My fabulous critique partner wrote a comment on my latest WIP that she liked how my hero wasn’t afraid to be a man, a real man. Apart from being chuffed that she liked my hero, my interest was piqued as to what she meant, exactly. I do like my hero, but at the point of the story she was reading, he was a pretty blatant womaniser. In fact, all the guys in his security team joked that if they gave out a college scholarship for chasing tail, he’d be able to take his pick of schools. Show me a bloke like that in real life, and I’ll probably avoid him as much as possible.
What was it about that made him feel real to my reader? And more to the point, what was it about him that she enjoyed and connected her to his character? He was in a bar, drinking beer and to be fair, was trying to avoid women altogether, but my reader’s comments seemed more to stem from the way his introspection showed how/what he was feeling – in a real male way. On a very basic level, he attributed alcoholic beverage characteristics to the women around him, avoiding Tequila and her come hither look, but being unable to resist the temptation of a hot redhead akin to a brutal bottle of Jack. Using male speak certainly lets us know his priorities, but it’s not exactly finessed. When I thought about it more, I wondered whether the reason she connected to him, believed in him, was that all the issues I’d put front and centre for him were very male ones. There were no relationship building, multitasking niceties. The world was quite distinctly divided into eat, sleep, procreate, work, begin again. That’s not to say he didn’t care about the people around him, or that he wasn’t pondering love (this was a romance novel after all) but that maybe he only let what was happening to him, right then and there, effect what he was feeling, then and there.
It’s something I’m going to keep thinking about. There is a danger of course of making heroes too alpha, but for me I’ve often make my heroes the opposite, my first hero was a dancer for goodness sake Still, it’s nice that my reader enjoyed the maleness of my male. All I have to do now is keep it up. So, how do you think it’s best tackled? What do you like in your heroes that makes you nod your head, reach for a beer, and sigh, “yep, he’s a real man.”
PS – that WIP is the third book in the newly contracted Pacific Empress Cruise Series. Following on from The Boss and Her Billionaire. I’ll let you know when you can read how Mr Hero turns out!
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