by Becky Wade
What’s the matter with the following passage?
‘As Daniel strode from his office building towards his car he glanced upward at the cumulus clouds flowing languorously across the sky. Sunshine poured over him like a benediction. What a lovely afternoon!
When he reached his car, he sat within for a few moments, thankful for spring and thankful that he’d just patched things up with Laura. He understood exactly how he’d hurt her. Now that he’d apologized, he could enjoy the rest of his day with a clear conscience.’
Anyone out there attempting to write a romantic plotline? While a likable heroine is critically important, I believe that the hero (and thus the hero’s point of view) is the true lynchpin of any love story.
Personally, I read and adore romance novels because of him. Because of the guy who steals my heart, fills me with tenderness, and makes my pulse pound. Every time I pick up a book, I hope for a hero who will sweep me off my feet. But I’ve found that this magic can only happen if the hero sounds, acts, and thinks like a real man.
Therein lies the challenge. How can a female author write a ‘real’ man instead of a man who sounds/acts/thinks like a woman?
I’m going to address some of the pitfalls I attempt to avoid whenever I’m inside my hero’s point of view. I’ll use the passage above as an example of what not to do.
Problem #1 with passage: The big words. ‘Benediction’ and ‘languorously’ are words most men would never think while walking from their office to their cars (unless they’re scholars, linguists, or authors).
Problem #2: ‘What a lovely afternoon!’ and ‘thankful for spring’ and ‘enjoy the rest of his day’ are gushy and upbeat in a very feminine way. My heroes drive trucks. They’re masculine and blunt. They wouldn’t think in flowery phrases.
Problem #3: Daniel notices girly details. Men are not as observant as women. (Consider the difficulty the men in your life encounter whenever they’re searching for something!) Unless he’s a meteorologist or pilot, a man who notes ‘cumulus clouds’ won’t ring true.
Problem #4: The hero is overly in touch with Laura’s feelings. ‘He understood exactly how he’d hurt her’ is a sentiment that has perhaps never entered the head of a tough guy since the dawn of time. Men tend to be perplexed, confused, surprised, and just plain stupefied by the emotions of women.
I’m hoping some of ACFW’s male members are reading this. Do you gentlemen have any advice for female authors trying hard to write authentic heroes? I’d love to hear your insight!
Becky Wade makes her home in Dallas, Texas with her husband, three children, and one adoring (and adored) cavalier spaniel. Her first inspirational contemporary romance, My Stubborn Heart, has just been released by Bethany House.