But that’s not all there is to it, is there? When we are writing the hero, there are so many elements that need to be considered. After all, he really does need to be perfect. And human-ish. And normal. And above normal.
How can we even do this? Our expectations are pretty high. In addition to creating a spectacular physical specimen of a man, he needs to be perfect in other ways. I think the following nine elements are important in a hero I’m going to let my heroine fall in love with. You can let me know if you have things to add to the list, in the comments!
1. Genuine Kindness
Is he the fireman who rescues the kittens (easy out), or is he the guy that realizes the heroine may need a helping hand or that being kind, even to someone that can’t help him? I’ll take the second. A truly kind man doesn’t need a uniform (although that is hella sexy) to be kind. He just needs an open heart and a sense of empathy or ability to see when someone is struggling.
Hoo-boy is this an important thing in real life. And it is important in a story too. The reader and the heroine both need to know that he is going to make it through the story, that he has his head, finances, and ambitions focused on success.
3. Emotionally Supportive
Is he going to react with anger and distrust, and ruin a good thing, or is he going to be that pulled-together guy who really does have the emotional answers? And is he able to feel what the heroine feels, and support her through her journey too?
4. Some Actual Manners
Yes, I’m old school. Please don’t use your fork as a spear to pick up your dinner and gnaw at it until it is gone. Please open that door for me, and please walk on the side closest to the street. Seriously, it’s not that hard. Oh yes, and keep your burps and farts to yourself!
Do what you say you will do, say what you mean, and live up to your obligations. No one likes a slacker.
6. An Open Heart
How else is he going to fall in love with her? But this extends to more than just her. This extends to the other people he may be interacting with in the story. No one can resist an open-hearted man. We just want to hug them and squeeze them and call them…(not George).
Gimme your money! Or at least, let me see you spend your money. Don’t be a cheapskate. And this applies to actions, too. Don’t be stingy. Strength is truly shown in how you treat others.
8. A Passion For Life
Another no-brainer, at least for me. What is life without passion? It doesn’t matter if you are into old cars, coaching little league soccer, growing perfect roses, or playing music. Have a love of something besides yourself. Passion for something is a complete turn-on.
9. Pride In Making People Smile
The world can be a dark, dark place. And we tend to ramp up the negatives in our writing, because it is dramatic and helps the reader buy in better to the story and characters. But don’t forget that humor is what really makes the world go around. Know when to laugh, and know how to make other people laugh. The skill that allows you diffuse a situation with humor is one you can’t discount. Everyone needs to laugh once in a while.
So, what do you think? What would you add to this list? Leave me a comment!
Fairest of the Faire
Schoolteacher Connie Meyers is suddenly a young widow, her husband killed in a horrific car accident. Heartbroken to find out he had gambled away everything they had, she moves to her sister-in-law’s Midwest home to rebuild her life. A trip to the local Renaissance Faire with her nieces leads to a summer job as a costumed storyteller.
Avowed bad boy and fair performer Gage Youngblood is infatuated with Connie at first sight. Despite his deliberately commitment-free life, and Connie’s don’t-touch-me attitude, he soon has her in his arms, realizing quickly she is also in his heart.
When she is threatened by her late husband’s bookie, he steps into the role of protector, his fate forever sealed with hers.
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