View Full Version : The Perfect Romantic Hero

12-25-2004, 02:23 AM
In Michelle217's clever blog Tales from the Slushpile (http://www.strangemuse.com) she poses an interesting question: Who makes a perfect hero in a romance novel?

Here (http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/8078/hero.html) is "Romance Authors Define the Perfect Hero."

I think of Mr. Darby (from Pride and Prejudice) as being the original perfect romantic hero. He's titled, wealthy, handsome, and by the way, inexplicably hot for Miss Eliza. His negative characteristic -- arrogance -- is through the course of the novel softened by Eliza.

What do you think?

edited because of my infernal inability to post working links!

12-26-2004, 10:15 PM
If you don't mind, I'm going to speak somewhat from a movie perspective, being that I don't read a lot of romance novels.

And I want to clarify that, although I am a guy, I love romance, including romantic comedy, but I don't particularly like the feel of something which is not contextual, meaning I don't enjoy the idea of romance that is contrived at all.

In other words, I'm more interested in a great romance in the setting of a great story. With that said, I don't feel that Tolkien's romance between Arwyn and Aragorn was particularly well done, but I felt that the movie interpretation which captured their feelings to be very well done. I feel that Peter Jackson was especially good at capturing Lady Eowyn's feelings for Aragorn.

For a guy to really enjoy a romance, the characters have to be believable. That includes everything, the situation, the actors. I feel that movie Aragorn was very believable as a romantic lead from a guys perspective.

Now, to books. I've written multiple stories (unpublished). None would qualify as a romance, but in virtually everything I've written, romance takes place. And it isn't finding or describing the perfect type so much as being able to capture the male/female through each other's eyes. (The reader's as well as the protagonists)

If I say a "beautiful blond with large beautiful blue eyes", that isn't enough. There has to be more of an emotional connection. But once you do that, the reader is picturing "Their perfect blue-eyed blond", not yours. That's my goal.

So, I will add enough detail to trigger the reader's imagination, but not much beyond that. You can bring about an incident in which she puts her fingers into the silky raven-black hair, perhaps to untangle something she threw at him, but then the reader's imagination takes it beyond, what it actually feels like to run your fingers through hair that feels like silk.

In most cases, I prefer situations where two people aren't looking for each other, or expecting love, but life brings them together. In a few of the cases in my stories, they didn't like each other, but again, are thrown into circumstances where they discover they've misjudged each other, or weren't in touch with their own feelings, trying to protect something, refusing vulnerability that is necessary for relationships.

I like real life to enter into a romance.

Writing Again
12-27-2004, 01:28 PM
From a female perspective I imagine it would depend on the woman. Most of the women in my family have different views on what is attractive in a man. In truth I can look at any man and tell you which women in my family would find him either attractive or repulsive.

From a male perspective I believe it would have to be one who did not eliminate the man who was doing the reading. If a woman is looking for a superman or even a football jock that leaves many out. If she is looking for an egg head who knows everything and is on his way to learning everything else then that leaves even more men out.

So I would say the perfect romantic hero would have to be an ordinary guy with a trait any man might have or be capable of developing. Say a man who has, or learns to have, compassion for others, a man who grows up, or who discovers he can look like a fool in front of the woman he loves without losing her respect.

12-28-2004, 04:01 AM
Clever, huh? I like that. You are officially in my will, Holly. ;)

Perfect Romantic Hero: Alpha male, with a psychological wound only the heroine can heal. Tall, dark and handsome. But not too pretty. He's got to look like a man, baby. That's why I'll always be partial to Aragorn over Legolas.

Russell Crowe in Gladiator; Vaughn on Alias; Spike on Buffy; Angel on Buffy; Rhett Butler; Mr. Darcy (oh yes please); I'm also partial to Mr. Knightly; Wolverine as played by Hugh Jackman (raowrrr).

Okay, now I need a cigarette. :hat

12-29-2004, 07:31 AM
Guys don't need alpha males to be interested in a story line, just a good story line, someone who is believable, and generally not emasculated. They can't come across as a jerk from a guy perspective.

In general, a lot of the "teen angst" movies of the eighties had guys who were likable, but not typically romantic leads.

I think a lot of female Romances come off as not even trying to guess what kind of a guy is believable to the average guy.

I'm convinced that many guys are romantic, but not in the way that is portrayed in a Romance novel. It's too formulaic for most guys.

For one, I think women have an ability to fill in lines in a different way than men do. Their stories need certain things, but not to be extremely complex. Guys like a more detailed "show me the instruction manuel" approach to the romance.

Writing Again
01-03-2005, 09:36 PM
Guys read instruction manuals?

01-06-2005, 04:48 AM
Well, you can find fools in any gender, but in general, if you start out with a guy who is motivated to be a decent husband and father, they won't automatically intuit what that entails.

Let's face it. When it comes to relationships, males were born needing to buy a vowel. That doesn't mean that we don't want a great relationship, but for the most part, guys enter a relationship assuming a woman's needs are like his own, and when the light dawns, his first thought is, "Hey, what's wrong with her?"

Our wiring is completely different. Women tend toward empathetic speech:

Example: Woman speaks to woman. "My boss asked me to put together a conference, and then he asked me to find someone for the new position. Everything fell apart, I couldn't get the stinking caterer...the delivery man was ten minutes late...and then my boss is screaming at me, the caterer called me a witch, and my computer crashed..."

Woman's response, "Oh, you poor thing, you must have had a terrible day..."

"Hugs, sympathy...move on."

Guy's response, "What caterer did you call? You shouldn't use them. They are notoriously slow. Here's what I'd do. If your boss gives you... What kind of computer do you have? That's your problem right there. Cheap junk..."

He's thinking with the wrong part of his brain, but "He is trying to help". He doesn't know you are asking for a sympathetic ear to understand your day, but thinks you are asking for a "How to solve the world's problems" instruction manual.

Then when she says, "You are not listening..." he's baffled, "Yes I am!"

No, you are not!

"Okay, then don't ask me for advice."

"I had a horrible day, and all you want to do is lecture me...you are such a...man."

Guys don't want to stink.

When it comes to being a father, a husband, guys don't intention to be bad at it. If they are bad at it, it is usually because of ignorance.

However, you have to translate everything into guy in order to explain how his wife wants him to listen.

You break it down into parts. And eventually the lightbulb goes on. "So, she's not asking for advice, she's asking for support. So when you are listening, if she tells you something good, enjoy it with her. If it's something bad, give her a hug, listen and encourage her.

Then when she has calmed down, and feels comforted, then you can go shoot around.

I don't mean this to sound condescending, but most men would like to figure out how to please their wives. It's not just the material of sitcoms, we HATE to fail, and therefore we HATE opportunities to fail.

It's not that we dislike valentines day, we just see it as a final exam we could easily fail. If we knew we'd always get it right, men would not fear the day.

There's no worse feeling than, "K-rap, she's mad at me again."

Betty W01
01-17-2005, 10:02 PM
For alpha male hero types, one o the best authors at them is Suzanne Brockmann. Read her SEAL Team 16 series (starts with The Defiant Hero, I think). Also, Dee Henderson does a great job in her "O'Malleys" series (first book called Danger in the Shadows) and her "Uncommon Heroes" series (first book True Devotion). Susan Elizabeth Phillips' heores are pretty alpha, too, and her stories are interesting.

Warning: Phillips and Brockmann write some pretty steamy scenes.