Originally posted here, I thought my readers would like this blog post I wrote for my tour.
Augustus Waters was a real boy. Actually, he was a fictitious boy who behaved very much like a real boy. In case you didn’t read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, Augustus Waters is one of the main character. He’s a boy who lost his leg to cancer. He’s also a boy who plays violent video games, and a boy who used to play basketball well, and a boy who drives a car very poorly. Augustus Waters is a true to life boy. A reader could imagine that he might in fact be real.
Writing teenage male characters that are both realistic and likable was what I set out to do in my debut novel EVER NEAR. Charlie Dowler is Jade’s soon to be step brother and her love interest. I gave Charlie many wonderful traits and a few not so desirable ones because I didn’t want him to be an idealized version of a boy. I wanted Charlie, like Augustus, to be a real boy. Real boys are so much more interesting, don’t you think?
As a novelist, I am also a sociologist. I have to study the behavior of people and ponder the reasoning behind the choices they make. Do they adhere to norms and rules or do they break out of them? My study is not limited to the young variety of the species either but the more mature members as well. I will often ask my husband questions about what I call The Unspoken Rules of Being a Guy. We females have our own set of these rules which is long and complicated. These rules are constantly changing and morphing so it’s important to keep up on trends. I want to be sure the characters in my books don’t inadvertently violate the rules unless I want them too. Of course, breaking the rules makes for great conflicts and plot lines.
Here’s a few interesting rules of men/boys that I have discovered while conducting my continuous, informal study of humans beings on planet earth.
1. Adult males don’t generally send each other emoticons when texting. They do however use them with females. This rule varies with younger males depending on the closeness of the friendship.
2. It’s only okay for boys to cry if they break a bone and the bone is actually showing. Preferably, this injury should be sustained while doing a sport or using power tools.
3. When congregating at a social event, teen boys stand with their fellow boys and talk. They only sit if:
a.) girls are included
b.) they are playing a game like poker
c.) they are watching sports.
4. Boys can never admit to liking a Taylor Swift song. Even if they secretly like one, they must make fun of it and her whenever one is played.
Now, please don’t misunderstand my research. I am not saying that I agree with all The Unspoken Rules of Being a Guy. In fact, some of them are silly to me and I wish they weren’t rules at all. Knowing the rules helps with my writing though. This knowledge enables me to make up true to life characters and it gives me material when I’m creating metaphors, story twists, and funny dialogue.
So when you read EVER NEAR, please let me know what you think about the portrayal of the boys. Could they be real boys? Do you love them or hate them or both at the same time? I’d love to hear about this topic from readers.