My Post (87)Are you writing a romance? Let’s talk about your hero and heroine.

Your hero…

There are certain go-to descriptions for heroes; tall, dark, and handsome. He has cornflower blue eyes and messy hair he runs his hands through when he gets nervous. Romance readers want to read about a handsome man falling in love with a relatable woman. With this being said, how people define handsome varies. What attracts one person (or reader) won’t be the same across the board. Don’t feel pressure to write a stereotype, but be aware there is a loose mold. Your hero will need to be intelligent (this can be street smarts, well-read citing Shakespeare, demonstrated as running a successful business, and so forth). He will not be gluttonous sitting on the couch watching mindless television for hours on end every day, he is driven and motivated.

“These heroes aren’t just determined, assertive, and confident—they’re hard, arrogant, and harsh, and the heroine is often afraid of him. He’s a punisher as well as lover and protector, but he hurts her only because he loves her so much.”

– “Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches’ Guide to Romance Novels” by Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan

The beauty of subgenres, tropes, and archetypes is that they let you play with how to write your hero. He can declare his love immediately vocalizing his feelings towards the heroine upon first meeting her or withhold his verbalizing of love until the second to last page. Your hero should have a personality, but no matter how you write him, he needs to fall in love with the heroine. Eventually, he will realize he needs her and wants to prove himself to her.

Your heroine…

Heroines. The lifeblood of romance novels. Romance novels are predominantly written by women for women, making the heroine (the female lead) SUPER important. Romance readers are voracious and have certain expectations of the genre, especially when it comes to the heroine. She needs to be imperfect. She needs to have a flaw (or several), which makes her relatable. Did she spill coffee down her shirt, being clumsy? Does she have a nervous laugh that reappears at the worst moment? Is she always running late because she’s overworked and underpaid because she can’t stand up for herself?

“When the heroine behaves in ways that the reader approves of, she is able to immerse herself as the heroine, and the world of the story is smooth. When the heroine behaves in a way the reader finds unacceptable, however, that particular heroine suddenly stops being strictly a placeholder, and instead becomes a rival for the hero’s affections.”

– “Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches’ Guide to Romance Novels” by Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan

The hero will be swoon-worthy and lovable. The heroine will be someone the reader roots for as an alter-ego to some degree. The reader will want to follow two people worthy of love, falling in love with one another. They have endured problems, overcome obstacles, and found their soulmate at the end.

What do you look for in your romance heroine? How do you write your romance hero? Be sure to let me know in the comment section.

Thank you for reading!

Stay kind + creative & make today a great reading + writing day!

Best,

Angela

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