I was stuck. I didn’t know what to write. I didn’t know how to finish A Year with Geno.
So, I called in an expert. I called Geno, the male lead in my novel.
I’ve written most of the scenes in my current work-in-progress, A Year with Geno, from the viewpoint of the female protagonist, Caroline. If you’ve read my other two novels, thank you. You probably realized that Celebration House, and my most recent release, Bone Girl, were mostly written from the prospective of the female main character. So far, that seemed to work out.
But last week, my writing screeched to a sudden halt; Caroline didn’t have anything more to say.
So I decided to go around her. I sat down at my computer two days ago with the sole intention of writing from Geno’s perspective. Wow. Now that character had a lot to say. To begin with, he admitted to me that he cared for Caroline way before she realized her feelings for him. In fact, for much of the book, she overlooked him, or at least, that’s how he saw things.
This was huge for me. Because to be honest, I’m much more comfortable with my gender than the other one. It’s that “men are from Mars, women are from Venus” thing. Growing up with two brothers and four male cousins, you think I wouldn’t have this blind spot, but I do. I’m just more comfortable around women.
But I heard Geno’s voice loud and clear near the end of the book. I don’t want to give too much away. No spoiler alerts for those three of you that read this blog, so I’ll keep my show and tell at a minimum.
In the third-to-last scene, Geno hits his stride when Caroline spouts my favorite Emerson quote: “I cannot hear you words, sir, for so loudly do your actions speak.”
Here’s what Geno said back to her:
“‘You’re real proud of that quote, Caroline. My actions? My actions speak? Okay. Lets take a minute and listen to what they have to say. I move you into my house. I treat your sons like they’re my own. I make your problems my problems. I can’t keep my hands off you even when you make it pretty damn clear you don’t want them on you. I beg you to date me, but you tell me no. I do whatever I can to make life better for you, but you don’t see that. Because you don’t want to see that. So I watch as you date Alaska’s finest and find them wanting. Even then, you overlook me, and I put up with it because I think maybe, just maybe, there will come a day when you will see what’s right in front of you…’
At this, his voice broke and Caroline watched as Geno struggled to hold back tears. ‘I’m just sorry Trevor beat you to it.’
Geno let go of her arm and stomped down the hallway. He slammed his bedroom door so hard the molding broke.”
Wow. Okay. Note to self: spend more time listening to my male characters, especially you, Geno.
Hands and arms inside the cart: Next, the beauty of failure.
Ask mothers of sons for assistance. Growing up with brothers and cousins may help some, but I think it takes raising boys to get a deeper insight into what makes testosterone-based life forms tick. I grew up with a younger sister and mostly female cousins: only two of the ten of us were boys (one a little older than I and one about ten years younger), and I didn’t see much of either of them. But I did raise three sons. I felt no difficulty with writing a male POV in my first novel.