Monday, July 24, 2006

The art of creating the perfect hero...

The perfect hero... Who is he? What makes him "perfect" in a world full of imperfect people? Is it because he's handsome, sexy, intelligent, rich??? Any or all of the above? The most important factor in the success of any romance novel is the kind of hero you create. Once you have him in place, the rest tends to write its own story a good deal of the time. Mind you, "perfect" is one of those words that means something different to everyone who reads/uses it, so it's always fascinating to see how it's used, by writers and readers alike. I've been accused of writing "heroes" that some of my friends would kill, not love! So, the question of the moment becomes, what makes a perfect hero for you?

For me, the perfect hero is a mix of many things, but he's always strong willed, intelligent, and independent. He's a man who is not what people tell him he should be, but who he is who he chooses to be. Since I've always been influenced visually, I often "cast" my hero long before I know who he's ultimately going to be. That's what happened with my last Amber Quill Press release. The character of Nick Red Cloud in Rebel Heart was an incarnation of one of my favourite actors, Native American Branscombe Richmond. (The Lorenzo Lamas/Renegade fans know who he is, don't ya?) Nick eventually became the tortured "hero" of a serialized story for the American Motorcycle Company, (www.amc1902.com), and is now the Rebel Knight of that series. The original got me some of my best reviews ever and is still available. Details for both the serial and the original book are on my website. (And, on a sidenote, Nick led me to my partnership with his inspiration, Mr. Richmond, which was a way cool bonus!! <lol>)

So, again, is the perfect hero someone we know, someone we see, someone we create, or all of those? Are there elements that go into each new character that are consistent, or do we simply project our wishful fantasies of the moment onto the page and go from there? I'd love to know what readers find appealing in a hero, and in the heroine who wins his heart?

Denysé
Website: www.denysebridger.com
Blog: http://fantasy-pages.blogspot.com

50 comments:

Dannyfiredragon said...

Hi Denysé,

I would say that the perfect hero is a little bit of wishful thinking. We take all the characteristics that we would love in a man and mix it to the perfect hero

Cherie Japp said...

To me the perect hero is one who is strong, intelligent, honorable and dependable. My husband is a hero to me but certainly not a perfect one. I think the perfect hero tends to be a product of our fantasies.

Denyse said...

That makes perfect sense, doesn't it? So many things make people perfect for each other, not necessarily perfect to each other. That would be TOO much to hope for, wouldn't it??

Amy S. said...

The perfect hero is alpha, intelligent, passionate, compassionate, has a sense of humor, strong, and honorable. I think the perfect hero is the man we all fantasize about. And of course I think the heroine is just like me. lol

Julie in Ohio said...

I enjoy a strong, take-no-prisoners type of hero with a heart of gold. His heroine would have to be a strong willed, smart mouthed beauty who needs someone with a heart of gold. :o)

I have had others ask to "cast" a hero and I just can't do that. When I am reading a book I don't put real faces with the characters. Which means that although I think Hugh Jackman would make an excellent hero, I just don't *see* him in any characters.
It's funny. Most heros are described as tall, dark(light)and handsome but each one (to me) looks different.

Jennifer Y. said...

I like all types of heroes...I am not that picky. As long as he is not arrogant of abusive, I am usually okay with him. I do like the hero with a great sense humor, intelligence, honor, loyalty, and passionate.

Joyce said...

Even in books, is anyone perfect? I think you want a hero who has a small flaw, not anything offensive, but something that makes him approachable and human. Definitely compassionate, has a great sense of humor, caring, etc.

Laurie D. said...

Because I read to escape and am not one to pick apart a book, any book, I like the heroes in the books I read to be nearly perfect -intelligent, gorgeous, thoughtful, respectful, protective, a little larger than life, romantic, and of course, a perfect lover. I prefer heroines who are also intelligent, self-assured and self-sufficient, but not to the point of "I'm am woman, I don't need you, or I can do anything you can do. . . " - I'm proud to be a woman, but at the same time, I'm not a man and don't want to be treated like one. I don't have a problem with a heroine being soft and feminine and admitting that she needs a man-so long as she isn't stupid or wimpy about it - and no whining allowed.
My hubby and I are both far from perfect, but we're perfect for each other, you know? We both have flaws and weaknesses that are countered by the other's strengths.

bamabelle said...

I have liked many diverse heroes in books. I think one common thread is that they must be authentic. They must know who they are, and be true to that. Other than that I love variety, so bring on the heroes lol!

Laurie D. said...

I meant to add to my post that Denyse's Rebel Heart and its continuation in the Rebel Knight series is too good to be missed by anyone who loves romantic suspense. Nick is absolutely delicious as the hero and I anticipate each and every installment of the continuation of his story. Denyse and her writing were chatted about on my blog; she is a real sweetheart with an abundance of talent.

Lucy Monroe said...

For me the perfect hero is foremost a man who my heroine can love and who will ultimately be good for her. He isn't always perfect. He's not always like someone I know (though all my heroes have a bit of my dh in them). He's not a type so much as an essence. He is a man who has depth, character and strength. Who can screw up and be sorry enough both the heroine and the reader can forgive him.

The two things all my heroes have in common? They are alpha and they are sexy. And that's what I love to read too. But then...dh is both, so I think it's definitely an ingrained preference.

Kelley said...

I love a strong, Alpha hero. I love it even more when he falls for the heroine and realizes that he can't live without her. My heart always flutters at that moment when the hero realizes he loves the heroine. I'm getting dreamy eyed over here just thinking about it. :)

readingissomuchfun said...

I love a strong Hero, Intelligent, romantic, funny, knows how to go get the woman he wants in the story *G* I don't like the whiny ones LoL.


HUGSSSS
Linda.H.

Jodi said...

Intelligent, funny, trust-worthy, good-looking, dependable.

I think it works for both heroes and heroines.

Rachael said...

My idea of a hero is someone mysterious who is always there to save the girl, if she needs saving. The first character I thought of was Ranger from Evanovich's series. He is the ultimate hero. Dark, sexy, mysterious, strong, intelligent, successful. MMMMMMMMMM Ranger :)

Stacy~ said...

The perfect hero is a lot of characteristics rolled into one. He knows who he is, he's intelligent, passionate, and willing to fight for the love of his life.

I have a soft spot for the tortured hero, but I really think a hero is man who is honorable, faithful, and honest. Someone who is sexy and knows how to pleasure a woman, or at least willing to learn ;) But the most intriguing heroes are the ones who aren't perfect. Maybe the heroine challenges him in a way he' never been challenged, and he's a little unsure of himself because of it, or maybe he has a difficult time letting anyone get close to him. A man who isn't always completely self-assured and in control is very attractive. Makes him more real.

Deborah Chan said...

I enjoy an alpha hero that still shows his sensitive side.

LISA WILLIAMS said...

The perfect hero has a mixture of a good sense of humor, intelligent, a take charge type of guy but sensitive.

Carol said...

To me, the perfect hero is Roarke from J.D. Robb's In Death series. I think he fits everyone's description! lol

Shuck Ying said...

The heros of the books I read are a variety types of men. They are all heroes in my eyes as long as they are not hurtful.

Judy F said...

a good listener, funny, supportive. Can make me believe in the happy ever after

Heather Harper said...

Roarke is my favorite hero. Ever.

Sigh.

Amy said...

To me the perfect hero is the strong alpha male.

Brandy said...

As long as he's not arrogant to the point of being a bully, has a bit of a sense of humor and cherishes the heroine, I don't have a specific type to look for. Well... that may be wrong. I enjoy books where the Hero is strong (not so much physically), intellegent, and hiding a soft side. Is that a type?

Jen in WA said...

Hmmm... the perfect hero. Strong alpha male, sense of humor, honorable, flawed (no one is perfect), attractive to the heroine and the soul-mate/ other half (whatever you want to call it) to the heroine. For me, the perfect hero is always changing to be the perfect match to the heroine.

Bonnie Ferguson said...

Perfect Hero: A delightfully imperfect Alpha Male or a hero with Alpha tendencies who loves the heroine with a burning passion and is completely devoted to her.

robynl said...

The perfect hero is someone whom I would get along with and we would compliment each other; he has humor, a need to protect, loving.
The heroine should be independent but lean on the hero when needed.

Veronica said...

I believe the perfect hero is strong, intellegient, caring, dependable, and definitly alpha male. I also believe you want to hit this man with something heavy at least once during the book, because he also thinks he is always right.

The perfect heroine is someone who can put up with the hero and can get him to admit when he is wrong without being smug about it.

amy*skf said...

I was going to go into a lot of detail...and then I read Carol's comment.

Roarke is the perfect hero--handsome, smart, alpha, damaged, funny.

And he loves his Eve like no one ever has.

A perfect hero loves perfectly.

Jennifer L hart said...

I would say, to me the perfect hero starts out as hopelessly flawed, but manages to make amends by the end. And of course he has to be super sexy!

Cryna said...

The perfect hero for me is one who is strong, does not care what others think if he feels it is correct for him, is honorable and dependable, but at the same time can be sensitive and try to understand where someone else is coming from. And I love it the moment that he realizes that he loves the heroine, even if she is strong and independant, but not one who is overly aggressive.

Pamela K. Kinney said...

The perfect hero is one who has flaws, one who learns something,and can admit he learned. In real life no one is perfect and if the hero is flawed like men in real life is, making his hero's journey will be all the more greater to us the reader, as we go on it with him and read the his story to the end, even though we know he'll end up with the heroine, that he undertook to become maybe a better man by being flawed to being with.

Pat said...

A good hero has humor; very important to me. Strong, kind and caring and is sure of himself.

lidia said...

The perfect hero to me is an alpha male but... one who is willing to admit to making mistakes and taking responsibility for his actions.

Becky said...

My perfect hero would be a man that's intelligent, strong, dependable, independent, but not to much, dominant, caring, loving, and knows how to get the woman he wants and please her. *G* If you know what I mean.

Lucy Monroe said...

Oooh...I see that most of us really like a lot of the same qualities in a hero.

This is a discussion that would have been fun, but not nearly as big at conference...honestly...this has been fun!

cyngreen said...

Perfect hero: strong, intelligent, yet sensitive and caring.

Rita R. said...

I would say a hero for me is a man who is not afraid to show emotion and is strong willed...can't be pushed around.

ShelMel said...

To me, the perfect hero is the man that fits perfectly with the heroine. Good and bad. No one is perfect - but when they fit together seamlessly, that makes the hero perfect.

Pamk said...

The perfect hero would be just what I needed when I needed. Not going to happen but he would definitely have to be smart, funny, sexy, and loving

mammakim said...

Well a man can't be perfect... LOL but my perfect man is sensitive without being a wimp. He has to love children and be good with them. He has to have a great sense of humor.then for the looks, I always say I love those blue eyed blondes but for some reason I have always dated the tall dark handsome guys... with dimples.. they just melt me. I ended up marrying a tall dark handsome guy with dimples.

Pam P. said...

My perfect hero is probably a mix of all the types. Strong-willed, dependable and protective when needed, but also respects the heroine and lets her do her own thing, even if watching from the sidelines, or rises to the occasion after not first doing so, upon further reflection. Intelligent, with a sense of humor, even if not often shown and sarcastically witty. Willing to admit when he's really wrong, even if grudgingly or in a roundabout way, or even just because.

Anonymous said...

One that is Tender and gentle. One that is passinate and forceful. One that is funny and understanding. One that protected his family all of a stand up man.
Hugs!
Lisa R.

kaisquared said...

I enjoy a hero who is not totally good, but honorable almost despite himself....

Tee said...

I have a hard time with any hero being perfect for we do not live in that type of world. It would be nice though. LOL He can look perfect but let him a flaw or two in his personality. As for being their own person and no letting anyone else mold them is great. But I do enjoy seeing the men characters do anything for the woman they love.

Gerie-Leigh said...

Hi,
I think the best, most effective heros are the ones that are everyday guys with special qualities we might not be privy to in the beginning. They show themselves over time and he grows on us more and more, especially the dark misunderstood men of this world!

Denyse said...

Wow! Lots of wonderful insight in all these thoughtful and interesting posts. As Lucy said, we all seem to have common threads in what we look for in our heroes. Strong and loving will win the heart every time, no matter what the situation is, so that's fabulous.

flip said...

I have found too many perfect heroes and they are all so different. I love Mr. Darcy, especially as portrayed by Mr. Colin Firth. But I have also swooned over a few macho Linda Howard books. But if a writer creates a man that strong and yet sensitive, I am a goner. Two writers who have created memorable heroes in my mind are M.M. Kaye and Laura Kinsale.

Niny said...

One of the things I really enjoy is reading a book and falling in love with the hero, and for me that is more than enough to keep me going back for more! To me it really does not matter the type when I feel a connection with the characters, I'm a goner! All my favorite books potrait different type of heroes and heroine, and I have fallen in love with every one of them! But I have to admit that I'm partial to a man that is a softie at heart, even if he'd like to pretend he is though. A protector, and tender lover. And of course the heroine will be one that is willing to work with all the flaws and love him anyway.

Meg Allison said...

The perfect hero? My perfect hero isn't... perfect, I mean.

He is sexy (not necessarily handsome); intelligent; brave; loyal; has a sense of humor; and enjoys bringing pleasure to his woman.

He always has at least one flaw...one weakness, and it differs from man to man. In the end, it's normally the heroine that can help him smooth over that rough patch.

I expect flaws in real people -- I insist upon them in those characters I create.