The Romantic Hero

The Romantic Hero


In this post, we look at one of the lead characters of a category romance, the romantic hero, and give you tips for writing about him.

This post is based on a section of our romance writing course: This Kiss. It is about the hero you will find in romance stories.

We recently wrote a post about The Romantic Heroine. This post is about The Romantic Hero in a genre/category romance.

The Romantic Hero

The hero is the reason women read category romance novels. They want the vicarious thrill of falling in love with a strong, rich, handsome man.

There are some stereotypes (don’t cringe!) that actually work for this character:

  1. He should have a strong name.
  2. He should be good-looking – rugged at worst.
  3. He is tall.
  4. He is independently wealthy.
  5. He is in control.
  6. He is intrinsically lonely – this allows the relationship to develop.

Even though you are creating an established type, remember that your hero must have some flaws that can be explained by his backstory. He needs redeeming qualities and traits. He is somebody readers can fall in love with.

Suggested reading: All About The Romance Writing Genre

There are three archetypical heroes found in genre romance:

The Alpha Hero

According to Harlequin: ‘Alpha heroes are strong, dominant, aggressive, and very masculine. These heroes can be arrogant and used to getting their own way, but the right heroine will bring an alpha to his knees!’

  1. He is powerful, independent, a ruler. He is larger than life.
  2. He is strong, masculine, and overwhelmingly attractive.
  3. He has all the trappings of wealth, power, and glamour.
  4. He is tormented by demons in his past.

Examples: Edward Lewis from Pretty Woman; Rick Blaine from Casablanca; Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice; Jack Trainer from Working Girl; John Thornton from North And South.

The Beta Hero

According To Harlequin: ‘Beta heroes are less flashy than their alpha counterparts, beta heroes are dependable, sweet and easy going. These nice guys definitely don’t finish last.’

  1. He is kinder and gentler, but no less self-sufficient. He is more real.
  2. He is the good looking boy-next-door, who is comfortable in his own skin.
  3. He is the king of his own castle, with his own business. He is secure.
  4. He is easy going, confident, relaxed, and focused on the future.

Examples: Mark Darcy in Bridget Jones’s Diary; Colin Bridgerton in Romancing Mister Bridgerton; Leo Hathaway in Married By Morning; Noah Calhoun in The Notebook

The Gamma Hero

  1. He has qualities of both the beta/alpha hero, but with a maverick edge.
  2. He has quirky looks and idiosyncrasies that make him unique.
  3. He is at home in different environments. He wins and loses with the same attitude.
  4. He goes with flow, doesn’t show pain easily, and lives for the moment.

Example: Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind; Michael Stirling in When He Was Wicked

Suggested reading: What Romance Writers Can Learn From Watching Bridgerton

Exercises:

  1. Write a brief description of your hero in the form of a newspaper or magazine profile. (Age, looks, career, achievements, marital status etc.). You can also create a Facebook page for him.
    1. Which archetype does he fit?
    2. What does he look like? Find a picture that is similar to your idea for your hero.
  2. What is your hero’s goal in the story? He must want to achieve something – other than a relationship with your heroine. What is it? Write a scene that explores his goal.

The Last Word

Decide which romantic hero is right for your writing style and for the type of romance you are writing.

  1. Sign up for our romance writing course: This Kiss
  2. Use our Character Creation Kit to help you create great characters for your stories.

 by Amanda Patterson
© Amanda Patterson

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Suggested Posts On Romance Writing:

  1. All About The Romance Writing Genre
  2. The Almost Moment Is The Secret To Successful Romance Writing
  3. 5 Ways To Write A Modern Romance With A Classic Twist
  4. Why I Write Romance
  5. 20 Things To Remember When Writing Category Romance
  6. The Romantic Heroine
  7. The 4 Pillars Of Romance
  8. What Romance Writers Can Learn From Watching Bridgerton

TOP TIP: Use our Character Creation Kit to help you create great characters for your stories.