Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Searching for the Perfect Hero

Searching For the Perfect Hero

Woo hoo! We’re searching for the perfect hero, and I had no idea there was such a specimen out there. Well, ladies, there really isn’t. We think we’ve found him, but when we take him home with us, he turns into a toad. Oh well, just some of the time. The rest of the time he’s our hero. Smile. Or, it could be us since we want to take a good man and make him better. Grin.

Enough of real life, I’m talking about finding the perfect hero for my stories. Does he have to be handsome? No. His appearance does have to stand out, but he doesn’t have to be a pretty boy. He can have a chiseled face with a cleft chin, strong cheek bones, high forehead or any number of things that make him more rugged looking, think Sean Connery versus Roger Moore.

For my story I want a flawed hero (aren’t they all) who can grow and become better (with the help of the heroine). For those men out there reading this the heroine has to grow, too, and learn to accept all those warts on her man knowing she’s not perfect either. The flaws in the hero can be numerous, it can be caused by something in his past, or something in the present. As a writer, I focus on the one flaw that will keep the hero and heroine apart. It’s usually something internal, inside the hero. The external happenings will keep them together, and this is where a man has a chance to be a real hero.

The hero could have gone through a divorce, and he’s cynical when it comes to women, or the L word. The hero may be a hero in real life because he saved his comrades in battle, but he doesn’t think he is. Maybe, he thinks he should have been the one to die, he could have nightmares, or he may have gotten a ‘Dear John’ while he was fighting a war. These are just examples because there are many other reasons why a hero can be flawed.

The hero has to face these demons and come out a stronger man with the help of the heroine. Usually, he becomes stronger because the heroine needs him, and although she’s a strong woman she can not always save herself.

For those of you who say this sounds like a villain, too, it can work either way, but there must be something more warped in the man for him to be the bad guy. I do not like to make my villain redeemable, or he could be the hero. There is real evil out there and my villain is going to be evil. Oops, I’m digressing again.

My hero is a take charge kind of guy, and he needs a very strong heroine or he’ll walk right over her. He can be tender at moments, but he doesn’t take kindly to tears because they make him uncomfortable, and then he thinks she’s using him. Heroes can come from all walks of life, and you put them in the right situation they will be brave.

I call my personal hero, His Ronness, a title he received from a neighbor and it stuck. My man may be stubborn and arrogant at times, but the softer side of him will always win me over.


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Beppie Harrison said...

Well, Sandy, you've got me thinking. It's interesting -- I think that while the details of what each of us think of as making up a hero may well be different in terms of appearance and individual idiosyncrasies, I believe you've nailed it in terms of what we believe has to be inside. Funny that real human beings (male variety) usually don't have all those virtues!

Of course, most of us (i.e. females) wouldn't quite measure up to what we write as heroines, either. Life is frustrating.

Rita St. Claire said...

Yes, Sandy, I agree with Beppie. You've written an interesting short piece on heroes that has sparked me to think about this issue more deeply.

You've nailed the hero and given me something to think about both as I edit my own manuscripts and read others' books. I'm going to try to notice what good authors do to make their heros flawed (and heroic) in more specific ways.

Maybe I'll even take notes and go back to them later to see if there is a consistent pattern across authors.

Jill James said...

I love a flawed hero, but not too flawed. LOL If he has too much angst I don't feel the heroine can save him, and maybe he is not worth saving until he pulls himself together a little better. A particular historical romance author wrote heroes so downtrodden I felt like when you go fishing and say, "Nope, too little, throw him back."

Sandy said...


I know you are right that we all have different ideas of what a hero is like. Men and women like to think of themselves better than they sometimes are. Grin. And then there are situations where we are better than usual.

Thanks for stopping by, Beppie.


Sandy said...

Thanks for stopping by, and I'm glad you learned something here.


Sandy said...

Oh, Jill, I got a chuckle from your comment about fish being too little and throwing them back. I don't want a hero who is into self-pity or too arrogant either.

Thanks for commenting.


Z(Aasiyah/Nolwynn) said...

Lovely post, Sandy. In between two laughs, you got me thinking too. A hero is a hero because he's out-of-this-world, or because he is a regular guy thrown into extraordinary circumstances?

Yes, they do turn into toads, but then, it's to us, the real-life heroines, to kiss them and make them princes again *wink*



Sandy said...

Hey, Z, thanks for your comment. Oh, I agree it's up to us to turn them into princes again when they become toads. lol


Linda LaRoque said...

Loved your post, Sandy. And so true. If we have a perfect hero and heroine, we don't have a story.

I have to add, I can't stand those pretty boy heroes.


Chiron said...

So true, Sandy!

What makes a personal hero? For me it's someone you can count on. And within every flawed hero is a core of integrity that the heroine senses and helps to bring out.

I loved your post!


Sandy said...

Thanks, Linda. I, too, don't like those pretty boys. Although, I must admit I used to drool over Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan.

Thank you, Chiron. I agree with you that the hero's integrity is very important.

Thanks for stopping by everyone.

Lots of smiles,


Z(Aasiyah/Nolwynn) said...

Hey, Pierce Brosnan is handsome but not a pretty boy!

Check out Gossip Girl for pretty lads! Or the soaps!

Chiron, can't agree more. The core of integrity at the heart of the hero is what makes him worthy.



Sandy said...

Z, you're so right Pierce isn't just a pretty boy, he can be very rugged looking at times. He's a very handsome man.


Christine London said...

I have to say I agree with Chiron. It is what the hero does at the end of the day, when no one is watching or judging that makes the man. Integrity is such a universally sought after component of a stellar hero, yet so often missing in the real world. SO when our flawed man chooses what is right, what is difficult, what makes the world a better place no matter the personal consequences...we can't help but love him.

Thanks for the post, Sandy.

Christine London

Sandy said...


Thank you for stopping by and reading my post. Chiron does have an excellent point. Smile!


Wendi said...

Sandy, I'm sorry I'm so late to the party! Great blog post. And yes, it does have me sitting back and taking a look at my current hero.

Wendi Darlin

Sandy said...


It's better late than not at all. lol

I'm glad you like my post on heroes. If you follow some of the other articles you'll learn even more.


Donna Marie Rogers said...

Sandy, I finally made it in! LOL

I actually prefer it when the heroine has trust/committment issues, and the hero works his sexy butt off to win her over. ;-)

Sandy said...

LOL Glad you made it, Donna. Persistence pays off. Grin.

So your heroes are just sexy? Hmm. Well, that's a start.

Donna Marie Rogers said...

No, not 'just' sexy...but it helps. LOL I just prefer it when the hero pursues the heroine, not vice versa. ;-) Nothing is sexier than a man who knows what he wants, and will stop at nothing till he gets it.

Sandy said...


Your idea of a hero fits my husband perfectly. I kept running, but he finally caught me. I just couldn't resist. Grin.

Angela Guillaume said...


I finally manage to read this! Sorry for the delay... This post made me smile. I kept trying to think of my hero turning into a toad :-D. I do love alpha with a heart, though!

wonderful blog, Sandy.

Sandy said...

Thank you, Nat.

My hero can turn into a toad when he wants to. lol I let him know, too. Grin.