Friday, March 22, 2013

A Thoroughly Introspective Blog On Genuine Dialogue. (Or As A Guy Would Say: "A Totally Cool Blog About Words And I Totally Want To Have Sex With You.")

I absolutely adore reading New Adult and Young Adult books. It's one of the main reasons why I write those genres.

I love the girls and the stages they're at in their lives. I can totally relate to those moments from my own youth (and, no, I am NOT sixty!!), to all of the angst and uncertainty and adrenaline-fueled excitement.

But—let's be honest—I love the guys in those books more.

Hot. Charming. Sensual. Cryptic. Maddening.


They are delicious.

But one thing that sometimes bugs when I read? The way these guys supposedly think/talk.

I know, I know. This is all fantasy and wish fulfillment, right? We want guys to shower us with words of undying love. To praise us for our uncommon beauty and our flawless grace.

But what guy really talks like that?

I'll tell you how many.


Confession time.

I have a guy writer friend who is...well, awesome. He writes best-selling books, even. Hell, some of you might have even read his stuff.

Guess who reads every single piece of dialogue that comes out of my male characters' mouths before I hit the publish button? Guess who emails me or calls me up and says, “Oh my God. No self-respecting guy on the planet would ever say this shit!”

He does.

And I think he makes my writing better because of it. West in IT WAS YOU is a real guy. He's sarcastic and funny and a bit of an ass. But he says some of the right things—OK, a lot of the right things—to Abby.

In my newest YA, IF I FALL, Aidan is a real guy. Guess what? He's sarcastic and funny and a bit of an ass. And, despite the fact that he is a true bad boy, he says an awful lot of the right things to Meg, too.

So, in an attempt to avoid edits and just work in general, my writer friend (I'll call him Dylan) and I made up some sample dialogue: a fake attempt by me...and his "real-guy" translation. (Note: All samples were made up on the spot for this blog post and are not from any published source.)

You are the moon to my stars, the sun to my clouds.”
REAL GUY translation: “You're super fucking hot. I totally want to have sex with you.”

I loved you from the first moment I saw you. I will love you forever, until I take my last dying breath.”
REAL GUY translation: “You are totally hotter than my last girlfriend. I totally want to have sex with you.”

I'm going to make you feel things you've never felt before. I'm going to touch you the way no guy has ever touched you. I'm going to make this feel like your first time, baby.”
REAL GUY translation: “I took a shower and my hands are clean. I totally want to have sex with you.”

Her eyes were like the ocean and I found myself drowning in them.
REAL GUY translation: She looked so hot in a bikini and I totally pictured myself having sex with her.

Her hair looked like melted honey, soft and gorgeous and perfectly combed.
REAL GUY translation: Her hair looked awesome and I totally wanted to have sex with her.

OK, so even though this is totally what guys are always thinking... might not make for a very good book. Because even though we know guys always want sex, we don't necessarily need to be reminded of it every third sentence in a book. Unless we're reading porn, of course.

So, here are my real examples of real guy translations:
You are the moon to my stars,” he said. “The sun to my clouds.”
“There's something about you,” he said. “Don't know what it is, but it's something special.”


I loved you from the first moment I saw you,” he said. “I will love you forever, until I take my last dying breath.”
“I'm just gonna come out and say it,” he said. “I...I love you.”

Notice something?

It's not flowery.

It's not pretty purple prose.

I know, it doesn't sound as beautiful as the made-up sentences. But it's real. It's what my man says to me.

Maybe there are some guys out there who talk all flowery and shit. Maybe their dialogue is just like a poem or a love song. But I'll tell you this: of all the guys I've dated or hooked up with, I've never met one of them. 

And I'm OK with that. I don't know about you, but I'll take my real guy over any book boyfriend out there.

Even West.


  1. I'll take real guys in a book any day! It makes for less disappointment in your real life. I read Harlequins as a teen and am still hoping for that moment that only happens in that fake world *if ya know what I mean* ;)
    Keep it up, Anna (and Dylan!)

  2. Agreed!! I actually get irritated at some book dialogue FOR THAT REASON!! I know my guy is a beer drinking, sports watching, scratch your balls kinda guy...BUT there is no way in hell guys would verbalize some of the sentences that come from the mouths of these characters! I like realistic...romantic, but realistic...believable. If its not, I usually roll my eyes and skim past!!

    So...THANK YOU! (That's probably one of the reasons I loved your book!)

    1. ...let me just add...not many guys LOOK the way they do in books either...BUT IM FINE WITH THAT!! Lol!

  3. I love real guys. It makes the stories more plausible. That's probably why I prefer romances written through a male POV or alternating POV's because the characters are more realistic. I've been friends with guys (primarily) my whole life, and you are one of the few authors that writes how they think and talk. You have no idea how much I appreciate that! Thanks so much and keep up the great work! I'm so glad that I've recently found your books to start reading!