Daily Archives: November 6, 2011

Guest post: Character communications by author Chris Redding

I’m delighted to bring you this guest blog post, today on the topic of communication, by humorous romantic suspense novelist Chris Redding.

Communication is about independence and intimacy.

Men tend to focus on independence. They give orders and tell people what to do. Women crave intimacy. For instance, a man will make plans without consulting his wife. (Not all men) He will see no reason to “ask permission” of his wife. He actually views it that way. He would see it as not being able to act independently of her.  He sees it as being the underling if he has to ask permission. Even though it isn’t really asking permission, but consulting the wife about her plans. (Which is how she would see it.)

Here you can add conflict. The hero makes a unilateral decision be it about a social event or in the heat of running from the bad guys. He doesn’t see why he needs to clear it with the heroine. Of course she wants to be in on the decision-making process so we have conflict between the two. He doesn’t understand why she needs to be part of making the decision.

It is the same mindset when men go out and spend money. They don’t feel they need to “ask permission”. My husband once bought a car without any input from me. He was going through a rough time and I think he needed to assert his independence not so much from me, but from his job. I didn’t make a big deal about it, but the next time he bought I car I mentioned it. And of course he had no idea that I would feel that way.  Until I told him.

Intimacy says we’re close and connected. Women bond with each other, especially through talking. In feeling connected, two women feel symmetry. They are equals.

Independence is connected to status. Men like independence and their lives are about status. So status and independence are asymmetrical. Both people in a contest cannot have the upper hand.

Imagine someone other than the hero interested in the heroine. There would be an automatic competition between the two men. Conflict! Not huge conflict, but enough to show another side of your hero.

In ancient societies, men protected women. It is still in their biology to do that. There aren’t man-eating animals that women face on a daily basis so they do it other ways. (Quick story: In a bar recently with a mixed group. Someone else we knew asked one of the guys in the groups to help her get this guy off of her. Now he doesn’t even like her, but she was clearly scared of this other guy hanging on her. So my friend asked the guy to leave. Twice, nicely. The guy, of course, gave him a hard time, and they almost came to blows. My friend was willing to protect this woman merely because she was a woman.)

A mother naturally protects her children.  But when a woman extends her protection to a man he bristles at it. He sees himself as a lower rank, a child. Since I was a kid in the age before widespread seatbelt use, if my father had to brake suddenly he would put his hand out to protect whoever was in the front passenger seat. I developed the same habit driving.

Fast forward a few years. I begin delivering pizza and using a seatbelt on a regular basis. I’m driving with my boyfriend (the one who convinced me to wear a seatbelt) and I have to break suddenly. My arm goes out. He thought that was the most ridiculous thing. He made fun of me for it for awhile. Looking back, it wasn’t about me. It was about him feeling as if I’d lowered him in the hierarchy of our relationship.

This post is an excerpt from her workshop Show Up Naked: Writing the Male POV. That’s really interesting, thank you Chris… I’m going off now to go see how my characters are communicating… or not. 🙂

Chris Redding lives in New Jersey with her husband, two kids and various animals. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. When she isn’t writing, she works part time for her local hospital. Her latest book out is ‘A View to a Kilt’, a humorous romantic suspense.

You can find Chris Redding:,, and

If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please” (while quietly bouncing up and down in my seat with joy!). You can also read / download my eBooks at Smashwords.


Posted by on November 6, 2011 in ideas, Twitter, writing


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Radio Litopia is now a Sunday double-bill… starting now!

As I type this online writing radio show Radio Litopia’s Open House is just starting. Whilst I understand that thousands of people listen to the podcast (that’s how I started) the main fun (for me anyway) the chat room is generally attended by a fairly exclusive bunch of people. Quality over quantity? Absolutely, but Agent Pete (who I interviewed yesterday morning by the way) loves to have a crowd. It can get pretty rowdy but one thing’s for sure – you’re going to have some fun. 🙂

So… I’m off to join them and if you have a spare hour of two, then come along…

Open House runs 6.30pm to 8pm UK time (1.30pm East Coast time / 10.30pm Pacific time) – fun and games so you need brain power


Litopia After Dark 8pm to 9pm – often with some wonderful guests! We’ve had Mark Billingham, Peter James, Ellen Feldman and many more… don’t know who we have tonight but I’ll update this page when I know.

when the page opens you’ll hear Agent Pete’s dulcet tones and the rest of us playing games. Put a username (no spaces) where prompted (in the middle of the black square) and Bob’s your father’s brother. 🙂

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Posted by on November 6, 2011 in Litopia, podcast, recommendations, writing


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Bailey’s Writing Tips podcast ‘red pen session’ no.007

** Please note that I no longer run red pen episodes but do offer critique (first 1,000 words free) via** 

This week’s podcast was released today, Sunday 6th November, the seventh of my episodes dedicated to reading a short story or self-contained novel extract (with synopsis) and then talking about it afterwards.

I run a fortnightly critique group as well as critiquing other authors’ writing, which I really enjoy. Please remember that it’s only one person’s (my) opinion and you, and the author concerned, are welcome to disagree with my interpretation – I will never be mean for the sake of it, but hope that I’m firm but fair. I also type the critique as I’m reading the story for the first time so by listening to the episode you will have had the advantage of hearing the story in full before hearing my feedback.

Regardless of what genre you write I hope that this helps you think about the way your stories are constructed and that you have enjoyed hearing another author’s work, the copyright of which remains with them.

Today’s story, from Aaron, was called ‘On the edge’. I read out the story, critiqued it and concluded with: “Twist stories are very hard to pull off (Roald Dahl was an expert and is one of my all-time favourite writers) and Aaron had me fooled. Apart from the end (which so cleverly slots everything else in place) my favourite aspect of this story is that there’s no info. dump at the beginning as so many stories are liable to have. I was continuously picturing one image and it being dispelled by what happens next, and it’s not until the end of the story that it all becomes clear, which is how a reader would want a story of any length to work.

This piece is 1,099 words and some competitions have a limit of 1,000 which Aaron would need to stick to if submitting this anywhere. 99 words doesn’t sound like a lot but when a story is so tight already it may be hard finding them. I mentioned chopping seven words from an early repetition and the description in the first half of a story would be the area I’d look at if anything needed to be trimmed. It’s a great story and should definitely see light of day in a publication of some kind.

If you have any feedback on today’s episode or any other podcasts or aspects of my blog, I’d be delighted to hear from you – my email address is

And if you’re feeling brave enough to email me a short story or novel extract (with a brief synopsis please) of no more than 1,000-words for these red pen sessions, feel free. I suggest you listen to at least one of the red pen episodes to get an idea of what happens.

Bailey’s Writing Tips podcast is available via iTunes, Google’s Feedburner, Podbean (when it catches up), Podcasters (which takes even longer) or Podcast Alley (which doesn’t list the episodes but will let you subscribe). Episodes include hints & tips (currently episode no.42) and author audio interviews – see this blog’s podcast page for more information. You can also read / download my eBooks at Smashwords.


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