Fire Eyes in the Dark created The Ultimate Character Sheet. It’s a red link at the bottom of her Writing Aids page. I’m very impressed with the detail this sheet goes into. If you’re looking for a little help getting to know your character this worksheet is for you.
- Cheat on the heroine/hero(M/M) – You would think this was a given, but apparently it isn’t. While the acts of infidelity are usually small, in a romance novel they’re ALWAYS unforgivable. A hero never comes back from that. NOTHING can erase it. Prime example, Cabal from Bengal’s Heart (Breed Series).
He spends years whoring around while he knows she’s suffering without him. YEARS. Cabal knows Cassie cannot bear anyone else’s touch. But he goes on with his life like she doesn’t exist. He even considers getting serious with another girl. Even worse, he does it because he blames her for the actions of her dead husband. It wouldn’t have been so bad if he’d just abandoned her, but no, he leaves her in PAIN while he spends his days screwing every other woman he meets.
- Leave the heroine for her own good – This one really irks me. To make matters worse, it’s usually accompanied by some big misunderstanding. But we’ve already discussed that pitfall.
When the hero abandons the heroine because he wants to protect her or save her from himself, I tune out. My first thought is, Oh no, another soap opera melodrama. I’ve seen this plot scheme a million times. I’m tired of it. It’s lost its appeal—not that it ever had much.
While many authors have used this trite device, I’ll use one that everyone is familiar with, The Twilight Saga. While Edward’s I’m scared I’ll eat you angst was bearable in the first novel, it completely got out of hand in New Moon. Don’t these authors know that heroes who are assertive and go after what they want are so much more appealing?
As much as I love Lora Leigh, she’s really bad about using this one.
- Be a bad/virgin lover – While I’ll admit this one can have some exceptions, 98% of the time it should be a law of nature. These are a romancenovels people, and we like our heroes good in bed. If we wanted to be left unsatisfied or be forced to teach our lovers then we wouldn’t need romance novels, reality would do.
Right now, the only author guilty of this that comes to mind is Sherrilyn Kenyon. Although, I really hate to use her because most of the time she fits into the other 2% that actually make it work. Born of Night is one of her novels that she didn’t do as good of a job with making the inexperienced lover thing work out. While Born of Night is one of my all-time favorite novels, I just couldn’t get comfortable with Nik being such an inexperienced lover. And if I’m being honest, when I fantasize about him I always change that about him. (As a side note, Born of Night is also guilty of #2)
- Be ugly – Shallow, I know, but it’s a fact. He’s the HERO. This means better than the average man. This means that the heroine should find him attractive. I’m not saying he should supermodel hot, but he should be sexually appealing. Women have to want him.
I’m Sorry Phantom of the Opera fans, but I just can’t jump on board with this. When I read books with these horribly disfigured heroes, I just pretend like they’re good looking. I can’t picture them any other way, and I don’t even want to try. I know that’s awful, but it’s the truth.
- Have a small penis – Thankfully, I’ve never seen an author do this, but I don’t want it to become a trend. Heroes should be, at the very least, a millimeter larger than the average man. ALWAYS! NO EXCEPTIONS! They shouldn’t all have monster cocks either, but I’ll take that over the a tinie wenie any day.
- Be perfect – While your hero should be better than the average guy, he shouldn’t be good at everything. He can’t be independently wealthy, good looking, well endowed, extraordinarily fast/strong/intelligent, quick with words, moral, etc. He has to be flawed.
I love paranormal romances. I love my alpha males. But let’s face it, the genre is bad about this. Some of my favorite heroes are guilty of this one—Barrons and Bones. While they may be a little too perfect, they too have their flaws. Bones—jealously. Barrons—lack of morality.
If numbers are to be trusted, it seems that everyone loves Jericho Barrons. In fact, his one measly post has received more hits than all of my other posts put together. When I saw that in my summary tables, I was startled. The post wasn’t even that good. So, I did some digging and it turns out that the reason Barrons has received more hits is because he brings the most traffic to my site.
This is no coincidence, and I’m going to milk it for what it’s worth.
It’s easy for me to understand why so many people are fascinated with Jericho Barrons, because he is my all time favorite hero. Barrons is just so unapologetically male. He is who he is, and he won’t change that. In many ways, he is the perfect alpha hero. So, I’ve decided that every Monday I will analyze a quote about/by Barrons, and use it to point out qualities all alphas should have.
Being touched by Jericho Barrons with kindness makes you feel like you are walking up to the biggest, most savage lion in the jungle, lying down, placing your head it its mouth and, rather than taking your life, it licks you and purrs.
This quote sums up the most important aspects of the alpha male.
First and foremost, your alpha male should be the baddest of the bad. He wins, hands down, and no one ever doubted he would.
Secondly, the unpredictably of his nature. As Mac said, even she is surprised at his tenderness.
Thirdly, and the most important quality, is Barrons effect on everyone else. Its not just that he is a badass, it’s that everyone knows it. It’s not that he’s unpredictable, it’s that his unpredictability is appealing. But most importantly, people are drawn to him, despite it all. It’s the fact that Mac was willing to approach the lion, put herself at his mercy just for the chance to experience his greatness.
You want to write a truly great hero? Then these are qualities you have to aim for.
I found this article, Avoiding The Too Stupid To Live (TSTL) Heroine, and knew I had to share it. I absolutely hate these heroines! They are the reason I get up and turn off a horror flick. Masochism and women do not mix. Females are supposed to be smarter than this. We do not walk into dangerous situations when there are alternatives that don’t involve going face to face with a sociopath–like sending in the hero to check it out. Before you start screaming sexism, I think it’s stupid for men to do it, too, but unlike women, men have higher levels of testosterone and therefore have a believable excuse for this sort of stupidity.