I attended a romance writing workshop some time ago where the focus was on how to create the perfect hero. The workshop leader decreed that the hero of a romance novel should not be a nice man who wore a cardigan and who was happy with just holding the heroin’s hand whilst gazing at the stars. All these were definitely the attributes of an anti-hero, a man no reader in her right mind could ever fall in love with..
But what exactly did she find so unattractive? Was it the cardigan, or that the man was content with holding the heroin’s hand instead of ravishing her? Or again that he enjoyed gazing at the stars in her company?
I remember thinking at the time that the most important quality a hero should have was to make me dream, to make me wish he was in my life for real. If it's true that I am not too keen on men wearing cardigans, they have actually become quite a fashion statement for younger men these past few years. Holding someone’s hand can be a most wonderful and romantic experience. As for star gazing, I only have to think of astronomy professor Brian Cox's soft voice, clever eyes and sexy smile for it to become the most exciting way of spending an evening!
He is the man I dream about, the man I write about and the man who lives in my head for weeks and months on end – in the case of my current work in progress, one year already!
But whichever country he is from, whatever occupation he has and whatever the plot, the background or the time period, the first and most important step is always for me to picture his eyes.
And of course, to get his name right. From the moment he has a name, he is in my life. But the choice of the hero's name is the topic of another post...
What about you? How do you create your perfect hero? And what type of hero makes you dream?