How Not To…

Guys, I have some advice. And by guys I mean members of the male community. And hopefully this is advice I don’t need to be giving you.

I was with a friend yesterday when a guy similar in age to us decided to introduce himself. Well, I guess technically it was more of a continued conversation since my friend already knew this guy.

First impressions are so important and this guy already has something big working against him. He’s got a more feminine kind of voice. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that per se, as I have a really great friend who has a similar voice. Jae likes her men to be manly, so it’s going to be off-putting for me in the beginning. But as I said, since I have a friend with a similar issue, I’m a bit more open-minded than I used to be.


What does this guy have going for him? He’s normal-looking, which can always be upgraded to extremely attractive if coupled with a charming personality. He’s friendly. That’s a plus too. And he’s bothering to talk to girls, which for some reason in this age group is often scarce.

Then out comes the voice. Again, not necessarily a detriment. My friend knows this about himself and pushes past it. But this guy, he seems a bit clueless.

1. I live with my parents (and I’m over 30). There may be a really good excuse for this, but por favor, don’t mention this from the get-go when talking to girls. This is a huge strike against a guy because many girls will see this as an inability to cut apron strings and be a grown-up. It’s time to leave Mama’s nest. Probably a decade ago.

2. Because everything’s too expensive. Apartments may be pricey, but trust me when I say Utah is a place where roommates are not unusual. And I guess having lived in Tokyo where I was paying $650/month to split a tiny place with 2 other girls, I feel like the rent in Utah is practically free for a large palace in comparison. Also, continually emphasizing how you think certain things are so expensive puts one thought into a girl’s head: This guy is cheap.

I like a frugal guy. I’m a big fan of Dave Ramsey and listen to his program whenever I get a chance. But there’s a vast difference between frugality and being tighter than bark on a tree. At the end of the day: don’t portray yourself as being Mr. Cheapskate.

3. I only make $1000 a month. Okay, now the ‘everything’s too expensive’ comment makes sense. Here’s the thing. You don’t have to be a millionaire. I know people who never went to college who are making a feasible living by now, rising through the ranks of their companies. The way he spoke about things, it sounded like he’s been making $1000 a month for a long stinking time, good or bad economy.

Here’s the other thing. Don’t mention how much you make, even if you are a millionaire. This is the introduction for crying out loud!

4. So… are you single? Yes, the follow up question to us both was our singleness. And sharing all of that honesty with us… I tend not to like the “are you single” question in the first place. I think if you spend enough time talking to a person, there’s a good chance you’ll find out whether or not they are. And all of that time you’re spending getting to know them can also be good rapport building time. Having been in sales earlier in my life, it’s sure a lot easier to make a sale if you’ve built up good rapport. The same applies for dating.


It’s important to be honest about yourself and your life situation, but with good measure. It’s like info-dumping in a story. We’re going to want to know all this stuff eventually, just not up front. The first few pages should be something that entices you to want to keep on reading.

Maybe there’s a girl who’d rather be the breadwinner and he can be a stay-at-home-dad or something. Or maybe he needs a girlfriend who can encourage him to get a better job or in a better place in his life. But much like an info dump can scare off potential readers, so can a life info dump scare off potential partners.

It’s interesting how much about life really relates to writing. I suppose that’s because what we do is write about lives.

What do you think? Have any first date or introduction horror stories? Guys, what would you say that girls should certainly avoid on intros or first dates?

Monday’s Writerly Quote

I hope your weekend treated you well. I spent mine toiling away on SHADE, trying to get it ready for Pitch Wars. I think I’m down to the last 3 or 4 chapters. Joy! However, my pitch is…well…could be improved. Thankfully I’ve got the time to polish it up to sparkling. And it doesn’t hurt that I have a fabulous mentor’s advice to help me. (You rock Marieke!)

And now a quote from Ernest Hemingway:

If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water.

Beware the dreaded info dump. Examine your story, find those places where you are telling your readers everything they need to know. Show them. Remember, if a scene’s or chapter’s only purpose is exposition, then chop it and weave that information into the story in other places. Never write what your characters aren’t currently thinking about.
What ways do you keep the iceberg of knowledge of your story safely tucked below water? How do you avoid info dumping? What techniques would you recommend to other writers? Let me know in the comments below.
And Happy Monday!