Tuesday, June 19, 2012

20 Tips for Writing Lovable Romance Novel Heroes with Adrienne deWolfe

 Today we are delighted to welcome fiction instructor, book writing coach and author, Adrienne deWolfe to Seekerville. Give her a big Seekerville welcome!
Readers of Romance novels want their heroes to be role models or larger than life.

Romance novels are fantasies, and the reader wants to escape into a world where she can experience the thrill of falling in love with a man who, in real life, might be the tiniest bit too scary to date because he’s so bold, handsome, sophisticated, powerful, witty, rich . . . You get the idea!

Perfect people make boring characters. The essence of all fiction is conflict; that’s why Romance novel editors often advise aspiring authors, “Sparks have to fly between your hero and heroine!”
When your Romance characters first meet, they are going to be antagonists. (Surprise!) Your job is to develop the relationship slowly so that the reader can believe that these two antagonists are falling in love.

A hero needs more than brawn to satisfy your reading audience. In fact, in polls conducted by Romance Writers of America, readers often rank intelligence and humor as the top two traits that they prefer in their Romance heroes. On a scale of 1 to 10, “physical attractiveness” often ranks dead last!

So how do you strike that elusive balance between brain and brawn, sass and class, emotional caring and physical chemistry, that will make a reader fall in love with your novel’s hero?

I’ll help you jump-start your creativity with these

“20 Tips for Writing Lovable Romance Novel Heroes:”

1. You let him embrace new challenges or activities. (Example: For the heroine’s sake, he attends the season’s opening night performance of the local symphony, even though the reader knows the hero would rather be country western dancing at the state Rodeo.)

2. You prove that he’ll be a good caretaker. (Example: He romps through the park with a puppy.)

3. You reveal his protective nature in a positive light. (Example: He chides his 17-year-old niece for sneaking out of the house to attend a neighborhood party where there are no adult chaperones.)

4. You give him an optimistic outlook. (Example: When everyone else is grumbling about the weather, he whistles to himself, pleased to think that he’ll soon have new flowers growing in his garden.)

5. You continually reveal his deepening admiration, respect, and love for the heroine. (Example: The first time the hero meets the heroine, he thinks her physical appearance is plain. As he grows to care about her, he can’t imagine why he didn’t see her beauty before.)

6. You make him act with kindness and compassion toward his staff or the working classes. (Example: He gives his secretary time off, with plane fare, to visit her ailing mother.)

7. You challenge his integrity, and he comes out smelling like a rose. (Example: He has the option to fib about his age in a dating chat-room. Instead, he reluctantly tells the truth and wins a date with the heroine.)

8. You produce evidence that he is well-liked and well-respected by his colleagues, subordinates, family, friends, etc. (Example: his nieces claim that he gives the best “horsie” rides.)

9. You give him a social cause that women can respect. (Example: he plants trees to help “green” the neighborhood.)

10. You make his rival grudgingly acknowledge one of his positive traits or talents. (Example: Mr. Rival admits that the hero is too honest for his own good.)

11. You reveal his resourcefulness, especially in stressful situations. (Example: The heroine drops her keys down the grate and is frantic about getting to the airport on time. Mr. Corporate Lawyer hot-wires her car.)

12. You give him a drop-dead gorgeous smile that makes up for thinning hair or an over sized nose.

13. You show that he respects women. (Examples: He is especially careful to teach his daughters to love and respect their bodies; he encourages his lady friends to stretch their wings when they’re afraid of taking business risks.)

14. You paint him as generous. (Example: He surrenders the last piece of cherry pie to his sister’s bratty kid.)

15. You show that he can keep a secret. (Example: At a party, the heroine professes that she baked the lasagna herself; he furtively peels the Deli price tag from the bottom of the dish.)

16. You create a small but endearing idiosyncrasy for him. (Example: his junk drawer contains a mysterious, three-inch stack of chewing gum wrappers bound by a rubber band.)

17. You show that he’s conscientious. (Example: Even though he has driven half way to work, he turns the car around because he remembers that he forgot to feed the dog.)

18. You make him classy and sophisticated, capable of mingling with aplomb in almost any crowd. (Example: Despite his New York accent and his Wall Street hair cut, he has no trouble making friends at the Cajun Crawfish Boil.)

19. You reveal his tolerance for other characters’ faults or idiosyncrasies. (Example: He chivalrously walks his eccentric neighbor home in the dark, because she claims that she’s afraid of low-flying bats.)

20. You make him grow as a character, and therefore, as a man. (Example: At the beginning of the novel, he was intolerant of the heroine’s overprotective mother. By the end of the novel, they are chatting cozily over coffee – much to the heroine’s bemusement.)

Adrienne deWolfe is a fiction instructor and a book writing coach. Her five historical Romance novels have earned 9 writing awards, including "The Best Historical Romance of the Year," and have been nominated for two Rita Awards by Romance Writers of America. Her website, WritingNovelsThatSell.com offers numerous writing resources for aspiring authors, including her free report, “20 Questions Editors Ask Before Buying Your Book,” which you can download. Adrienne enjoys mentoring aspiring authors through manuscript critiques and professional coaching. For help with your fiction-writing, check out Adrienne's online course, "How to Write Novels That Sell" and her fiction writing workshops. You can also follow Adrienne on Twitter, Google +, and Facebook.

Today Seekerville is giving away a Seeker current release book of choice to one commenter in honor of Adrienne's visit to Seekerville

Just share how you use these tips in your manuscript or if you're a reader share how you've seen these great tips used in books you've read. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.

And feel free to ask Adrienne any questions you have about applying these tips!


  1. Yeah Yeah, I got a lot of these in my current hero. Printing this off!

  2. I've been married seventeen years and I still can't imagine chatting with my mother-in-law over coffee (or tea, in my mother-in-law's case) unless there are other people around.

    This is a wonderful list. And, like Melissa, I'll be printing it off. However, I have one question about it. Do you have a similar one for heroines?

  3. Yay! Feeling good about my hero right about now. I can see how to improve him too. Thanks for the great list, Adrienne!

  4. Welcome to Seekerville, Adrienne!

    I love, love this list. It makes me smile. Just planning things for my hero to do to show off how wonderful he is.

    Walt is right. We need a female version of this list.

  5. Let's try that again, LOL.

    Welcome to Seekerville, Adrienne!
    This is a great list. I'm a shameless hero junkie which is why I write them and gobble them up as a reader. I see the "save the cat" in a few places on your list more creatively, and having the enemy/rival grudgingly tout the hero is awesome.
    I like to also give them a moment or decision where the hero "gets stupid" (flirt with someone not-the-heroine or otherwise "fail" at being the hero) because I find it adds tremendous depth and authenticity to my heroes when done well.

    And again, the timeliness of Seekerville baffles the mind, because today I decided that from now on, my blog is going to be strictly for reviewing and discussing fictional heroes and unite fellow hero-junkies. =)

  6. A good list to consider as I poke at the first couple chapters of a new novel. I wonder how Spencer looks to the reader now? Hmm.

  7. Tina, the idea of a heroine list came to me only because I tend to focus more upon the heroine. (No surprise there, I guess. :-) )


    Someone got a new profile picture and I love it!!! (Nancy Kimball)

  9. Yes, we are timeless. And we read your mind, Nancy. Adrienne was scheduled six weeks ago. LOL.

  10. Oh man, these are SO TRUE!!!

    I remember my first contest entry the judge said the hero wasn't likeable. I thought she was crazy. I mean, he was handsome and hot. What else do we need, right??

    She was so right. This list is awesome.

    WALT, can't you just switch them around?

  11. P.S. I remember someone saying to make the hero lovable we can have someone else love them, preferable a child or an animal.

    'Cause kids and dogs have great instincts.

  12. Virginia, I will sleep on that and postulate in the morning. However, I will make a list of the 20 and then try to see how it would work anyway.

  13. Now you are bringing back memories, Virginia. It was author Elizabeth Sinclair who gently told me in one of my first contests that my hero was unlikable, and a drunk too.

  14. What's wrong with a drunk hero? Hasn't anyone seen True Grit? LOL
    And thank you Tina! I wanted to look really good on the screens in Dallas, haha.
    Walt, I relate. I have a tougher time writing a good heroine, and I'm a girl!

  15. Walt, go have coffee with your mother in law for heaven's sake. It's TIME!!!

  16. Hey Walt number one for the heroine would be easy instead of the hero going to the symphony the heroine could go to a say ball game with the hero when she would rather be at the ballet
    (me I would take the ball game especially if the ball game was actually cricket).

    I have to say having the hero suffer through opera, ballet etc would endear him to me. I am really not into those arts.

    In a recent book the hero got a new dog Oscar a big lab from the animal shelter. Seems the dog had a habit of stealing food and a few other issues. but the hero was not taking him back even if others wanted him to he was going to get help to train both the dog and him. (Him to not leave food unattended). It was quite endearing. When the heroine had been locked up for a crime she didn't do and identified with the dog being locked up wondering if it would find a home.

  17. Mum had one of those mother in laws who resented her for marrying dad cos he then stopped sending her money. She lost her cash cow so to speak and blamed mum for that. They never really got on. Mum vowed she would never be that sort of mother in law and made sure to be supportive of her DIL and have a good relationship. They do she even calls mum, Mum which I still find strange but my SIL asked if she could.

  18. Adrienne, this is point-blank makes absolute perfect sense stuff.

    Awesome! Thank you for being here in Seekerville, for hanging with us! Love the examples, and I'm here to bring fresh coffee to the table...

    and Bagels. With trimmings. Onions, tuna, lox, shrimp, mayo, butter, a selection of jams from the local Amish farm, and several varieties of flavored cream cheese...


    Nancy, I am a professed hero junkie too! How Emily Dickinson of us!


    "There's a pair of us, don't tell!"

  19. First, have any of us met Walt's MIL???

    Just wondering out loud.


    Second, Nancy, LOVE THE PIC!!!! SUHWEEEET!

    And I think a heroine list would be different because we see women differently. Not the qualities but the way she would do things to make us love her.

    But I agree, if Adrienne has a heroine list, I want it. Desperately.

    I did bring bagels, after all. Oh, and juice.

    It was in the car but it wasn't too hot yet. And it was almost covered so only a few bugs floating.

    Do flies do the backstroke?

  20. Great list! And I love how Walt's comments spark so much conversation. He's great!!

  21. Well Hello there Adrienne!! :):)
    I'm so excited about this post because romance is a FAVORITE for me - and a must- when I'm choosing a novel. LOVED it! Thanx for sharing, some of those tips made laugh out loud!//grin//
    Speaking of which, the question asked was how I've seen these tricks being used in a book? Well, I retained the last one, which I frequently see in romance novels. I'm reading a Short-Straw Bride right now, (REALLY good!! By Karen Witemeyer) and the hero seems to be a hard, work-driven choleric, who is slowly softening as the heroine is taking more place in his life.
    Ah,ya gotta love sweet love!

    Have a GREAT morning Seekerville peeps!! :)


  22. OK. I don't want anyone to think anything is wrong with my MIL. She's a wonderful woman. She loves her grandkids, taught her daughter to cook (huge plus), and has done numerous grandmotherly things over the years which make her endearing. (And she's aging so slowly that I may one day look older than she is. My wife also has this non-aging gene. When my wife and I are in our 70s, she's going to look like she's in her forties. People will see us on the street and think "Wow, he must be rich.")

    However, she and I are totally different people and the thought of sitting with her for coffee has never crossed my mind.

    Having a beer and kicking back with my FIL...that happens all the time.

  23. Oh my goodness, I LOVE this list. Definitely a Keeper!
    The drop-dead gorgeous smile and romping in the park with a puppy, and protecting his neice...oh man, daydreaming material RIGHT HERE!
    Love it!

  24. Hello, Everyone!

    Thank you for your wonderful feedback on my post, "20 Tips for Writing Lovable Romance Novel Heroes."

    Based on your commentary, I would be happy to submit a post to Seekerville, re: “20 tips for Writing Strong Woman Characters that Readers Can Admire,” which has been a hot topic in my course, "How to Right Romance Novels that Sell.”

    Until then, here's a mini tip: Imagine that your reader wants to experience the vicarious thrill of falling in love with your hero. That means, your reader must be able to identify with, appreciate, and like the heroine so much, that the reader doesn't mind "living in the skin" (or the persona) of the female character that you create.

    No character should ever be wholly white — lily white personas are boring. It is perfectly acceptable to give your heroine an “edge” — in my debut novel, Texas Outlaw (eReader version coming in July), the heroine is a lady train robber! The reason she won awards is the same reason that Scarlett O'Hara was so popular: these strong, woman characters were clearly motivated in all of their actions, both the redeeming and the not so redeeming. As readers, we may not like what they do in the storyline, but the author has clearly defined why these women behave the way they are behaving. Therefore, as readers, we can understand why they, for instance, rob a train.

    In any characterization challenge, the goal is to make your characters complex and compelling. "Compelling" keeps your reader turning pages.

    I hope this small tidbit of advice helps!

    Come visit me on my own website, http://WritingNovelsThatSell.com, for more posts about novel writing and resources to help with fiction.

    Wishing you every success,

    Adrienne deWolfe

  25. Walt I may not be married but I relate to the having a coffee comment.
    I dont drink tea or coffee (Pity help anyone who comes here wanting one cos unless they bring there own they will be disappointed.)

    When I had an incident in the bookshop with a customer who was distressed and needed help never occurred to me to offer them a coffee. I did ring someone to come help. It did lead to some changes with phone numbers of who to ring for help and we had some training. When a similar situation was discussed half the ladies said sit them down and offer them a tea and coffee to help calm them down. As I dont drink either I never think to offer it.

  26. Adrienne, that would be a great list to have. (Still working on what I think it might be.) One of my biggest challenges in writing is making the heroine identifiable to the reader.

  27. Good morning Adrienne and welcome to Seekerville.

    What a super list. Love it. Love that you offer lessons for writers. Where were you when we started????

    Love the heroes so Nancy- I'll join- smile

    Thanks for the bagels Ruthy. yummmm

  28. Welcome to Seekerville, Adrienne. Great list of traits for my hero to absorb.

    Somehow I can't see my current hero chatting amiably with ANY of my heroine's relatives, but hey, that gives me something else to angst over, LOL!

  29. Good morning Adrienne and welcome to Seekerville!

    Thank you for the list.

    Although neither my husband nor my hero would have coffee with their mother in laws, I agree with character growth.

    Ruthy? Onions and tuna on bagels? Too much for this southern girl. How 'bout biscuits and gravy? And what is lox?

  30. Adrienne, love the Scarlett comparison.

    You're so right. The hard part is making the motivation, strong and real so we are endeared to the hero and heroine.

  31. Yes, I copied this post too!

    Totally agree with Walt.

    I knew there was a reason for the dachshund puppy in my book.

    Peace, Julie

  32. Welcome to Seekerville, Adrienne!! Thanks for the terrific list of ways to endear our heroes to readers.

    The hero in my wip helps care for the heroine's dying father. And keeps a secret so he passed #2 and
    #15. He's overboard protective with the risk-taker heroine but with good reason. Lots of those characteristics you list--the strengths--when overdone become weaknesses, but that makes growth all the more fun.

    Congrats on your success with wearing all those hats! I'm impressed.

    I brought apple fritters for breakfast. No time to cook, but they're delicious! I choose to ignore the calories.


  33. "Although neither my husband nor my hero would have coffee with their mother in laws, I agree with character growth."

    Snuck that one in there didn't you, Bridgett!!! LOL

  34. One of my heroes comes home at night after not having anything to eat all day and gives his last bit of food w/his mangy mutt.

    Great list Adrienne.
    My current hero needs some likeabilitly (is that a word?) added to his character.


  35. Welcome to Seekerville!!!

    Virginia - I think that's a Ruthy thing, but not sure.

    My hero has taken in his orphaned niece/nephews. He even likes them. Mostly ;).

    This list is definitely a printer offer keeper!

  36. Welcome to Seekerville Adrienne! Another keeper post for me today--I needed these tips as a reminder to keep close by. Now I'm seeing I need to go back and make some changes in my WIP (especially since my hero is waaay too handsome, LOL). Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo

  37. I'm just sitting her trying to image my cowboys romping in the park with a puppy.

    YOu know, this could work. I don't think I've had a pet dog. John Wayne had a pet dog in one book. It tended to go for people's throats.

    Which comes in handy.

  38. The ROMPING might not be put exactly like that though. I'll come up with a monosyllablic cowboy version of romping. I'll try not to have him get his spurs tangled together.

  39. Romping cowboys.

    How about cowboys who help little old ladies across the street?

  40. Mary - I can't see Tom Linscott or Silas or Clay McClellan romping with a dog.

    Red maybe. Maybe Seth. But not most of your cowboys... :D

  41. My books mostly have no streets. Nor are there very many little old ladies. These are great. I can explore all these.
    Right now I'm in the middle of a deadly measles outbreak in a Kiowa village, but as soon as that's done, definitely, little old ladies.

  42. But Carol, can you see one of those men saying to his dog, "Tear his throat out!"

    cuz that's sort of warm and fuzzy if the villain really needs his throat torn out.

  43. Ruthy, there's three of us now! (Thank you, Sandra. =)
    The more wounded the better. The more stubborn the better. And so true what Adrienne says. What's hot in a hero isn't how he looks. What many novels have already proved and my WIP in critique right now is living up to. My heroine is blind so the reader never knows what my hero actually looks like. It's been pretty fun. =)

  44. Mary, exactly! I get all warm and fuzzy when the hero is protecting!
    But my best warm and fuzzy is when he's protecting the heroine from himself. =)

  45. Great tips Adrienne. Love your last name, by the way. :)

    Jodie Wolfe

  46. Adrienne, great post!

    (Ashamed to admit) I don't think I have any of those qualities for my hero at this point in my WIP. But that's what horrible first drafts are for right??? (crickets chirping in the distance)

    Any who...I will definitely be adding some in. Thanks for the tips!

    BTW...my husband would absolutely have coffee with his MIL. He treats her like his own mother...and I have been known to be a bit jealous of it at times.

    I know...I need help...any offers???

  47. Adrienne definitely has a romance writer name!!

  48. Love this list, Adrienne! I'll definitely be keeping these tips in mind while working on my wip. It's book 2 in a series, and the hero was the "bad boy" of book 1, so I need to show his gradual change as he leaves the old ways behind and comes into his true "heroic" nature.

    And I know it's possible because Mary has done this--quite well, in fact!

    Oh, and what's this about little old ladies, Mary??? I seem to recall one in particular. THAT YOU KILLED OFF!!!!

  49. Myra, honey, if my elderly Myra had walked across the street in The Bossy Bridegroom, my hero at that point would have probably run her down. He was a bad boy, and not in a good way.

  50. Tina wrote:

    “Adrienne definitely has a romance writer name!!”

    Yes, indeed, she does; however, when she visits your home, how could you possibly summons up the willpower not to say,

    “deWolfe’s at the door.”

    See: I couldn’t resist.

    You want a loveable heroine from the male POV?

    That’s easy:

    Create your heroine so that she truly ‘understands’ the hero while enthusiastically supporting his efforts to achieve that which is most important to him and doing all this with a look in her eys that says, loudly and clearly, “You’re my hero”.

    Do that and, as a reader, I’ll be vicariously shopping for a ring. (Of course, this may not endear her to female readers.)

    Got to go.

    While deadlines are safer than live lines, they can still be deadly.


    P.S. This was a excellent ‘keeper’ post. Thanks, Adrienne.

  51. Ya'll are cracking me up about the mother-in-law thing. Remember: YOU ARE WRITING FICTION! ::Snicker::

    P.S. My hero in TEXAS WILDCAT gave the heroine a puppy. He also buried the heroine's coonhound after it died. That scene had my editor in tears. (Not that I recommend putting your editor in tears . . . )

    Anyway, the moral of this story is, cowboys can and do have dogs!


    Adrienne deWolfe
    (Who should know, because she lives in Texas)

  52. RE: "deWolfe's at the door!"

    LOL, Vince & Tina!!I confess, that's a new one for me! (Usually I get cracks like, "deWolfe? You mean like, de Bears?)

    Yes, I have family in Chicago.

    More hugs,
    Adrienne deWolfe

  53. Oh, you're so right, Adrienne! As a native Texan and sister to a "real" cowboy, I can attest that they are never far from their dogs.

  54. Vince!!!! Are you on deadline?????

  55. Okay, Adrienne, I've fallen in love with your hero already, and I don't even know his name :)

    I like heroes to have a flaw they need to overcome. There's nothing like a man heading full tilt down a path to destruction who comes to his senses and is able to change direction. Think of Han Solo - we would always love the rogue, anyway, but when he comes back to save Luke? He shoots into hero status.

    The heroine is harder, I think. We want our reader to identify with the heroine, but so often we women tend to see other women as rivals.

    Why else do we often have rocky relationships with our MIL's?

    (My MIL is fantastic, by the way, but we were married more than 25 years before I could call her by her first name. I just didn't call her anything - and then I named my heroine after her.)

    I've signed up for your newsletter, Adrienne, and am on my way to the website!

    And Mary Connealy - there has to be a little old lady in that Kiowa village that your hero can do something kind to, right? Just don't name her Myra.

  56. Vince and Mary are making me snort and laugh out loud - my coworkers are looking at me like i'm nuts. so much for a quick, discreet, peek at Seekerville during lunch break...

    this post is AWESOME!!!!!

  57. Jan said: "And Mary Connealy - there has to be a little old lady in that Kiowa village that your hero can do something kind to, right? Just don't name her Myra."

    No kidding, Jan! I am holding out for heroine status. Ruthy already promised me. If I leave it to Mary, I'll probably end up the owner of a nursing home with lots of incontinent patients.

  58. Great list, Adrienne!

    I think women are always a sucker for a man who loves animals and kids. And if he treats his mother well, bonus points for sure!

    One of my heroes looked after the heroine when she was down with the flu (another big bonus point). It was big for her because her mother died when she was ten, had a mean father, and no one had done anything for her since!

    Another of my heroes bought my heroine a lame foal that her daddy was about to put down - just to save her the heartache of watching the baby die.

    Love moments like that!

    Great topic!

    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

  59. >>Tina Radcliffe said... Romping cowboys.

    How about cowboys who help little old ladies across the street?<<

    Okay, gotta share this about a cowboy helping something across the street ...

    When I first moved out here, I was driving on a two-lane highway one day and saw a pickup pulled over. That was noteworthy because there's no shoulder, just a bit of dirt before you're in a ditch. I slowed down. Then, just around a bend in the road, I noticed a guy wearing boots, jeans, chambray shirt, gloves and hat standing in the middle of the road, waving both arms at me. I figured stock had gotten through a fence ahead, and appreciated the warning. I stopped. Then he sat on his heels and picked up something ... a huge red-eared slider turtle. The guy strode across the road and even carried the turtle across the ditch and nudged it under the fence near a tank (pond). At that point, he stood up, dusted his gloves, and strolled back to his truck.

    And then there was the guy who brought an early calf into a newly-remodeled kitchen to keep it warm. He claimed it was all about the money invested in the critter. I'm sure that was part of the reason for his concern ;-)

    I never did think to ask him how the mama cow felt about him adopting her baby ...

    Nancy C

  60. This is story fodder, Nancy!!!!

    If you don't use it I WILL! ha!

  61. I agree, the heroine is so difficult because she is already part us. So naturally we want her perfect..LIKE US!! Of course that means Mary shoots husbands.

  62. Oh my gosh, I'm majorly excited. Except for keeping a secret, my hero fills the list. A secret ... a secret ... oh, wait. Yeah, he didn't love his first wife. Hmm. Or is that a flaw?

    Now to go back to the other two stories and hold my heroes up to this criteria. I have a feeling they'll need some fine-tuning.

    I would appreciate the men-folk telling us what they like in a heroine ... doesn't need to be a romance.

    Thanks, Adrienne, for a great "print it off" post.

    So enjoying the conversation :-)

    Nancy C

  63. >>Tina Radcliffe said...
    This is story fodder, Nancy!!!!
    If you don't use it I WILL! ha!<<

    Please write it before Mary C does something with the idea and has the guy shoot the turtle for being in his way or eating the fish in the tank :-)

    Nancy K -- that is a great picture!

    Nancy C

  64. I love the turtle and the early calf stories! It's so touching to watch a big, burly cowboy turn tender-hearted over a sickly or helpless creature.

    In that same spirit — well, sort of — here's a true story from my sister in Chicago.

    During the middle of the afternoon, a line of cars was starting to grow in the middle of the street. Several drivers had climbed out of their cars – keeping the doors open to further delay traffic – and were playing traffic cop, demanding that newcomers stop their cars.

    Apparently, a mother duck and her six wayward ducklings were trying to cross a train track. But one of the babies had gotten stuck between the rails. And yes, the train was coming.

    According to my sister (who was laughing hysterically when she told me this tale), her husband dared to step into the rattling, vibrating tracks and rescue the baby duck, shooing the rest of the quaking brood all safely to the other side of the tracks.

    Unfortunately, while performing these heroics, my brother-in-law dropped his cell phone -- and the train PULVERIZED IT!

    Moral of the story?

    No good deed goes unpunished!

    (PLEASE. Oh please! someone has to incorporate this story into a novel, because I am forbidden ON PAIN OF DEATH to immortalize my brother-in-law in fiction.)


    She Who Shall Not Be Named

  65. Hi Adrienne! I too would be interested in the list for heroines. Because sometimes it's almost easier to embue the hero with these traits. Ladies know what they like or dream about and paint their heros as such. But as to what makes a great heroine? A little harder.

  66. Adrienne,
    What great info!!! I'm headed to your website to check it out.

    So glad you could be with us in Seekerville today. Congrats on your writing success!! Thanks for sharing your tips with us.

  67. Nancy C's turtle story reminds me of the construction worker I saw by the lake that runs behind our house. He had found a large turtle on the road and returned it to the water's edge.

    I told him he was a good man. :)

    Never thought of adding his act of kindness to one of my stories.

    LOL!!! Lots of returned turtles will appear in future romances written by Seekervillagers, no doubt!

  68. Oh, what an excellent story Adrienne! That brings awe to all of us gals.

  69. Haha! You gus are so funny! Ausjenny, love your story about the cash cow. Sometimes bad people make us better people.

    And about ther tender hero--- Love that turtle story!!

    But I have to say, in real life, it can get old. we had tons of baby rabbits for a while and my husband would always recuse the runts. He bought special formula for them and hand-fed the little critters, wiping their bottoms to stimulate the to pee, etc.

    This man hates changing diapers, but he'll wipe bunny buns??

    I got real tired of baby bunnies in the kitchen, Give me real babies any day.

  70. OOO.

    This just popped up in my facebook feed:

    "I think a hero is any person really intent on making this world a better place for all people."

    Maya Angelou

  71. Honestly, I'm married to a cowboy. I've had a calf in my house.

    Yep, super romantic. (NOT)

  72. I remember one morning getting up to go to work. My car is parked in my basement and trust me, that is ALL my basement is fit for, RUSTIC would be a charming word for the black hole that resides beneath my house.

    So, I get in my car and the headlights turn on automatically and what do I see right before me?

    A baby calf standing right in front of the car. My cowboy husband checks in the night during calfing season, especially cold nights and he's found a little newborn, soaking wet, and brought it inside. It was quite a shock. If that calf would've been a mouse I'd have gone crazy with fear but a calf? one hundred times bigger than a mouse? No problem.

    ps, the whole and entire goal is always to reunite the calf and cow. They live in the basement the shortest time possible because the mama wants her baby and we want to get it back to her before she forgets she had it....which is a surprisingly short time span.

  73. Um, I really had no idea about bunny buns.

    And calfs in basements.

    You gals lead much more interesting lives than I do.

    A geek husband who saves your computer when it crashes can be very romantic.

  74. Tina, I AGREE!!!

    When I think of most romantic things my husband has ever done... transfering the aged computer from one room to another and dealing with ALL THOSE cords comes to mind. I mean, I can do it. I have done it. I just hate it. It makes me frustrated and grumpy and sweaty and I get a tension headache.

    Oh, wait. Now he's looking more selfish. Who'd want to spend the afternoon with me after that?? :D

  75. My husband wrestled with four kids yesterday. After cheating at wii...

    That's about as close as I get ;).

    LOVE the baby duck story!!!!!! /ponders working it into her historical - but before where she's writing now because the hero had a tree fall on him a page and a half ago/

    That's not SHOOTING someone Mary - but can a tree falling from a serious thunderstorm count?

  76. Totally on the flip side -

    I cleaned up puke on my husband's birthday. At 330 in the morning no less.


    That, my friends, is love.

    [I could mention all the times he's done it so I didn't have to, but it's not nearly the problem for him that it is for me. It's literally all I can do not to get sick too.]

  77. Nancy C, thank you. And the turtle story is sweet. I bet we see it a lot too! Here's one my sweet husband did that I didn't fully appreciate at the time.

    He was at a silent auction of high-schoolers artwork and came home with two of the most "waste of money" pieces of art I'd ever seen. I stared at them thinking there is no way those were going anywhere on "my" walls. A small frame of a square design of something I'm still not sure what it was, and a huge watercolor of what was probably supposed to be giraffes. I snapped "What possessed you to bid on those???"

    His answer. "No one else did."

    As the girl on the backstop getting picked last for kickball teams in elementary, I know I don't deserve him. =)

  78. If your husband drives up to the curb while you're waiting in the rain, or better yet, allows himself to get wet because your umbrella is too small for the both of you, that's a sure sign in a long-term marriage that chivalry isn't dead. And I think that old-fashioned chivalry is extremely romantic!

    Sometimes being willing to look at a beloved spouse with fresh eyes, every day, is the greatest romantic gesture of all.

    What do you think?

    Adrienne deWolfe

  79. Wow -- I don't know what was more fun -- reading Adrienne's list or all the comments that followed! Wonderufl 'ah' stories -- yay for turtles and ducklings and calves that have been saved across America!

    My favourite hero trait is being an animal lover. I get over the moon excited when I read about a hero with a dog. Or any animal really. It makes him seem more approachable somehow.

    And I'd love to see a corresponding heroine list.


  80. Walt - good question! And I think there ought to be a whole new list - men and women are different, NOT opposites. The coffee with the mother-in-law thing isn't just a guy issue....

    This is a great list and a good screen for my hero - I'm already working him over. My guy had a lot of these traits but some of them were never "put into words" so to speak. For instance, until today, no one else knew that my 6'1" macho man hero likes cotton candy, preferably blue flavored, whatever that is. I've now turned the discovery of that endearing quality into a delightful scene in the book.

    Thanks again!

  81. Adrienne says:
    Sometimes being willing to look at a beloved spouse with fresh eyes, every day, is the greatest romantic gesture of all.

  82. WELCOME TO SEEKERVILLE, ADRIENNE -- SO great to have you here!! Holy cow, girl, you've got some credits to your name!!

    And, WOW, what a GREAT blog with TONS of great tips!! Man alive, wish I'd had this when I wrote an article on ramping up the sigh factor in our heroes!!

    I LOVE your tip #16 -- a small but endearing idiosyncrasy. I plan to write a Seeker blog on quirks in our characters, so this is my FAVE of all the tips -- SO fun!!

    Right now I am writing a book that takes place in 1902 San Francisco where the big, hulking hero is hired to "escort" the heroine home via cable car on a daily basis after she was mugged ... only problem is, he HATES cable cars and gets sick as a dog on them, which hopefully qualifies as an endearing idiosyncrosy since he braves nausea on behalf of the heroine.

    This blog today is a printer-offer, Adrienne, so THANK YOU!


  83. Just checked back in to find one great story after another.

    Thank you everyone for the smiles!

    Nancy C

  84. Bridg, you have not lived until you've had tuna salad with or without onions on a gently toasted, lightly buttered bagel.

    This, my dear, is food of the gods. Think ambrosia and nectar only better.

    Lox are smoked fish, Yiddish way of serving alongside bagels. Onions are a must with these, we need to get you to NYC at least once. You don't have to eat them, you just have to understand the depth of bagelism in Manhattan and the boroughs.

    Feel free to smear regular cream cheese or butter on yours, darling girl. :)

  85. Okay, Sandra's IN....

    I love the essence of a hero, not his face or his great teeth...

    but the warmth that shines through his smile. The worn look he hides because life did him dirt and he refuses to lie down in it. The way he handles two little boys at Christmas, knowing they have no home to speak of... but he does. And he's ready to risk his heart to make theirs whole.

    I love rugged men who'd done what they must to preserve our freedom and who wonder if they've lost any gentleness they might once have had?

    I love heroines who refuse to be victims even though they've been victimized. And who don't feel the need to explain everything to everyone because that's a waste of time... "Let 'em figure me out" kind of attitude.

    And a great hero takes the time to figure it out, doesn't he?

  86. Clearly Mary's cowboys (or Belle or Abby) will have that turtle skinned, cleaned and in a pot before I hit "Publish your comment"...

    Those women get 'er done!

  87. I love Tina's geek husband...

    But I've had baby animals in here, too. Ya do what ya gotta do. And Dave will deny being soft, but he's saved bunnies, kittens, baby birds and other cute critters...

    But he didn't hesitate to put down the bull that decided Matthew was a soccer ball to be tossed around when Matt was 9 or 10 years old and thought venturing into the cow pen would be fun.

    We got beef.

    Matt lived.


  88. You are so right, Adrienne. We take those sweet gestures for granted over the years. Like picking up dark chocolate during a grocery run!

  89. Nancy K said,his answer. "No one else did."

    Awwww, that's so sweet!

    Wonderful post, I have it printed and stored away!

  90. Thank you, Julie! =) My passion is to help aspiring authors achieve their publishing dream. That's is why I created my website and my blog at http://WritingNovelsThatSell.com

    PS: The way you have described how your hero overcomes physical hardship to protect the heroine on the cable car?

    ABSOLUTE hero material!


  91. Adrienne, if I don't have a chance to pop back in here for a bit, thank you so much for being with us, for sharing your wisdom and fun stories. I'll be in touch for a return visit and HEROINE day!!

  92. Thanks, Tina! I am looking forward to writing the Heroine guest post.

  93. I'm always so bummed I join these conversations late! You guys have so much fun during the day.

    This is an EXCELLENT post! I've struggled sometimes with making my hero likeable to readers (because I know why he's doing things and acting that way, so I can love him through rough patches, but I forget they don't know him like that yet and I need to give glimpes of the wonderful). Printing this out for sure.

    And waiting for the heroine list!!

    Mary - Maybe your cowboy could mosey with a dog instead of romping. That said, I might advise spacing out the time between the measles and little old ladies.
    They're susceptible to getting ill and that wouldn’t endear anyone. :)

    Although...I killed off the old lady in my debut. Whoops.

  94. Having trouble commenting today....enjoyed this post!
    Jackie Smith

  95. Monosyllabic words for Mary's cowboy's dogs:

    Two-syllable words for Mary's cowboys' dogs:

    Hmmm,no romping. Nope. Can't see it!
    Stomping, maybe

  96. I'm a day late to the party, but slipped out of lurking mode to comment. Love the article, love the list of 20.

    I seem to have a difficult time giving my hero flaws...have to push myself. Then I think about my brother...and it's much easier. (g)

    Thanks for sharing your list and your time with us on Seekers.

  97. Thanks, Sandy! Welcome to the party anyway! And yes, brothers can provide wonderful inspiration for villains and hero flaws (LOL!) Bless their hearts.


  98. How wonderful. The heroes that I love best do grow as people. They admit their mistakes & learn from them.


  99. One of my faves to read about in fictional heroes is #19. If he can find something laughable (to me) loveable in the heroine, it's endearing! :)

  100. I love this list. Thanks for sharing.

    My hero is crazy about animals. He can't stand to see an animal hurt. Some people say it's easier to show love to animals than people, but he shows love to both hurting animals and people. With people, it is sometimes emotional hurting.

    Thanks again for the tips.

    Jackie L.

  101. I especially like tip #2 where the hero is a good caretaker. In books I read I like it when the hero/heroine like to take care of each other.