Yet Another Post About Heroes

Yes, I know, I’ve probably posted this before but I thought I’d do another one simply because I love a good hero. Always have, always will. I like a good heroine, don’t get me wrong, but baby bring on the hero because that’s what I read romance for.

Now apparently I do a good hero – according to the editors. And my last (sadly deceased) manuscript had a ‘perfect Modern Heat hero’, so I guess I must be doing something right with ’em. But it seems that creating a good, Modern Heat alpha male is a problem for a lot of people (let’s not go into my difficulties with heroines okay?). Kate Walker did a fabulous blog post about alpha males so I won’t go into that either but here’s a little bit about how I begin doing mine.

Dr Jax (my husband for those who don’t know and no, that’s not his actual name) reads all my manuscripts and he often tells me that I manage to get into a guy’s head really well – which is pretty much essential in creating a good hero. And that’s how I often start. I imagine myself as my hero – how would he feel? How would he think? Guys are not so different, their emotions are the same as ours and essentially they want the same things as we do. They’re human right? Okay, at least semi-human. πŸ˜‰ Their key difference is in the way they express themselves and in some of the actions they take. For example, my heroes are used to taking charge of their own lives. They make decisions and take action, they don’t hang back and wait for someone else to do it for them. But they also find it difficult to talk about their emotions because guys generally aren’t very good at that kind of thing.

The other thing I find helps me with writing them is very basic – you have to write what you find sexy. If you don’t find alpha males at all sexy then creating a convincing alpha male hero is going to be very difficult. If you don’t love your hero then no one else will either. I like strong men. I like wounded, flawed men. I like men who take charge. I like intelligent men who have a sense of humour. I like arrogant, witty men. And most especially I like the confident, gorgeous guy who always has a come-back, who thinks he knows everything there is know, and yet who can be brought to his knees by the heroine. Mmmm, yum. Everything that I find sexy in a man goes into my hero. Now, other people may not find him as sexy as I do, but that’s okay, everyone’s version of sexy is different. But I think if you find writing an alpha male hard, you have to ask yourself why. Is it because you don’t actually like alpha males? Or is it because you just can’t get into his head?

If it’s the latter, close your eyes. You’re sitting in a bar. You’re not worried about how you look because your looks aren’t important to you. You’re not worried about your clothes either because clothes are just clothes and they looked fine when you put them on that morning. You’re not anxious about what to do if a woman approaches you because you always know what to say. In fact, there are more than a couple giving you the eye right now but you’re not interested in them, despite the fact that they’re gorgeous. No, because through the crowd you’ve spotted someone. A woman who is interesting to you in a way you can’t quite put your finger on. It’s irritating you because you can’t figure it out and you hate not being able to figure stuff out. Then again, you do love a challenge, a puzzle, figuring out how things tick. This woman is lovely but it’s not her beauty that draws you (beautiful women are a dime a dozen in your world), it’s the puzzle she represents that holds your interest. And you want to figure out that puzzle. But she’s surrounded by her girlfriends and they’ve already warded off quite a few approaches this evening. So what do you do?

What would Luke do? πŸ™‚

15 thoughts on “Yet Another Post About Heroes”

  1. Hi Jacqui
    this is a good post and well done. I find it hard to think like a guy – which shouldn’t be that bad, i am a girl! – and my heroes somehow end up sounding a bit weak. Have to concentrate really hard on them and ask my husband lots of questions, which he doesn’t like too much!
    Just a question about your blog – how did you get the cool widget on the right that shows how much of your story you have completed? I’d like to put one on my blog!

  2. I, too, find thinking like a guy tricky and spent way too many months trying to work out why my ex said/did things he did.

    Sometimes you can work it out, sometimes you’ve just got to accept they’re an odd lot in general!

    As far as alpha men go, so long as their motivation is strong and the reader understands what that is–they can do almost anything πŸ˜‰

  3. Hmmm, maybe I’m over-simplifying my guy thoughts. Maybe they’re more complicated than I think. But hey, we’re not writing for guys are we? We’re writing for women and as long as they behave convincingly for women, that’s all that matters. πŸ™‚

  4. Really good post Jackie.

    Men more complicated than we thought?
    Nah – Sex, food, work (and maybe sport if they’re that way inclined…) is pretty much it I think πŸ™‚

    I do like a nice tortured hero that the heroine is going to want to heal, or heals just by being herself. A sense of humour is a must too.

  5. Hey Jackie,

    I’m always lurking and don’t often reply but today I just had to! I love me some posts on hot men, aka Heroes. A couple of months back I was pottering around the kitchen, talking to myself while picking up the kids toys as my own hero tried to watch tv. In peace, but apparently I ruined that, I talk really loud, even to myself. Anyway, he came out and asked what on earth was I trying to work out in my head. I told him I was trying to figure out men and in particular, the alpha type. Surprisingly he didn’t laugh at me (that’s what I do to him when he tries to figure me out)but he very simply said; ‘Aid, the alpha male has priority access to limited resources’. WOW. (He LOVES the National Geographic channel). It totally summed it up for me.

    And for fun, when he came in today I read your post aloud and asked what should a true alpha do? His reply; ‘A real alpha would make eye contact once then sit back and count backwards from sixty’. Cos apparently by then ‘said’ woman will be all his.

    Should I be getting him to write MY romance stories??????


  6. Hi Jackie. Great blog. Very informative. I can relate to the hero – I think. My stories tend to rely on a man and his pride and honour – never underestimate a man’s pride or his honour. They can be very touchy about it – but it does make for a good conflict between H/h. Also humour. If a woman has humour then that sets her apart from other gorgeous women that the jaded Alpha male sees everyday. Instantly the Alpha male is interested in someone who is slightly “not the norm”. Anyway enough rambling. Take care. Caroline. x

  7. Well, I know you like a tortured hero who’s desperate for a bit of healing, Lorraine. I’d better get onto that eh? πŸ˜‰

    Aideen – love your comment!! That’s so funny re your husband. He’s right eh? Funnily enough, that’s what Luke actually did but I had to change it! Why? Well, because both characters were sitting there staring at each other and neither of them were making decisions (as per the last post).

    Totally with you on the humour, Caroline. A humourless hero I find very unsympathetic. And if your h&h can laugh together then that’s a great key into love.

  8. Brilliant post, Jackie. Thank you. And another great reminder to add to KISS – WWLD? Will be muttering both to myself as I tackle my comp chapter.


  9. Well it was great to read a post about heroes from someone who created a ‘perfect Modern Heat hero’ (I say repeat it as often a you can and hope you made a poster of it and stuck it around the house πŸ™‚ ).

    I really enjoyed it Jackie lol I almost felt sorry for the woman who caught his eye she doesn’t stand a chance πŸ™‚

  10. I wondered if I’d said enough, Lacey. I’m sure I can squeeze it in again in another post. πŸ˜‰ Hey, I’m just trying to make myself feel better while I wait! Gotta take every good thing you can get huh? I just hope they like my other heroes too… sigh…

    And no, she doesn’t stand a chance. But he doesn’t get it all his own way, believe me. πŸ™‚

  11. I’m not that partial to Alphas, as you know, but when you put it like that, going into his head like that, a lightbulb went off for me!

    As for Luke, I think he’d think the direct approach would work best. He’d get up, stride over and demand her attention. Nothing so cliched as “Have we met before?” but something equally designed to figure out why she’s bugging him so.

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