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The Naked Page

Author Jamie Sobrato's Diary

12.06.2005

Men and Panties We Love

Here at The Naked Page, we are all about getting back to basics. We treasure the simple things--a blank page, a great pair of panties, a sexy guy. These are the subjects that inspire passion in the people on this blog, far as I can tell (well not the blank pages, but I had to throw that in as a nod to the whole writing thing we claim to occasionally do around here). Mention men or panties, and everyone has an opinion. Or at least 4 of us do.

So, consider this a creative writing exercise. What makes a guy sexy? Who embodies sex appeal? Or alternately, what makes a pair of panties perfect?

Okay, okay, we've probably already beaten the panty subject into the ground and then kicked it a few times for good measure, but after the whole boycut panties discussion, I'm truly, truly obsessed with find The Perfect Panties. It's a quest of sorts, and I am open to suggestions.

But the guy question, that's something to consider for your writing as well. There are the typical attributes, the ones nearly every romance novel hero possesses. But what characteristics will make a hero nuanced? What makes him someone unforgettable?

A reader wrote to me recently and begged me to write a really funny hero, and I thought, hey, why didn't I think of that myself? Well, actually I was right in the middle of writing a book with a sort-of funny male protagonist, and I am realizing more and more that the reason I don't set out to write "funny" characters is because it's hard as a muthafucka to do. But that's part of my answer to the questions above: a guy who can make me laugh oozes sex appeal. There's probably other stuff too.

57 Comments:

At 3:00 PM, Anonymous bethany said...

Hey, I've been writing my funny middle school teaching experiences on the last page. All by myself. I feel like a lonely tragic middle schooler. Um, really I feel like a mommy whose kids are occupied and who suddenly has extra time for a moment. what to do what to do.

I don't know what makes a character sexy. I think I like conflicted characters. I always thought Louis was hotter than Lestat, though I think I am in the minority and even Anne Rice fell for Lestat, I think.

 
At 3:10 PM, Anonymous Theresa said...

I have to agree with Bethany, I was never really into Lestat. And now that I have the image of Tom Cruise as Lestat, I'm even less into him.

As far as a sexy male character...I don't know if what I value in real life are the same things I'd like in my fantasy man. In real life I like men who take care of their business without worrying about what the "guys" are saying. I like men who are capable and strong, not wishy-washy.

You know, that sounds pretty good for a romance novel too come to think of it.

Sense of humor is good, but I think it would be hard to write the perfect funny character. I can get annoyed when the guy I'm with thinks some really stupid thing is funny and I don't. Am I alone in being married to a guy who thinks fart jokes are really funny? Sit with any man watching Blazing Saddles and you'll see what I mean.

 
At 4:45 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Bethany, you SHOULD feel like the lone tragic middle schooler after those years of high school when you would always not show up for school and leave me struggling to find someone--anyone!--to sit with.

Oh the humiliation. To have so few friends that one absence means sitting in the library with Mr Thompson during lunch hour, trying to pretend he's not a lech.

 
At 4:45 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Louis WAS hotter than Lestat!

Tortured characters are the most interesting, for sure. I should probably try to remember that when I'm feeling guilty about making anything bad happen to mine.

 
At 4:49 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Theresa, I do think Blazing Saddles was funny, but you are right about men in general having starkly different senses of humor than women. Though...I do remember you getting pretty giddy over some "flying poop" jokes not too long ago... LOL.

Yeah, I tend to get grossed out by some things the husband thinks are funny, or just annoyed by them. I would never write THAT kind of "funny" hero though. I can just see it. The hero doing a "pull my finger routine" after a particularly hot night in bed with the heroine. Ahhhh, romance. NOT. I do write fantasies, after all. LOL.

Women read romance novels to forget about all that reality for a little while...

 
At 5:01 PM, Anonymous bethany said...

Truly funny guys are hot because if you are laughing you feel really good. Of course how to get that onto paper, good luck Jamie!

Plus I love sarcasm, but you have to make them not sound like a jerk. Even if we fall for jerks in real life, they don't always seem appealing in fiction.

 
At 5:03 PM, Anonymous bethany said...

So maybe Louis was the hot one (Brad Pitt certainly was in the movie) I still think Anne Rice got completly infatuated with Lestat, which is a weird thing for an author. Do you fall for your heros, Jamie?

 
At 5:16 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

No, I don't fall for my heros. I'm usually too stressed out from writing the book to have any positive thoughts about anything in them. I don't have Anne Rice's luxury of spending a year or five writing 3000-page, rambling, mostly unedited books.

There are certain heros I've written that really do it for me though, I guess. And if i were to try to re-read the book for pleasure i would find them very appealing. I really liked the hero from my book Sexy All Over (which is why that cover particularly horrifies me--he looks nothing like the hero in the book!), because he was scruffy and rebellious and very charming in kind of a sly way. Or something like that. I can't even remember any more.

I tend not to get all caught up in fictional characters in that particular way (falling for them, I mean), because there usually aren't enough idiosyncracies on the page, which are the things I like. Fictional heros usually have to be too "good" in the traditional sense, to be considered heroic, which does render them less interesting.

I guess that's why I'm eternally fixated on that Dracula character. He is dark, tortured, obsessed with one woman, hopelessly doomed, and very imperfect.

Do you guys ever fall for fictional characters?

 
At 5:17 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Did you hear that Anne Rice has decided to write only about Christian themes from here on out? Should be interesting. I just hope someone edits her.

 
At 5:23 PM, Anonymous melissa said...

I like the guys that are rebellious/"bad boy" on the outside but sweet on the inside. One of my heroes is like that and grrr, I love that book. :-)

Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever read a romance novel where I didn't have the total hots for the hero, so maybe I'm not too picky.

 
At 5:34 PM, Anonymous bethany said...

Yikes, the only hot fictional guys I can think of right now are vampires. I liked Jean Claude in the Anita Blake books (way better than dumb old Richard).

I don't think many people write about the kind of guys I really think are hot.

 
At 7:07 PM, Anonymous Theresa said...

Actually Jamie, it was the "screaming poops" that had me hysterical. And you have to remember the context. Jack kept talking about the painting titled "The Screaming Pope," and he went on and on making these references that just had me on the floor. The funniest part was that he was oblivious.

Maybe you could put that kind of humor in a book. I have to admit when someone doesn't get a joke and keeps making innocent references that relate to the joke, I crack up.

I can't say I've ever fallen for a hero in a book. It's too easy for me to remeber that they're fictional when I'm looking at the words on a page. But movies are different because you can imagine the really hot actor playing the part actually having the personality the script gives him.

I admit I'm kind of stumped right now on the perfect character from a movie though. I don't watch a lot of romantic movies, so it's kind of hard. The last one I can remember watching had Matthew Mcconaughey in it, and that's a fine looking man IMO, but I don't remember being totally infatuated with the character.

 
At 7:09 PM, Anonymous melissa said...

Jamie, you don't fall for your heroes?? I fall for mine, every time. I am a sucker. :-P

 
At 7:54 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

I guess I get a little too removed from the process when I'm writing, myself. I mean, when I'm writing in the hero's POV, I am thinking like him, sort of trying to BE him, so it wouldn't occur to me to fall for him, LOL. And then I have to switch to being in the heroine's point of view, and while she's falling for the hero, yes, I am too busy trying to be in her head and figure out what she's thinking to really have a lot of strong emotional responses to the story.

Hey, maybe we're onto something here. Maybe I'm not emotionally invested enough...hmmmm.

 
At 8:01 PM, Anonymous Theresa said...

You know Jamie, that's a real good point. I was trying to physically describe a place when I was writing, and it didn't feel convincing enough until I tried to visualize it and describe what I was "seeing." So I think if we really put ourselves into the story emotionally, as least as much as is healthy and rational anyway, we could probably make the story more real to the reader.

 
At 8:49 PM, Anonymous melissa said...

Theresa, visualization is definitely the key for me. And I don't tend to fall for my characters until I'm reading back something I've already written--I mean, I'm in no danger of accidentally writing a love scene where the guy is making love to...himself. :-P Emotional investment does have its limits.

 
At 9:14 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Melissa, good point about it happening at the reading-back-over-it stage. I should probably work at making my heroes more flawed so I will fall for them!

 
At 10:40 PM, Blogger Nalini Singh said...

Bethany, I'd go for Jean Claude any day over Richard, too. But my favorite Anita Blake male probably has to be Asher (so tortured, sigh).

But I also like the protective, possessive heroes and I tend to write those. Re the funny heroes: I totally agree with you, Jamie - it's so hard to write humor (at least humor everyone gets!).

 
At 11:21 PM, Anonymous Theresa said...

It's been awhile since I've read Anita Blake. I went on a binge and read something like 10 books in a row and got totally burt out. I do remember Richard getting really annoying though.

I guess what I'm really looking for in a male hero is a man's man. Kind of an educated cowboy I guess. The Marlboro man with a Harvard degree, or something like that. The typical fantasy, rugged, good looking, but not dumb.

I dated a pretty boy type once. I mean this guy was so good looking I'd get dirty looks from other women when we'd go out. Kind of a Greek looking Brad Pitt type. But I was smarter than he was and we both knew it. It made him really insecure and then he'd obsess even more about his looks because he felt that was all he had. That got old real quick. So the male hero has got to be smart enough to stay interesting.

 
At 11:22 PM, Anonymous Theresa said...

and read something like 10 books in a row and got totally burt out

That should read "burnt out." You'd think I'd learn to proof-read, especially on a writer's blog.

 
At 11:36 PM, Anonymous Theresa said...

You know, I'm looking at the post where I mention that I'm smarter than the good looking guy, and I'm thinking how arrogant that sounds. Let me add this, I wasn't better looking than him, in fact, I wasn't as good looking as he was (though that would be hard to find). The only reason intelligence came up in the relationship was because he would kind of obsess about it. So maybe the character doesn't have to be brilliant, he just has to be confident.

 
At 8:51 AM, Anonymous Cindy Procter-King said...

I haven't really thought about whether I love any of my heroes. They are who they are, and my job is to uncover who they are and then hopefully share that in the writing. Of course, they're hot, because I write romance, after all, and enough non-hot guys exist in real life without putting them between the pages of my novels. I think every one of my heroes has shared a healthy sense of humour, but I don't intentionally set out to write any of them funny. I don't actually think they're funny. Some of my heroines are funny, and the guys are their foils. I write heroines with sometimes humorous/different slants on life, because it's just so much a part of who *I* am that it comes out in my characters. When I write a heroine with a depressing world voice, *I* get depressed, and that's no fun.

I also agree with what Jamie said about when she's in the hero's POV, but I'm too lazy to wade through all the comments to find it again and say something brilliant.

Cindy

 
At 8:52 AM, Anonymous Zach Halliday said...

Well, I'm hot. You should see my jaded shaft.

 
At 8:56 AM, Anonymous Cindy Procter-King said...

Sorry, everyone. Ignore Zach. He took over my computer keyboard. But he's right. He IS hot. I guess he's my favourite male character from my unpublished novels, and that's why he jumped out like that.

Actually, he's also a little more humble about it, but he couldn't resist Jamie's blog....

Cindy
who should be in better control of the voices in her head, but isn't.

 
At 12:33 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

LOL, I thought "Zach" was some 14-year-old blogger for a second there.

Cindy, I love your take on the thing about it being your job to uncover who the characters are and put it on paper. It reminds me of Stephen King's archaeology analogy, how he said that stories are like artifacts buried in the ground. They're already there, and it's just our job to dig them up and display them.

 
At 2:06 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

SO, still no advice on the panties!? I have these cool boyfriend cut Guess jeans, and have yet to find the perfect panties to wear under them. they have a pretty low waist, and everything I've tried so far shows when I bend over.

Are the boycut panties going to work or what?! I don't have a mall close by. I have to drive for an hour or more to get panties, people! I need advice here.

 
At 2:21 PM, Anonymous bethany said...

I'm planning an excursion to Victoria's secret, but it will be a week or two before the stars align and I have an afternoon with a husband and no kids.

I would use your need for panties as a great reason to order from Victoria's Secret online, but that's just me.

 
At 2:21 PM, Anonymous bethany said...

I'm going to drop the kids off and take Lee christmas shopping for my gifts at Victoria's secret. I will report on my findings but it will be a week and a half probably.

 
At 2:38 PM, Anonymous bethany said...

um, didn't mean to type that twice, my computer hates me today, well Lee's computer, mine died

 
At 2:46 PM, Anonymous Theresa said...

I have to go and get some of the boycut panties, they look too cute not to. I will definately report results when I do. I have several pair of hip-hugger jeans, but only one pair that are particularly low-rise, so I'll have to use those as my test pair. I'm not as panty-line obsessed as Jamie, but I'll check that out too. In fact, I'll ask my husband to report any findings. ;)

 
At 2:54 PM, Anonymous Theresa said...

I have officially lost control of my kids, at least temporarily. My daughter found one of my old karate belts and tied me to my chair while I was sitting here on the computer. The kids are now currently wreaking havoc downstairs.

_mutter mutter_

Guess I'll have to disentangle myself and see what the little monsters are up to.

 
At 3:13 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

My sympathies, Theresa. My daugthter has reached the most out of control phase I have ever witnessed in a child. She'll be three at the end of March. Right now she lies, spits, doesn't do anything we tell her to do, trashes her room nearly every day, including taking all the clothes out of the dresser and throwing all her toys and books on the floor....I gave up for a while adn just left everything there. It seriously looked like a hurricane hit. Now I am contemplating putting all her clothes in the top of the closet and all but like three of her toys in storage in the garage. But then she'll just move on to trashing her brother's room.

 
At 3:22 PM, Anonymous Theresa said...

Yikes Jamie. My son is two, and now I am seriously fearing three.

My daughter was pretty easy, but my son is a holy terror. In fact, my daughter just yelled up to me that he got his hands on something and spilled it all over the carpet. I'm almost afraid to look. I still have the large pink kool-aid stain from a few weeks ago. I've had to ban all colored drinks from the house because of that.

But he still finds ways to be destructive. Last time it was a blue Sharpie pen on the walls and couch. I'm still in recovery from that one.

 
At 4:49 PM, Anonymous melissa said...

Oh thank heaven! A bunch of moms of two-year-olds! My son is at "that stage" as well, and going out to dinner has become a virtual impossibility. He won't be three until August, and we're having another in May. Sigh...

Jamie, boycuts will probably work for your panty dilemma. They don't show lines (unless you're wearing some really painted-on jeans), and when it comes to peeking out when you bend over, they aren't nearly as bad as thongs. And if they do occasionally pop out, you have full coverage and nobody's looking at your assets. :-)

 
At 5:16 PM, Anonymous bethany said...

I've tried three times this afternoon to do a little workout, but every time I get on the floor I get drooled on and jumped on and my hair pulled. I think Ezra is out of the terrible twos (three in January) but he has started this terrible whining. It grates on my nerves sooooo bad. Since his sister is in diapers he thinks he should be too. Good thing she does not take a pacifier!

Next year has to be easier than this year!

 
At 6:07 PM, Anonymous Cindy Procter-King said...

I hate to tell you all, but if you have a devil-child, two is a breeze compared to three (heh heh).

Jamie, I had a brilliant response to your comment to my comment worked up earlier, but Blogger isn't behaving for me today, and it ate it, and I can't remember what it said. But, rest assured, it was brilliant.

Cindy

 
At 10:30 PM, Anonymous Theresa said...

My daughter didn't turn into a devil child until she turned four. I think she was in the planning stages prior to that. The good news is that five turned out to be much easier.

I expect my son to be hell-on-wheels for the rest of his life.

I didn't make it to the mall today (damn) so I don't have the boycuts yet. But it is high on the agenda!

 
At 7:23 AM, Anonymous Cindy Procter-King said...

The planning stages, LOL.

Theresa, how old is your little boy? If he's younger than your daughter, I have a ray of hope for you. Little boys really fall for their mothers between about 5-7 years old. Hands down, my favourite age for both my sons. Especially 6.

Cindy

 
At 8:35 AM, Anonymous Theresa said...

My son will be 2 on Dec 18. My daughter is the older child, thank goodness. She is actually a very good influence on my son, so there is in fact hope.

I was the youngest of 4, with 3 older brothers. I don't know how my mother survived. Probably lots of valium. (Just kidding mom!)

 
At 11:59 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

Hey, wait a minute, I'm being ripped off here. My son is 5 and a half and can't stand me most of the time! I am soooo not feeling the Oedepus complex. He's an ubelievable rebel though. Should make for interesting teen years.

 
At 12:01 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Um, that was supposed to read UNbelievable rebel.

 
At 12:09 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Oh, and Cindy, I didn't find three a particularly hard year. I flew with my son on international trips of 14-20 hours at every stage of his development, and I dinstinctly remember age three being a breeze travel-wise. He got to sit in first class on an overseas flight once and behaved better than some of the adults. I have a picture of him chilling in the big leather seat, wearing headphones and watching a movie on my laptop computer, LOL.

 
At 12:20 PM, Anonymous Cindy Procter-King said...

Jamie,

He's not six yet. Relax. Grade one is when they REALLY love you.

You're lucky three was a breeze. For both our kids, two was about letting go of physical dependencies: diapers, soothers, bottles. Three was about the ME-ME-MEness of toddlerdoom. Toddlerdom?

Three is more like what they're like when they're teenagers. So if your son was great at three, you might have an easy adolescence ahead of you!

 
At 1:40 PM, Anonymous Theresa said...

Toddlerdoom is the most appropriate title I've heard yet. I'll remember the rule about "easy at 3, easy at 13." And keep my fingers crossed.

 
At 1:50 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Okay, Cindy. I will remain hopeful.

So I guess I need to introduce a new blog topic now that we have degenerated into talking about our kids.

 
At 1:52 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Oh, and I am making an excursion into the far reaches of the desert to find panties soon. Maybe this weekend. It will be like a sort of lingerie quest. Like I will come back a changed woman, so to speak.

 
At 1:55 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Suggestions for new topics, anyone?

Want to talk about boxers versus briefs versus the various other male undergarments or lack thereof, and their pros and cons?

Or we could talk about the unfathomable things that go on in the male mind. As in, we could guess, but we can't know. It could be a sort of creative writing exercise. Putting yourself in the male point of view...

I'm all outta ideas here, people.

 
At 2:55 PM, Anonymous melissa said...

I was kind of curious to hear some stories from you.. like how did you react when you got the call and how did you celebrate? :-) And how different are your published novels that the rest of us read from the first version of the manuscript?

Wow, no mention of men or panties in there anywhere. Maybe I'm not a total pervert, after all.

 
At 4:11 PM, Anonymous Theresa said...

Jamie,Melissa's suggestion is a good one. Even though I'm not (and may never be) published, I'd like to hear how the rest of you found success and what it was like. That way a girl like me can dream with some accuracy. ;)

 
At 7:37 AM, Anonymous bethany said...

Here's an idea for future reference, something I've been thinking about. What we want to know about characters as opposed to what we want to know about real people. You only tell interesting things about characters, but people find every banal detail about celebrities interesting. And in our relationships, do you delve to find every little detail or do you leave something to mystery?

 
At 7:48 AM, Anonymous bethany said...

Snow day today, woo hoo!
(okay now let it melt so I can get to the mall and get the boycut panties)

 
At 10:29 AM, Anonymous Theresa said...

I made it to Victoria's Secret yesterday and was quite disappointed. They only had the boycuts in large and extra-small. It looks like all the other women out there buying the things are the same size as me. I went to Penny's and found some that claimed to be boycuts, and they're ok, but not what I had in mind. Looks like I'm going to have to buy them online.

Regarding character development. I know when I'm reading I don't mind some mystery, but I think too many authors drag it out too much. I think it's good to drop little bits of information along the way and keep it interesting rather than try to save it all to the end. I lose interest if the character isn't sufficiently fleshed out along the way.

 
At 12:40 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Okay, I just broke down and ordered some things from Victoria's Secret online. Theresa, I always have that problem of the things I want not being in the right sizes! Drives me nuts.

Their website has free second-day air shipping for orders over $100, so of course I had to put together a sizeable order just to get the free shipping.

I decided to try a little of everything. I will report back when I have determined which is the perfect panty (perfect for my body type anyway). Of course online had lots of backordered stuff, so most of the cutest panties were unavailable right now. I had to settle!

 
At 12:43 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Thanks everyone for the topic suggestions! Those are great ideas. I will use them all, probably in order suggested. But first I must discuss the all-important issue of guy panties.

 
At 12:44 PM, Anonymous Theresa said...

The perfect panty. Hmmm, should maybe write a quest novel where the heroine goes on a search for the perfect undergarment. It could work.

I did get some thong underwear at Old Navy that I'm liking. It's low-rise for the hip-hugger jean crowd and they're pretty comfortable and no panty lines.

 
At 12:55 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

I didn't even know Old Navy had underwear... I usually am too busy buying kids' clothes there. But I must explore further, clearly!

 
At 4:19 PM, Anonymous Theresa said...

I'm kind of addicted to Old Navy, their clothes fit me well and I'm casual in my style. I only just tried the panties though, my husband likes them too. ;)

 

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