Sunday, December 26, 2010

In the Zone with Zee: Of Men and Heroes...

Ever had a writing dilemma and wondered where you could take it to get some advice? Ever wondered why there isn't an 'Agony Aunt' of the writing business?

Well, look no further, because Agony Zee is now here to answer your questions!

Every 26 of the month, Agony Zee will be dropping by Tabby's Nocturnal Nights to attend to questions, queries, and other related writing/publishing dilemma faced by the 'common of mortal writers'.

So on this note, here's today's column:


Dear Agony Zee

My husband is threatening to divorce me if I don’t cut down on my writing. Writing is my life. What am I to do?

Signed – Desperate wife


Dear Desperate wife,

Your husband doesn’t understand that writing is your life? Turn the tables on him – see if he can live without the Sports Channel and that six-pack of beer in the fridge. Would be good to give him a dose of his own medicine, don’t you think? Cut the TV cable, and dump the beer in the toilet. Serves him right!

Frankly though, that’s not the way to go about it, though it would bring instant gratification.

When we become writers, writing, and this exhilaration of putting words and stories down, provides us with the same high as a junkie’s fix. We come to depend on it, thrive on it, crave it almost always. Very much akin to an addiction.
We’ve all heard of the ‘strange’ symptoms to be wary of when someone close to us is getting dependent on drugs. Don’t make the mistake to think writing cannot take over your life like drug addiction would. In a way, it’s even worse, since you’re not doing anything illegal.

Put yourself in your husband’s shoes – when you make writing your life, what becomes of him? Relegated to the sidelines? Dumped like trash? Forgotten like a bad memory? Erased like a misspelled word?

When you’re thinking about this wonderful hero you’re creating, at the joy and love he’ll bring to your heroine, take a minute to pause and ask yourself whether you’re not as worthy as this heroine too. Don’t you deserve to be loved and cherished? Of course you do! One advantage you have over her – you already have your hero, and that’s your husband.

Fictional relationships and fulfillment don’t bring us personal satisfaction in our hearts, the part that needs human touch and human love to thrive. Recognize this and let your husband give it to you. You’ll only lose otherwise.


Dear Agony Zee,

My hero refuses to come out of the box. What am I to do?

Signed, Frustrated with men.


Dear Frustrated with men,

There is nothing more annoying than a man who refuses to bend to our ways, even worse when he happens to be the hero we are creating.

So, he’s in a box, and doesn’t want to come out. What can we suggest for you?
Tempt him, tease him, tantalize him. Lure him with Oreo cookies. Leave a pack of beer by his box, and snatch him when he comes out for the treat. Poke a hole in his box, at eye level, and then walk outside the dreaded cube wearing sexy lingerie.

Another option – drop him. Have your heroine take a look around her. Maybe there’s this cute neighbor/colleague/delivery guy who has the hots for her, but whom she doesn’t notice. Get her to open her eyes, and take good stock of what surrounds her.
This in turn, can make your reluctant hero wake up from his warp zone and see what he may be missing on.

On the real note though, when your hero refuses to come out of the box, something is wrong in your approach as a writer. A hero is a vital component of any romance, and one that isn’t working should be revised.
Another thing to remember – characters shouldn’t work for you. You as the writer work for them. You tell their story. You relate how they tackle life and its ups and downs. You paint their take on the world. Not the other way round, as many seem to believe.

A reluctant hero? Find out what makes him reluctant. Maybe the heroine is not his type of girl. What would it take to get him to consider her as a possible love interest? Poke, prod, dig into his psyche, and then use this to up your conflict and plot.

Use every avenue to exploit the possible interaction between him and your heroine.

And sometimes, the unsuspecting guy you have lurking in the sidelines is your real hero. Try giving him a chance too if the ‘obvious’ man is being too pig-headed.


Got a question for Agony Zee? Drop her a line at with your concern/issue/dilemma.

Zee Monodee
Author of stories about love, life, relationships... in a melting-pot of cultures

Zee is an author who grew up on a fence - on one side there was modernity and the global world, on the other there was culture and traditions. Putting up with the culture for half of her life, one day she decided she'd stand tall on her wall and dip toes every now and then into both sides of her non-conventional upbringing.
From this resolution spanned a world of adaptation and learning to live on said wall. The realization also came that many other young women of the world were on their own fence.
This particular position became her favourite when she decided to pursue her lifelong dream of writing - her heroines all sit 'on a fence', whether cultural or societal, in today's world or in times past.

Hailing from the multicultural island of Mauritius, Zee has been writing for close to a decade and has had 3 novels published so far (under other pen names). After a stint in the publishing industry, on the 'other side of the fence' as an editor, her goal today is to pen wholesome, fulfilling stories and help fellow authors, whether as critique partner or as freelance editor.

Find out more about her by checking her blog


Chicki said...

Loved your advice, Zee! But I had to laugh at the neglected husband thing, because my situation is just the opposite. My hubby is glad I started writing. It takes the weight off him. Whereas I used to nag him about spending time with me or taking me out, now I'm busy, and he likes it that way. There's something to be said for domestic peace ...

Zee Monodee said...

Thanks Chicki! Glad you could drop by, girl!

Lol, I admit I have been in the position of Desperate Wife here mentioned. There come times when I know the men in my household could come to resent my writing.

How lucky for you to be on the other end of the spectrum. :)

Thanks again, hugs!

Joann said...


Nice column and excellent advice! I'll be stopping in to keep up with 'Aunt Agony'!

D'Ann said...

Great advice, Zee.

Zee Monodee said...

Thanks Joann! Glad you liked the setup and content. :)

Lol, I'm growing old: I'm now an 'Aunt'! ROTFLOL


Zee Monodee said...

Thank you D'Ann. Great to see you drop by!


Brenda said...

Wonderful advice aunt Zee. And it is so true! We have to remember, though it is hard at times, that our characters are FICTIONAL even though they may feel real to us. We as writers have to learn to balance our real lives with our fictional ones, but I know writing is an art that has to be acted upon when the mood it hot! Explain that to your husband as best as you can. He may get it, lol.

Sheri Fredricks said...

What a fun column and the perfect person to write it! I had to learn about "being in the now" with my family. Had I read the husband advice 6 mos. ago, the lesson would have been easier! When I'm writing, that's what I do. When it's family time, they have me 100%. Looking forward to more! Congratulations on a great start.

Tabitha Blake said...

Loved this Zee! Can't wait to read next months! My hubby tends to get upset when I am at my computer too much also. I just think it is part of being a writer and married. I have heard this from so many of my writer friends. I think it comes with the territory.

Bronwyn said...

Hahaha, love this, Zee!! Do you know I think we get addicted to the romance rather than the actual writing... In our minds, we make up the perfect hero with all the traits we would love our husbands or partners to have and then we put them into this 3d hero that we'd sometimes rather spend time with than our beer swilling, farting, burping, forget-to-take-the-trash-out men. The important thing to remember sometimes, is exactly what you said, our own partners are real! They are the ones who pick up the pieces after a rejection or failed deal or burnt out hard-drive you forgot to back up... The other thing (sorry about my soapbox) is that before you start getting paid for your work, some guys just don't get it. They think it's a hobby that will pass or something like that. Like the early stages of pregnancy, they can't see it, feel it, touch it, they don't get it.

Anyway, I'll jump off the box and bow to your expertise =)


Zee Monodee said...

Hey Brenda

Very true - being a writer is about the art of balance, that of reality and the fictional world.

Lol, I try to explain the 'when inspiration strikes me' but most of the time I get a blank stare in return. :) Maybe that's why I plot and then write when I know no man (little or big!) will disburb me.

Thanks honey!


Zee Monodee said...


Thanks for your lovely words. :) You're too sweet!

Like I told Chicki above, I have been in the shoes of Desperate Wife (though not as desperate, thank goodness!), and that advice stems from actual experience rather than wishful thinking. I too try to be 100% in all I do now, and having slots for everything and everyone helps (and keep a notebook handy in case inspiration strikes during family time! *Grin*)

Hugs girl!!

Zee Monodee said...

Hello Tabby!!

Thanks, lady. I look forward to the upcoming months too. Eager to see what sort of questions will pop in so I can tackle to the best of my ability.

Oh yes, becoming a Desperate Wife comes with the territory indeed. Writing is a passion, we wouldn't do it otherwise, and like all passion, it can swallow us whole and never spit us back.

Hmmm, idea : maybe make the 'man' passionate about something too... I admit I'm kinda sad my hubs is not a football/sport-crazy fanatic. Then maybe he would 'get it'. :)


Zee Monodee said...


I love your soapbox-- I mean, your comment! :) Feel free to speak out anytime, girl. Your comments are spot on. It could be indeed true that while we're writing we too are falling in love with this fictional 'perfect' man and fall in love with the romance.

But yes, the important thing is that the 'real' hero is indeed a true hero, because he is there for us anytime the going gets tough, and in the good times too.

And very true too that they can't 'feel' it. Maybe if they had something they were passionate about too, then they'd 'get it'.

Thanks again for dropping by, big big hugs!! :)

Lynn Spangler said...

Great advice, Zee. I'm fortunate to have a hubby who doesn't seem to mind when and if I write. He just wants to see me happy.

Great debut. I will definitely be following this blog.

Zee Monodee said...

Thanks Lynn! Glad to see you drop by, and what a lucky girl you are for having such a hubby. Mine turns into a growling bear if I ignore him for too long, :)

Big hugs!