Since I write in a semi-Romance field, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the Romantic Lead lately. What is he supposed to be like? Why is he supposed to be that way?
I’ve read a lot of Romance that touts the Alpha Male. In fact, a lot of writers make their big bucks by writing that same hero over and over again. He’s tall, muscular, agressive, quasi-military (or overtly military)…and knows what his woman wants even if she doesn’t know it herself. (I’m thinking of a couple of authors here who really annoy the fire out of me for consistently writing -that- kind of thing….but I’m not going to name names here.) One Romance writer I’ve read actually has a lot of other male characters in her series novels who fulfill other roles, but when it’s time for -their- romance to be featured, they too morph into the pushy alpha-male, no matter where they were in the pack during others’ stories. As if ‘courtship’ turns them that way.
Weirdly, this sells. It sells millions.
But there are just SO many things about these hero-males that I don’t like.
I have to admit that my books don’t have an Alpha Male. At times I wonder if this is going to cripple my sales. No, I’m not expecting to sell millions of Book 1. But that’s just not the kind of hero I write.
Duilio Ferreira -is- quasi-police, but that’s about where the semblance ends. He’s only an inch or so taller than Oriana, he’s lean, he prefers to avoid killing, and he hasn’t got a clue what’s going on in Oriana’s head. Well, maybe a clue, but he’s not going to press her into any sort of…relationship…because his mother taught him better. By the way, he lives with his mother. (This is expected among unmarried Portuguese guys of that period, so it’s not weird.)
But I think there’s room out there for the hero who’s a moderately nice guy, who doesn’t kill half-a-dozen people without blinking an eyelash (Yes, I’m looking at you, Sebastian St. Cyr), who doesn’t expect the woman to fall in bed with him at the end of the novel.
So what are the worst characteristics in a romantic hero? The ones you find most distasteful?