Monday, March 11, 2013

How Romance Writers Create the Perfect Leading Man



Creating the Perfect Leading Man
By Romantic Suspense Author Amber Lea Easton


Oh, the leading men we all lust after, the guys who get us all steamy just thinking about them, and the characters we wish would manifest in front of our eyes with the snap of our fingers.  I salivate just thinking about some of “my men” who’ve graced my imagination and the pages of my novels.  What are the ingredients that go into creating that perfect leading man in a romance novel?  (And why do I feel like I’m a witch creating the perfect spell? Ha!)

Romance heroes are usually far from perfect, regardless of their physical description.  Despite the idea of Fabio ripping his shirt off--which isn’t a bad image--the ideal man needs to be somewhat flawed to be approachable.  What do I mean by this?  Well, let me tell you.

*  Internal conflict.  Broken-hearted?  Jaded?  You bet.  We all love the tortured hero, the guy who looks like he has it all but is lonely behind closed doors, the man who’s heart is as big as his pectoral muscles, the bad boy who isn’t quite as naughty as the world makes him out to be. 
*  A gentleman.  Even in this world of independent women who get it done with sass and class, we all like a man who would lay it on the line for us and who knows how to make a woman feel like a lady.
*  Sexy.  A man can be beautiful on the outside, but not be sexy.  So what is this elusive quality called sex appeal?  When writing a leading man, it’s the subtle nuances that say “power” that equal sexy.  Yeah, that’s right.  Power. Whether it’s his self-control, his ability to stare you down, his confidence or the non-verbal cues that scream “good in bed”, sexy is a characteristic that is essential to our leading men. 
*  Secrets.  We all have a few skeletons in our closet, but our leading men have mummies entombed in their basements.  These secrets are usually tied into the aforementioned heartbreak, which makes them that much more appealing. 
*  Smart.  Who wants an idiot no matter how gorgeous he is?  Smart is sexy, I always say, and that applies to both the hero and heroine.  It’s imperative that the hero be a smart man, a leader (even if he’s in a vulnerable position in the story), a guy the reader can see in the role of “hero”. 
*  A good friend.  I’ve always said you can judge a man by the company he keeps and that goes for leading men, too.  Having secondary characters who reflect who the man is to them, how they feel about him, his loyalty to them, etcetera goes a long way in determining if he’s actually a good guy or not.  Even if the relationships are edgy, his reaction to them in the story will reveal his true nature to the readers.

All of these elements need to be in place for a leading man to take center stage in our hearts and imaginations.  Physical description pales in comparison to the character development that truly pulls at a reader’s heartstrings.  After all, when writing romance, it’s important to have the readers fall in love with your man...and no one falls in love with an empty shell. 
 
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Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published fiction and nonfiction author. For twenty years, she's worked in the fields of journalism and advertising with a brief detour into the financial industry.  Although she holds a BA in Communications & Journalism, she is a perpetual student of life who enjoys taking courses on a wide variety of subjects when time allows.  Smart is sexy, according to Easton, which is why she writes about strong female characters who have their flaws and challenges, but who ultimately persevere.

Easton currently lives with her two teenagers in the Colorado Rocky Mountains where she gives thanks daily for the gorgeous view outside her window. She finds inspiration from traveling, the people she meets, nature and life’s twists and turns. At the end of the day, as long as she's writing, she considers herself to be simply "a lucky lady liv'n the dream."


Visit Amber at:
Twitter - @MtnMoxieGirl
 


You can find out more about Amber Lea Easton, Riptide and her World of Ink Author/Book Tour at http://tinyurl.com/a2azncg

4 comments:

  1. Amber, great advice on creating a strong and confident leading man. And, you're so right, it's the subtle characteristics and confidence that create a strong male character.

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  2. Amber, great post, and important points to remember when creating a romantic hero.

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  3. We love those strong, gentlemanly men! Thanks, Amber.

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  4. Love him already. Thanks Amber.

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