Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wednesday Writers Tips - The Romantic Hero

I had a good run on Sunday writing on my novella. I'd like to use that excuse for not posting a Wednesday Writers Tip last Wednesday, but I can't. I just vegged out last week and, except for the day job, stayed away from my computer. I took a little social media break.

And I did a little research at the annual Powwow in Carson City, then took the restored Virginia & Truckee RR to Virginia City. One and a half hours to go 22 miles at 12MPH. Saw some great back country and a wild mustang mare and her very young foal.

Tonight I'm reviewing the book Writing The Great American Romance Novel by Catherine Lanigan. I'm interested in Chapter Three: The Makeup of the Romantic Hero.

If you want to make your leading man a real hero, you have to make readers care about him. This is the single most important element in creating a hero. 

The hero in my novella, A WARRIOR'S VOICE, is Native American, a bad boy turned around by service in the Army. He had to leave the service before he planned due to a life-changing injury in battle. I want my readers to care about him, to fall in love with him, but I don't want it to be pity because of his injury. I want readers to love his heart and soul. So I turn to this chapter. Here are some tips from chapter 3.

...the romantic hero's interior and exterior epiphany is tied to his romantic relationship with the heroine.
It is not enough that the hero is charming as he moves through the plot--he must be three-dimensional, as well. There has to be some psychological or emotional reversal in his psyche that gives your hero true depth of character. 
...something dramatic must change within his mind, heart or soul so that the plot--which, up until the moment of the hero's epiphany, was going in one direction--is permanently altered and begins moving in a different, more satisfying direction. 

I'll leave you with these delectable tie bits, while I finish studying this chapter.

Writing The Great American Romance Novel
More books from my Writers How To/Craft Bookshelf.


  1. I definitely have to connect emotionally with the hero (and heroine) when I read a story. The hero can even be a jerk as long as he undergoes that pivotal change. In fact, I love flawed characters the best.

    Wonderful to hear of your progress on the novella. I really need to delve back into mine!

    I remember taking a trip on an old train when I visited Virginia City many years ago. Very cool old town!

  2. Hi Mae, I'm usually too easy on my heroes. Even in this novella, the hero "used to be a bad boy" but now he's more mellow. I need to get in his head and see what's really going on there. I think he's trying to cover up PTSD.

    The next chapter in this book is about the Romance Heroine.

    This weekend I'll work some on my novella, and some on the revisions for A DADDY FOR LUKE, between watering the big trees and landscaping. It's been chilly this week but we're expecting temps over 100 this weekend. Wish I had A/C.