Creating a Hero (Penny Rader)

Since our theme this month is Heroes, I poked around the internet for hints about creating a hero.  Here's a bit of what I found.  Enjoy!

Build Your Own Romance Hero (Nicole Jordan)     

  • Hero appearance
  • Hero name
  • Basic personality type
  • Making him human and unique

  1. Challenge stereotypes.
  2. What matters isn’t WHO your character is, it’s HOW you’ll write him.
  3. Be wary of the too-perfect hero trap.

Creating Your Hero’s Fatal Flaw (Laurie Schnebly Campbell)

Laurie gives an awesome program on creating characters using enneagrams and says “It's easy to find ideas for the fatal flaws our characters will have to overcome, because the enneagram theorists say that each of the nine types has a deadly sin within them. Although the math is off, because there are seven deadly sins and nine enneagram types, so they made up two more sins which fit the types.

Find Your Hero in Category Romance (Catherine Mann and Joanne Rock)

  • Give him flaws.
  • Give him quirks.
  • Make him studly.
  • Give him an element of danger.
  • Make him worthy of the challenge.

So if writing your hero as a sexy, take charge kind of guy makes him merely ordinary, how do you create a hero so unique your reader is going to fall for him in a big way?--By showing the little boy within the man. 
I don’t mean you should have him exhibiting childish, immature behavior, but rather show what hurts him, excites his enthusiasm, makes him proud. Show his soft spot. Is he a sucker for kids, does he love animals, worry about his mother? You can get away with a lot in terms of macho behavior (romance heroes tend to be larger than life in this aspect) as long as he demonstrates what Suzanne Brockmann refers to as the save-the-kitty factor. 

How to Be aRomantic Hero (Diane Perkins)

 1.      Be flawed.
 2.      Be self-assured.
 3.      Be tough.
 4.      Be controlled.
 5.      Be trustworthy.
 6.      Be ethical.
 7.      Value equality.
 8.      Be physically fit.
 9.      Be sexually generous.
10.  Finally, be sure to have dark-as-night hair with a habit of falling waywardly across your forehead.

Romance Writing: Heroes (Loribeth Swanson)
  • He must be well defined by the author to the reader.
  • He is strong whether it’s obvious or subtle.
  • He acts with integrity.
  • If his actions are bad, then he has a good reason to act so.

Ten Steps to a Yummy Hero (Vicki Lewis Thompson)

  1. Does he reflect current social values?
  2. Does he possess universal hero traits?
  3. Does he compare favorably with current movie and television heroes?
  4. Does he compare favorably with the heroes of best-selling authors?
  5. Does he conform to the specific kind of romance you are writing?
  6. Does he reflect your personal style?
  7. Does his behavior seem well motivated?
  8. Have you put him in heroic situations?
  9. Do you have a clear picture of what he looks like?
  10. Have you fallen in love?

What attracts you to a guy?  I usually notice eyes first.  And dark hair.  (You probably figured that out from the pics.) A great smile.  And a bit of a five o'clock shadow. Yum.

What traits are non-negotiable for you in a hero?  I'd love to hear your top three. Or five.  Mine?  Hmmm.  I'm going to go with brave/courageous, selfless, honorable, smart, and a sense of humor. 


Starla Kaye said...

Penny, Penny, Penny.... you always give us so much! Your info was great. The guys you shared....Thanksgiving yummy!

Penny Rader said...

LOL, Starla. So happy you enjoyed them. :D Once I learned how to include more than once pic with a post I went a bit crazy. But there are just sooooo many yummy choices out there.

Louise Behiel said...

what a lovely way to start my day, Penny. I'm off to an all day stuffy business meeting, but i'm going to keep this blog on my phone, for motivation...yeah that's right. motivation.

great read

Penny Rader said...

I hope you enjoy them all day long, Louise! I had hoped to include an article you wrote called "The Hero," but the link didn't work. (I saw it listed on Gabrielle Luthy's website.)

Melissa Robbins said...

Matt Bomer! Squeal! Neal is a great hero/anti hero example, which I'm sure is why you included him. *wink, wink* No complaints on the number of pics, Penny. Save the kitty, I like that. I'm picturing Breakfast at Tiffany's. I'm a sucker for blue eyes, a nice smile, and a goofy sense of humor. Just ask my husband.

Penny Rader said...

Indeed, Melissa. I love Neal on White Collar. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! And when I see pics where his eyes are a vivid, startling blue...even better! There's a good guy under the con artist. :D I get a kick out of Mozzie, too. And I enjoy the relationship between Neal and Peter as well as between Peter and Elizabeth.

Susan Macatee said...

Great pics! I love all my romance heroes. And I think each one of them has at least a little bit of my real life hero, my husband, in them. By the time I start writing the story, I have a clear picture in my head of the hero--how he looks, speaks and his mannerisms.

Nancy Jardine Author said...

I absolutely adore this post, Penny. It's a checklist I might have to refer to often.

Katherine said...

Enjoyed your post, Penny. Especially the pictures. ;o) Thanks for the checklists.

Penny Rader said...

Thanks, Susan! Are there specific traits your heroes share?

Penny Rader said...

I'm so glad you found the post helpful, Nancy. I plan to re-read the articles. They have lots of great info.

Lynne Marshall said...

What a fantastic blog! I am saving it to favorites for future reference.

Oh, and the pictures were nice too. ;)

Penny Rader said...

LOL,Lynne. Glad you're enjoying them.

bdtharp said...

Great blog. And the hunky photos are nice, too. I wholeheartedly agree that heroes are not perfect. It makes them easier to relate to and fall for! Happy Thanksgiving!

Penny Rader said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you, too, Bonnie. What sort of flaws do you give your heroes?

Kathy said...

Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for the "food for thought". I know when my favorite movies were out, The Lord Of The Rings I fell for Viggo Mortensen. A lot of women were all for Orlando i.e. Legalos. I said you can have the elf I want the king. I did a lot of research on him and took some of his quirks and used them for my heroes. Not exactly like him but enough for me to write a plausible hero I think. I have a problem with the heroine sometimes making her likeable enough lol.

Nightingale said...

Thanks for the tips, Penny. Very good post. I'm going to keep some of this in mind. I tend to be drawn to blond and blue eyes. Like Eric in True Blood. He's my model in my WIP. For my fantasy that will be released next year, I visualized Alucard.

Penny Rader said...

Hi, Kathy! I almost included a pic of Viggo from LOTR. That's my fave view of him. Hair a bit long, a bit of scruff along the jaw. :D

Penny Rader said...

Nightingale, who plays Eric in True Blood? I don't have cable and haven't been able to watch the series yet...though I've read several of the Sookie books.

Melissa Robbins said...

I love White Collar too, Penny. The relationships between the characters are great.

Kathy, my LOTR geek husband said that Legolas is not just an elf, but an elf prince.

Joan Vincent said...

Penny have you seen Rufus Sewell in Zen on Masterpiece Theatre? I still can picture him from a head shot in A Knight's Tale. And Matt Boomer--in a couple of years he'll be perfect for playiing Roarke!


Penny Rader said...

Hi Joan! Yes, I did see Rufus as Zen. I was so disappointed when they ended the series after three episodes. And it will be interesting to see what Matt Bomer will look like in 10-15 years.