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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Hero Material

Heroes come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.

As a little girl I used to think heroes were men with muscles. They were tall and good looking, and very, very strong.

Now, as an adult, as well as a writer, I know better.

For me, heroes are not necessarily good looking, although that certainly helps. They don't have to be muscle-bound either, but I wouldn't knock it back.

And they certainly don't have to be tall, but I do prefer my man to be taller than me.

As someone who has been married to the same man for nearly 37 years, a hero is something altogether different for me.

He's someone who thinks about the heroine (or his partner) more than himself. He puts her first and makes her his first priority.

He is not selfish, and doesn't make decisions, especially life-changing or life-altering decisions without her input.

He is sensitive to her needs and emotions, and doesn't try to upset her. Toxic relationships just don't do it for me.

Instead he protects her, keeps her safe when necessary, and listens to what she has to say.

In today's society, I believe a true hero also needs to be a 'new-age' guy. Someone who is prepared to help with the housework and cooking, and spend time with his kids.

He would even be a stay-at-home dad if the need arises.

And he certainly won't baulk if she is earning more than him, making her the bread-winner instead.

There's way to much of 'disposable relationships' these days. Most women like stability, and like to know their man will be around for a long time.

To support each other through the ups and downs, the hard times, as well as the good. Men who show their emotions are my type of guy. I don't want a wooden man, I want to know he really means what he says.

I try to relate all these things to my romance novels, to give you the best darned hero I can.

Now that you know what I believe makes a hero, I'd love to hear what it means for you.

Cheryl Wright

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Anonymous said...

I think there are more important characteristics than looks when it comes to making a great hero. I fall for all different types of heroes in stories. They really stand out to me when they are unique.

User1123 AT comcast DOT net

Na said...

A hero to me isn't perfect. He makes mistakes and he has weaknesses and vulnerabilities like everyone else. He can be redeemed. What he does have is determination, integrity and heart. These are things he can apply in all aspects of life and be successful. Whether he is a "bad" guy who lies to protect and kill to save, or he's good guy who risks his life. Each hero has his own special traits but he's not afraid to use it to his advantage.

Cheryl Wright said...

Stacie, you are absolutely right. It's interesting to me that a lot of authors put a great deal of focus on the looks of their characters.

I rarely do that because I want my readers to visualize the characters. That means by describing them blow-by-blow, you don't get to conjure up your own image of the characters.

But by giving you less vivid details, you get to imagine your own delicious hero.

And isn't that half the fun?

Cheryl Wright said...

Na, I totally agree.

Men aren't perfect - far from it.

I love that television show "Monk". He is the ultimate hero, despite the fact he can be so totally annoying!

In Saving Emma, my hero (Gary) has several flaws. His biggest flaw is not telling Emma the truth about himself.

He's a good guy, but at the same time is a bad boy hero.

Michelle Somers said...

Hi Cheryl

I agree 110% about heroes being more than about their looks.

I am a true believer of the old adage, 'beauty is only skin deep'. If the hero has no beauty on the inside, all the tan, muscles and deep, ocean green eyes in the world hold no attraction for me.

However, having said that, if he comes in the complete package, mega-hot looks with a great personality, I wouldn't say 'no'!

Thanks for the great blog!

Michelle Somers

Cheryl Wright said...

Hey Michelle, thanks for stopping by.

Yes, completely agree!

There's no point having a hot, hot, hot hero if he's vain, and doesn't give a rats about the hero.

In my opinion, he's not a hero at all if he's like that.

Raewyn Bright said...

Hi Cheryl,

What a beautifully written post and I have to agree, the qualities in a hero should be more than skin deep.

But I have no problem with a hero or heroine who is hot, vain and uncaring - at the start of their journey, or perhaps on the surface. I love to see the angst and suffering of a hero and heroine when they take a deep look at themselves and don't really like what they see. Then their journey to redemption and growth starts. I think sometimes that can be more powerful than a hero who is already mostly there.
Without that growth though, there are many four letter words to describe them - and hero is not one of them.

Like you said, men aren't perfect and as a reader I love to see their myriad of flaws.

Thanks for the great post Cheryl,keep writing,


shiderly77 said...

My hero is a man who does the right thing even when its hard, who pays the bills on time, who gives me the last of the money for groceries without making me feel horrible. My hero is my husband! lol

Cheryl Wright said...

Raewyn, I've read books like that too, and it put me off totally.

I've also read a lot of books where the characters have ended up at exactly the same place they started.

Like you, I prefer to watch the growth of the characters. I want to see them progress over time, and learn to be less selfish, think about the other person more, and realise they're not the only one in the relationship.

Cheryl Wright said...

Shiderly, heroes come in many forms. A man who does everything for selfish reasons definitely isn't a hero in my eyes either.

One book I read, many years ago, began with the hero berating the heroine in a crowded room.

He was almost screaming at her, telling her she had no right to be there and to leave.

That set him up as the villian in my eyes, and when I discovered he was supposed to be the hero, the book became what I call a wallbanger.

(Worthy to throw at a wall, and nothing more. LOL)

JohnF said...

Silverlock is a great read...the hero doesn't start out as one, but develops into one based on the choices he makes during the quest he undertakes.

Cheryl Wright said...

Hi John, that sounds like a great hero.

Choices definitely determine whether or not a person is viewed as a hero or heroine.

Thanks for stopping by.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Cheryl,
Great blog. I agree heroes shouldn't be perfect. I know we write fiction but there has to be some realism in it to make it believable.


Serena said...

Hi Cheryl,
I agree, looks aren't everything but there is a certain fantasy element where if he's as good to look at as he makes us feel, well it's icing on the cake :)
Great blog


Cheryl Wright said...

Absolutely agree, Margaret. Who wants cardboard cut-outs anyway?

Perfect characters are definitely not realistic.

Thanks for stopping by.

Cheryl Wright said...

Men who are easy on the eye are certainly a bonus, but as we know, looks aren't everything. But they definitely help. LOL

Thanks for stopping by.