A week? Argh, naughty Jackie! My only excuse is that I’ve been hard at work this week getting in more contest entries. Yep, anything and everything, that’s my motto. Gotta be in it to win it etc, etc…
Anyway, it’s one of these entries that got me thinking about heroes. Heroes and hobbies to be exact. Hobbies?? Yeah, hobbies. I know, I know, brings to mind stamps and miniature railways and birdwatching (not that there is anything wrong with any of these!) and possibly anoraks. All of which don’t seem to be particularly hero orientated. But bear with me.
First let me tell you that there is nothing cuter than a man in the grip of a small enthusiasm. Dear Dr Jax for example. He often has little fancies. Last month it was fish. He investigated EVERYTHING. Tanks, correct water PH, oxygen thingies, the proper food, lights, the works. You would think he was getting some terribly expensive tropical fish but no, it was fresh water guppies. But the kids got to choose a tank ornament each, and now we have a little aquarium in our lounge. Since then he hasn’t looked at the fish and soon it’ll be something else, but while he was interested there was something so utterly endearing about it that it got me thinking about my heroes and their ‘things’ (no, not that thing). 🙂
A hero with a hobby is a very human hero. A relateable hero. You might have the world’s biggest alphole but if he has a passion for teaspoon collecting then somehow, that makes him more sympathetic (or not as the case may be. I guess it depends if you like teaspoons). It also provides a very nice way for the heroine to relate to him. Perhaps she buys him a rare teaspoon for his collection? What a way to show you care! And it can also be a lovely point of similarity – maybe she collects plates?
The plot opportunities for little hobbies can be good too. Perhaps the teaspoon collecting is part of his conflict? He MUST have the best collection in the world because he has to be the best at everything because when he was a kid his father always made him feel second rate. Or perhaps he loves fishing because it makes him feel closer to his dead mother. Or he likes making jewellery because he’s actually secretly creative and doing finance deals doesn’t satisfy that part of him.
Hobbies can be great ways to set up character as well. What is it about teaspoon collecting that he likes so much? Perhaps he’s very neat and has them all ordered and displayed beautifully and then the heroine comes in and messes them all up. Or maybe he’s into music and is very techy, and has to have the BEST stereo equipment (come on, everyone knows at least one guy like this, right?), and then the heroine makes a perfectly innocent comment about his stereo which then gets her a rave for HOURS. And she’s enchanted by his boyishness. 😉
Obviously, in giving your hero a hobby, you do have to make it part of his character. I wouldn’t give a CEO a stamp collecting hobby just because it was different. The stamp collecting would have to be part of the type of guy he is. Why stamps? Did he collect them as a child? Why does he still collect them as an adult? Etc, etc.
So what’s the most interesting hobby for a hero that you’ve read? I read a Susan Napier years ago where the hero grew roses. It was awesome!