I said I was going to try and pick a topic to make this more useful or entertaining. Here goes nothing. This is my topic of the week.

Defining the Hero -- What makes a good Hero?

When creating a hero for a romance novel one of the key things I look at is a larger than life presence. For instance, when the hero walks into the book for the first time, there must be something magnetic about him. Is it his speech? Is it a mannerism? Is it his physique? In Seduction's Stakes Riley's immediate draw is based on physique, as seen from the heronine's point of view. When he has his own first few minutes of fame, it's the little things that make him stand out of the pages. Little mannerisms, a couple glimpses into his psyche.

Well, that's good, Claire, but that doesn't help me. What do you mean? My hero is hot and I start out with the heroine seeing him that way, but folks aren't falling for him immediately.

It goes beyond being physically attractive. We all expect that from romance heros. Give your hero one immediate unique quality. Don't tell us his hair is blond. Tell us what makes that blond hair so special. Don't tell us his eyes are blue. Tell us how those blue eyes should make us feel.

Next, he must have a commanding presence. Usually this is most effective with either speech, or the first glimpse into his POV. He must exhibit control, without being domineering. Think of all the historicals where the heroine is kidnapped. All the lawyer heros you've read about take command of the courtroom. All the doctor heros who perform life-saving surgery.

A great hero here is House. He's not the most physically attractive man in my opinion, but it's what he does. He is after one thing -- the cure. It doesn't matter how he gets there, or what it takes to get it done, or who he steps on in the process. He is commanding. His merits are the good that he does. And as you go along, you learn a little about the heart beneath the shell.

So, when you introduce your hero, make him leap out of the pages. Give him the same power you might give a villian, only in a positive light. Where you put hard work into making folks hate your villians, put the same work into making your hero equally good.

Anyway, more on the topic tomorrow.



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"Victorians used the term 'limbs' as a euphenism for legs, which were thought to be so sexually exciting to a man, even a glimpse of a table leg could incite him to sexual frenzy. Table skirts were invented to prevent any unnatural unions between men and furniture."
(History Channel International)



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