At the heart of any good novel is dialogue. Depending on the type of novel you are writing, and the type of reader you want to connect with, this will lead to how much dialogue you place in your novel, and where you place it. For the MANfiction author, you want authentic, masculine dialogue. You don’t need a lot of similes and metaphors. You need a few one-liners, and plenty of zingers, that hit with the force of a Mack truck slamming into a brick wall. Even if you have a neutral name, there should be no question in the reader’s mind that your character is all male.
Extended scenes of dialogue are okay, as long as they serve a higher purpose, and move the story along. And don’t forget to tell your reader where the characters are, unless you have the character talking to himself, which creates a whole other set of issues. You don’t want to skip on the details of the other character in the scene, even when that character is female.
Placing your main character in precarious situations and being forced to talk his way out of them is okay. But it needs to be believable. Just as too many scenes with your main character punching his way out, despite the level of his adversary, might seem a bit far-fetched. In MANfiction, your character needs to bleed, even if it’s only temporary. It brings out the human aspect that much more.
Little idiosyncrasies in speech patterns go a long way to distinguishing your main character from every other in fiction. So don’t overdo it. Spend some time listening to men talk and interact. In the end, you’ll be glad you did, and your story will improve because of it.
Robert Downs is the author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator. A sample chapter of his MANfiction mystery debut, as well as other interesting information about the author, or his main character, can be located at his website http://RobertDowns.net
Casey Holden, former cop, current PI in Virginia Beach, VA, screens his clients the way he screens his women, based on whichever drop-dead gorgeous woman happens to waltz through his door first and manages to hold his attention. So when Felicity Farren, widow-at-large, struts into his office asking him to solve the two-year-old murder of her husband Artis, she intrigues him. When Casey starts digging, he learns the murder isn’t what it seems to be and he doesn’t have a big enough shovel to unearth the truth. And to top it all off, his former rival at the police department, Greg Gilman, is determined to disrupt his investigation. Casey’s challenge is to learn what really happened to Artis, and why Gilman can’t seem to remove his head from his butt. And he’ll need all of his wits to complete the task.