured strong, independent women.Perfect role models for my female protagonist.
I had found a new imprint for that little
So here I am.A MIAWDW.Do I feel like the odd “man” out?Not really.Most women I’ve come in contact with at conferences and organizations
are writers first, and writing is the dominant theme.A person’s gender is way down on the list.
The concentrated awareness of character development
is why I find romance novels enticing.Not
everyone can identify with a protagonist struggling with alcoholism or agoraphobia,
but everyone has had their own love stories in their lives.If the reader can’t connect and be an integral part
of the protagonist’s
growth, who really cares if the hero can leap tall buildings in a single bound?
Do I divulge that I’m a man who reads romance novels?Yep, proudly.
Will I write a pure romance novel?Doubt it.
Will my novels now contain a heaping helping
Want to know more about John or check out his novels? Please visit his website.
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