Thanks so much to Sheila at "Why Not? Because I Said So." If you'd like to read her review of "Aglow," go check out her blog.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Let's face it...creating the perfect leading man is not easy. You would think it would be, wouldn't you? I mean, the recipe seems pretty standard. Mix together a tall man, broad, shoulders, a glinting smile, and speaking eyes. Add a dash of humor, sensitivity, and intelligence. Dimples are optional, but generally appreciated. Combine this mixture with muscles, good kissing techniques, and more than his fair share of good looks. Voila! Place in story and allow to steam for at least 150 pages.
If you want to stay in the category of standard and cliche, go for it. The tricky part begins when you want him to not be perfect. I want my heroes to be human and still be swoon-worthy. However, it's our failings, our struggles, and needing to grow into something better that makes us human. So how do you give your hero faults? Many go with the whole bad boy thing. It works, but it's almost cliche too. Plus, I don't personally admire a bad boy. I might find him charming and alluring, but not someone I could respect and build a life with. (Unless, of course, he changes completely through his desire to be worthy of my love.)
You could make him shy, vulnerable, tortured, or unavailable. You can make him arrogant, quiet, immature, or driven. I've seen them all done successfully. However, you should never make him lazy, stupid, boorish or oblivious. In the same vein, you should probably avoid having him fart, belch, pick his nose, or chew with his mouth open. Don't give him too big of a nose ( though hawk noses seem popular in 70's harlequins for some reason), squinty eyes, a spare tire or man boobs. (hope I don't offend.)
Why? Many men have some (though I hope not all) of these less than desirable attributes, and they find love. Shoot, I love my husband more than life itself, and there are often less than desirable sounds and smells in our bedroom. Let's face it - real love and real life mean waking up to see your loved one's face and quickly diving under the covers to avoid his/her morning breath. But that's just it. A romance novel isn't real life. It's fantasy. When people read romance, they're looking for something a little more perfect, a little more sublime.
Yet to connect with it and believe the story, they have to feel that it's real. They have to miss the characters like they know them, and they need to believe that they might run into them at the mall someday. It's a conundrum to say the least. But the most important thing to keep in mind when you're creating Mr. Right, is who he needs to be right for. He needs to be right for the reader, but mostly for your heroine. Now you just need to hope you didn't screw her up. But that discussion is for another day.