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Friday, 31 January 2014

Giving romance heroes a say




Having read The Rescued Heart, a friend made an interesting comment. “I could see why she fell in love with him,” she said. “The way you described him, he was gorgeous. But I couldn’t see why he was attracted to her when she was middle-aged and insecure.”

In The Rescued Heart, the hero is an artist, accustomed to looking beyond the surface. However, my friend's comment made me think. As a romance author, I fall a little in love with each of my heroes despite his flaws, and I hope my readers do the same. Therefore I endeavour to get under the skin of my heroine, and I describe the characters’ shared journey from her point of view. Although my heroine takes centre stage, naturally she spends more time reacting to her man’s admirable or infuriating behaviour than reflecting on her own good and bad points. (Like all of us, she is oblivious to her own flaws).


Perhaps it is time to give my heroes more of a say.

9 comments:

  1. Very interesting discussion, Madeleine. But do you think we concentrate on the heroines more because we are mostly writing for women readers or because we are women, hence feeling the love for a hero? If a man writes a story, on whom do they concentrate?

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    1. Good point, Andy. There is a distinction, but the two approaches reinforce each other. As a woman author I feel more comfortable imagining myself in my heroine's skin, but I assume most readers also identify with the heroine. Madeleine

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  2. I love writing from a male pov. I find it freeing. I raised two sons, with the football and wrestling teams in and out of our home all the time. I was one of the first women to work in manufacturing at Mack Trucks. I have 28 years machine shop experience, so I know how men think and grumble and talk. Writing from their pov is so much fun and if I could I'd probably write an entire romance from the male mind. As a reader, I prefer the male characters over the female every time--and isn't that our job as romance writers? To make the reader fall a little in love with the man in our stories. Because of my preference, I have to work hard to keep my books half female and half male pov.

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    1. What an unusual career, Vonnie, and a great resource for a romance writer. Madeleine

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  3. I rather like the male pov too. sometimes I think I have that down better than the female's although I do try to stick to the 1/2 and 1/2 structure. I think some stories lend themselves better to one or the other, though. Good post.

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    1. I agree with you, Barbara, that some stories lend themselves better to being told from a male or female point of view. As an author, I have my own ideas at the outset, but sometimes a character takes over and a minor thread of the story develops into a major one. Madeleine

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  4. Like Vonnie, I grew up with men, worked with men, even gave birth to a couple of them, but I prefer the woman's POV and have more patience with her. I try to make sure there are enough flaws to go around and I do the (mostly) half and half structure when I write, too. But it's the women I write for, feel for (more), and identify with. Good discussion.

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  5. Madeleine, like you I find I have to fall in love with my heroes or I find it hard to make it believable for my heroine. I like reading the woman's POV, but most of my romantic suspense books are written from both points of view so that readers get an idea of what the hero sees in heroine. But writing from the male POV can be tough. Like some of the others I spent my career working around lots of men and it gave me a good idea of their motivations, but sometimes, like even with my heroines, they just do what those male characters do just what THEY want to do.

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    1. Liz and Rebecca, I agree it would be a dull world if we only ever heard one side of the story, like family life would be dull without our exasperating menfolk. My romances do include both POV, although the split was more two thirds / one third than half and half. That's just the way it happened in those books and that's what I felt comfortable with. I'll see how my current work in progress turns out.

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