Why does chick lit seem to get all of the attention? I donít know about you, but Iím tired of Nora Roberts, Jennifer Weiner, and even Nicholas Sparks capturing the vast majority of the reading publicís as well as the news mediaís attention. When I sit down to read a book, I want action scenes and plenty of them. I want a strong male lead that is bound and determined not to take crap from anyone, including the freak with a machete in one hand and an AK-47 in the other. I want explosions, bar fights, gun fights, car chases, and rooftop scuffles. The more the merrier. And I donít want to get in touch with my feelings, unless Iím being dragged by the collar into the heart of the action, and I come out on the other side with more bruises than I can count on both hands.
So whatís gone wrong? There was a timeóand not all that long agoówhen Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler ruled the page and gathered a large handful of memorable quotes, as well as a passionate audience that extended around the globe. A time when Ian Fleming was a literary genius, and James Bond developed a massive following that extended beyond the page to the widescreen. You may argueóand you would certainly be correctóthat James Bond is still alive and well today, with the great Jeffrey Deaver writing the latest James Bond masterpiece, and Daniel Craig showing his prowess on the big screen. But James Bond has had two periods of dormancy on the big screen, most recently related to the financial struggles of United Artists. While James Bond is still popular, and will continue to remain so, he has lost a bit of his charisma and casual charm.
Embrace Strong Masculine Leads
We shouldnít shy away from strong, masculine leads; on the contrary, we need to embrace these characters with open arms. Men have discarded reading like a pair of day old socks, with over 80% of readers being female. But all hope is not completely lost. We have what Stephen King has called MANfiction, a genre still alive today. Lee Child, Michael Connelly, and Robert Crais are three MANfiction authors, who are building large followings in their own right. And you have new authors, like yours truly, breaking onto the scene year after year. But we need more. MANfiction is escapist fiction for men the way chick lit is escapist fiction for women. It brings us to the very heart of what manliness is about, and it reminds us that no matter where we live, or what profession we are in, thereís someone out there who can kick some serious butt, and heís going to use his mouth and his fists to point himself in the right direction. Itís a wakeup call on the essence of manhood, and if you like to read, I canít think of a better form of entertainment. Men can learn a lot about being men, especially if the good guys normally win. MANfiction transcends the page to the very heart of unadulterated living.
How To Create MANfiction
If youíre a man, and you want to spin such a tale, what do you need to do? In this case, itís all about the main character, and you want him to be as bold as the next Presidential candidate. His feelings should be shown with a .44 Magnum or brass knuckles. In fiction, leave relationships to women, unless weíre talking about short-lived endeavors. Letís face it men, they are better at it than we are. We still need to try, because thereís something to be said for effort, but once in a while, itís nice to focus on what weíre good at, take pride in it, and relish it for all that itís worth: conflict spoken through a boxing match or a grenade launcher. If youíre writing a romance novel, or paranormal suspense, because itís popular right now, then you might want to take a step back and reevaluate your situation, along with possibly your manliness. Popularity ebbs and flows like the ocean in the middle of hurricane season. You canít trust it, and you certainly canít judge where it will be tomorrow. But you can count on men, massive amounts of them to read MANfiction, as men continue to read men, not because itís popular, but because itís ingrained in our core, to the heart of our existence. Even some women enjoy action, strong male leads, and the occasional dip into the MANfiction pool. All you have to do is mention the name Jack Reacher, and youíre liable to get a few rosy cheeks and a few women short of breath.
Leave Feelings Out Of It
So what about your feelings? Talking about feelings isnít something men normally do, and itís not something that should be present in MANfiction. Instead of talking with their mouths, men talk with their fists. And itís the exact same scenario in MANfiction. Delivering quick wit, however, is highly encouraged, and oftentimes necessary to get your point across. But a little bit of dialogue and introspection goes a long way. No need to prolong the inevitable, when the next action sequence is right around the corner, and the man on the other side has barbells for arms and a refrigerator for a chest.
Less is often more, and itís very much the case with MANfiction. If you can use flowery words, vivid descriptions, and create imagery that will make the clouds part and the seas divideódonít. Itís a waste of space, a waste of words, and readers are likely to skip over it to the next big fight scene. Of course, you donít want to completely skip over descriptionóthatís not what Iím advocating foróbut you donít want to bask in all of its glory and have it be the heart of your novel either. When, like description, there are plenty of other novels you can read. If you want a good, old-fashioned, ride-of-your-life, hanging to the cliff by your fingernails sort of ride, then grab your paperback, hardback, Kindle, or Nook, raise it highólike you would your bottle of Budóand salute MANfiction for all that it was, all that it is, and all that it can be. Youíll be glad you did.
It doesnít matter if youíre a reader of MANfiction, a writer who has an idea for the next masculine lead, or someone who has never picked up a hard-boiled tale, itís time to embrace these novels for the escapist fiction that they are, before chick lit takes over the world. MANfiction provides the yin to chick litís yang, and the world needs both to balance out the universe.