How Unrealistic is this Romance-Genre Male Character? A Fun Rubric!

It’s no secret that women are often not written very realistically. And it’s easy to tell when the girl main character was created as nothing more than a fantasy trophy.

BUT YOU KNOW WHAT? Women characters are not exclusive to this. More prevalent and obvious, YES. But exclusive, no. Haven’t you ever noticed how every dude in a romance story has AN OUTRAGEOUS combination of “desirable” traits? It’s like the same formula over and over again.

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“Hey. I’m Liam. Captain of the football team. Want to hang out on my family’s yacht?”

Don’t believe me? Watch yourself a romance or pick up a sappy book and use this rubric as you go. Each trait earns ten points, the more points you get the more ridiculously written that character is.

 

+10 He is good looking. Obviously, this is a good place to start. Granted there is going to be some kind of attraction between characters when there’s a romance. But I’m specifically talking about a character who would be considered classically and universally good looking. Great hair. Nice smile. Chiseled chin. Tall. Modelesque rippling abs and pectorals. I mean, if the body type is even being mentioned, he might as well have “heaving bosoms”.

+10 He is smart. This character always offers witty dialogue and banter. He’s funny. He does well in school or inexplicably gets accepted to ivy league colleges. Maybe this character has a job that would need to require some serious intelligence. When he talks to the love interest he probably “surprises her” by mentioning authors/books that he likes or other smart and high cultured things.

+10 He is rich OR is in a high position of power somehow. Okay, this character either has a lot of money himself or comes from a rich family. This character could also be a boss or some kind of leader. Royalty is always popular for some reason.

+10 He is charming. This character is well liked. Popular. Has a lot of friends. Or fans. Usually, there are multiple girl characters who are obsessed with him. He is most likely confident in himself. Anyone who happens to not like him is probably jealous of him.    

+10 He is athletic. Lol. For some reason mentioning the muscles isn’t enough. This character shows ‘em off somehow. His adventuring and swordplay are effortless. He plays on the school sports team. He is probably mentioned to be “the best” at some type of physical skill.

+10 He is musically or artistically talented somehow. This is a character that sits down and plays the guitar or sings for the leading lady. Maybe he draws or paints her a picture. Maybe he immaculately decorates this outdoor area for her without any help. He might have a career as an artist or maybe his incredible talent is mentioned in passing and then never contributes anything else to the plot.

+10 He is passionate. This is an easy ten points. This is a character who is borderline berserk-o bats he is so in love. This character easily professes his love. He’s more than a little stalkerish, he follows her around everywhere even if she says no. His moods are all over the freaking place. He is sometimes yelling and punching antagonists. He oozes with jealousy, over-protection, kissing her roughly, having like zero control over his feelings. This character is SO unbridled that if she weren’t into him, she would take out a restraining order pretty quick.

+10 He is self-sacrificing. Similar to the passion trait but definitely deserves ten points on its own. This is a character who is willing to throw away anything and everything in his life for the love interest. He might give up his job, his family, his opportunities, his dreams. Maybe he gives up who he is- like he’s dangerous in some way, but gives it up for her. Sometimes he just straight up dies for her. The sacrificing thing is one huge wet dream for a woman.

+10 He’s a hero. I don’t care what context it is. If this guy rescues her from getting physically hurt in any way, shape or form. That is an automatic ten points for me.

+10 Despite having all of these characteristics he goes for an awkward underdog MC for no real reason. Yes, I’m a cynic. But COME ON. Real talk here. Why is this have-it-all-dude going to go for this rinky-dink no-one-has-ever-wanted-me-like-this chick? Right off the bat, he is in deep with her, but we never really get why. I guess because she’s attractive or something? You tell me.

 

And yes, before you call me out, I tried this rubric out with the romantic interest in my own novel and YES, I am in no way clean of this either. He scored fifty points… which is more than murkily cliché but still better than Noah from The Kissing Booth who scores an eye-rolling NINETY POINTS.

So what is the takeaway? The take away is this: As a writer, don’t be afraid to make your main characters less than perfect. We will still like them. IN FACT, we will like them MORE if we relate to their weaknesses. Is it sexy to envision a man sprawled across a worn couch, binging Netflix with Dorito dust all over his shirt? Not really. Do I want him to find love? HECK YES SO MUCH SO INVESTED. But why though? BECAUSE THAT’S MEEEEEEE! We’re the sticky gross humans looking for happiness in all the wrong places! YOUR AUDIENCE. Reach out! Connect! Don’t just give us one real person to cheer on. Give us two! Make me believe that both of them are better off together, not that one person is already swimming in the sweet life and his/her life can’t be upgraded by anyone.

Just an opinion of a half-cynic. Wink wink.

10 Favorite Songs from My Top 10 Favorite Bands

Last August we took a road trip to see “The Great American Solar Eclipse”. During that long car ride, I came up with a game… list your top ten favorite bands in order (as best you can) and then come up with your favorite song by each of them. That’s how you make a “YOU-playlist”. It was super fun, but way hard! I made Dan do it too.

I decided to share what I came up with… even though it could be potentially embarrassing. I have a weird taste in music, much like my taste in movies so… I don’t know what you’ll think of this list. But it’s who I am, so here we go!

#10 “Althea” by The Grateful Dead

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I’ve just recently became a dead head and honestly… I am a believer. They are so freaking enjoyable. Really. If you don’t know The Dead are a bluegrass/folk/rock/psychedelic/reggae/whatever-they-feel-like band. They even have a funk song which I also considered for my #10 spot.

I finally decided on “Althea” because I just cannot resist the punch in that beat. OMG. Even my baby loves this song.

 

#9 “Hypnotize” by System of a Down

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No rhyme or reason, but I just REALLY love System of a Down. They’re weird but they’re also SO GOOD. Every time they come on the radio I have to stop talking and crank up my stereo to unreasonable levels.

I used to listen to this song on my chunky mp3 player in between every class period my senior year of high school. The nostalgia runs deep with this one, my friend.

 

#8 “Dragons” by Caravan Palace

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My brother introduced me to “electro swing” and honestly, I’m all about it now.

I especially had to give a shout out to this song because it inspired a dang good book idea.

 

#7 “Somebody to Love Me” by Mark Ronson and the Buisness INTL

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K. When “Uptown Funk” came out I was SO pumped, because I had been riding the Mark Ronson train for almost a decade before he got the appreciation he deserved.

“Somebody to Love Me” isn’t necessarily that impressive of a song. But I fell in love with it for what it was. I listened to it constantly on repeat the summer of 2011 and so now I associate it with some of those good memories that I have of that time.

 

#6 “Made in Chernobyl” (except like the whole darn album) by Viza

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Viza is one of the most underrated bands. They’re really fun and unique but no one knows who they are.

Anyways, I love this dang album. For similar reasons to #8… I came up with one of my all time favorite book idea solely listening to this album.

 

#5 “Walcott” by Vampire Weekend

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I adore Vampire Weekend and I don’t care what you say. I’m a poser indie hipster and I’m totally fine with it.

Every time I hear “Walcott” my heart melts. Something about it is so cheerful and I can’t not smile listening to it!

 

#4 “Hey Jude” by The Beatles

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And you thought Vampire Weekend was bad? Ha! I know there are people who think that The Beatles are overrated and over-hyped. But I don’t care. I just genuinely really enjoy their music.

In fact, it was nearly impossible to pick just one Beatles song. Like, really? How do you even have a favorite!? I was really tempted to do something under the radar like Lennon’s “You Can’t Do That” or something like that. But in the end… “Hey Jude” has gotten me through some really rough times. And the story behind the lyrics, I don’t know… I find this song really meaningful.

 

#3 “Where Have You Been” (the live version) by Reel Big Fish

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I had to give a shout out to my passionate and brief love affair with ska music.

I bought the whole live album JUST for the version of this song. It’s super cool. And the break down! #earmassage

 

#2 “Hong Kong” by The Gorillaz

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I love the Gorillaz so much it’s not even funny.

I used to play this song every day that I would walk home from the bus stop. I felt like it was my own personal soundtrack. When I was serving an LDS mision and we weren’t allowed to listen to pop music… I cried. I actually shed tears over this song. That’s how close I am with this song.

 

#1 “Fearless” by Pink Floyd

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I love everything about this song. I love the music composition. I love the lyrics. I love this band. I love the meaning. I love the crowd vocals at the end. This is my heart song. This song is me. It HAD to be number one on my “me-playlist”.

 

What’s your list? Write it down it the comment section!

Top 5 Best of the Worst Movies I’ve Ever Seen

My husband and I are fine connoisseurs of terrible movies. It’s basically our go-to date night activity. So we have seen quite a handful of UNBELIEVABLY poor-quality movies, more than enough for me to put together a “Top 5”.

I will say to those who share our hobby, most of the movies on this list are “trash classics”. So if you are looking for an undiscovered cult experience… that may have to wait for another day. However, if you are new to the ironic B-movie movement. Welcome! This is a good list for you:

5. ALL THE SHARK MOVIES…

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We have seen A LOT of campy shark movies, the most entertaining being “Sharktopus” down to the studiest “Avalanche sharks”. Not to mention: 2-Headed Shark Attack, Shark Lake, Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark, Mega Shark vs. Crocosauras, Sharknado 1 through whatever, Sandsharks and even Shark Exorcist.

Quick sum up:
Monster shark is a mindless people-eating-machine that cannot be stopped.

Sample:

For their exact same plot as the original Jaws film, I’m giving this entire genre an award for Dumbest Adapted/Stolen Screenplay.

4. The Room

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This is considered “The Citizen Kane” of bad movies, and honestly I could not agree more. It has so many big dramatic plot twists that for some reason are only mentioned once and are never talked about ever again (like the neighbor kid’s drug problem and a mom who has breast cancer). Some of the weirdest lines I’ve ever heard come from this movie, like “Leave your stupid comments in your pocket”. Also he has framed pictures of spoons all over his house…

Quick Sum Up:
Everyone loves Tommy except for his backstabbing evil fiancée Lisa. After Lisa begins to have an affair with his best friend things get VERY dramatic.

Sample:

For this movie, I’m giving Tommy Wiseau the Best Unintentionally Comedic Actor Award and Most Bat-Shiz Crazy Director Award.

3. Birdemic: Shock and Terror

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No other movie will make you say, “What was that?” like this movie will. They have several casual picnics DURING the killer bird rampage. And the “Birdemic” doesn’t even start until like 45 minutes into the movie. This one is entertaining but painful. If you chose to watch this one be prepared to see every moment of the main characters day to day routine… like gassing up their cars after work and a three minute business meeting scene of just straight up clapping.

Quick Sum Up:
Natalie and Rod are falling in love and having fun… until the town is terrorized by killer eagles that can spit acid. Apparently the birds started killing everyone due to climate change? Just give peace a chance.

Sample:

Birdemic sweeps my aCRAPemy awards with Stupidest Visual Effects, Crappiest Film Editing and Most Questionable Sound Editing. Birdemic also earns a Best Worst Original Song Award for its hit “Hanging Out With My Family” and I’m unapologetically giving the woman who played Natalie’s mom Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

2. Troll 2

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We LOVE this movie. Anytime we invite someone over to our house we force them to watch this movie. It’s truly a vision. You just have to see it to believe. And if you’re wondering whether you have to see the first Troll beforehand… don’t worry, it’s not a sequel to anything and there aren’t even “Trolls” in it.

Quick Sum Up:
Joshua and his family go on vacation to Nilbog, only to discover that it’s the Goblin capital of the world! Only Josh’s dead grandpa can help to destroy these vegetarian goblins that turn people into plants before eating them.

Sample:

Deborah Reed’s portrayal of “The Goblin Queen” earns her a Best Over-the-top Performance Award, while the film itself receives Craziest Art Direction, Most Hilarious Costume Design and Possibly a Foreign Language Film…

And the award for Overall WORST picture goes to…

1. Fateful Findings

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I didn’t know it was possible to mess up every single component of a movie, but Fateful Findings enlightens me on just how bad film-making can be. I understand that a lot of movies on this list were American movies made by foreign directors and that there were some language barrier issues. But this guy… it’s like an alien director tried to make an Earth movie.

Quick sum up: 
Oh man… okay.

Soooo this guy hacks into secret government files with the use of his teleportation crystal powers… I think? He goes to the hospital and falls in love with the neurosurgeon / childhood girlfriend who helps to heal him through magic crystal power… maybe? His wife becomes addicted to his painkillers while his drunk neighbor is murdered for some reason? He also has two therapists, one who’s like… a ghost? A bunch of laptops and salad falls to the ground but doesn’t stop Neil Breen from exposing the president of “The Bank”.

Sample:

Along with Worst Picture, I’m also giving this film an award for Weirdest Cinematography and Most Confusing Original Screenplay.

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