Mr. Darcy. What’s your response to that name? If you’re a woman, you’re probably fanning your hot little cheeks right about now. And if you’re of the male persuasion, there’s likely a magnificent scowl you’re trying to hide because it makes you angry you’re jealous of a fictional character. Why the reaction?
Because Regency era heroes evoke a response. What’s up with that? A few reasons . . .
Let’s be honest. Who wouldn’t rather feast their eyes on a fella in a well-tailored dress coat and breaches instead of a wannabe punk strutting around with their pants sagging down to their knees? If it’s true that clothing makes the man, then indeed, Regency males trump today’s styles.
Okay, so maybe I’m waxing a bit romantic with this one, but there’s no denying the social norms and customs were way stricter a few hundred years ago. Even though feminists may cringe at a door being opened for them, most women I know (men too) like to be treated specially.
The all-out manly testosterone.
Men did what men wanted to do in the way they wanted to do it. Granted, they had to stay within the realm of propriety, but take-charge kind of men earn both male and female respect.
Of course, it’s not a given that all Regency heroes must be gentlemen. In my recent release, I penned a rough and tumble law keeper who still managed to make the heroine swoon. I came up with the idea when I stumbled across on old London newspaper advertisement from the late 1700’s. The ad encouraged the public to send a note to Bow Street as soon as any serious crime occurred so “a set of brave fellows could immediately be dispatched in pursuit of the villains.”
I wondered about those “brave fellows” and what kind of villains they might come up against, and thus was born Nicholas Brentwood—a hero who’s a little rough around the edges, colorful as a Dickens character, and observant enough to be a forerunner of Sherlock. Shameless plug: check out BRENTWOOD’S WARD for more of Nicholas Brentwood.
The thing about heroes, though, is that most are too good to be true. The best are unpredictable, someone who’s not necessarily safe to be around but always has his loved one’s interests at heart—a man who will put his head on the chopping block to save them if need be. But that’s just one aspect of a great hero. Here are a few others . . .
Top 5 Ways to Create a Swoon Worthy Hero
Perfect characters make readers want to punch them in the head. Nobody is flawless, so make sure your super stud isn’t either. This can be something as small as an inability to balance a checkbook, or maybe it’s a fear. Indiana Jones was afraid of snakes but that didn’t make him any less heroic.
Yo, buddy. Step a little closer. I’ve got a juicy secret to tell you. Are you leaning toward the screen? That’s because you want to know what I’ve got hidden. Secrets are like big, plump nightcrawlers wriggling on a hook, irresistible to literary fish. Heroes with a secret reel in a reader.
Everybody wants something. A brand-spanking-new Tesla. A mutton lettuce tomato sandwich. The stupid hangnail on your thumb to go away. Your hero wants something as well, or at least he should. Make that clear to your reader.
I’m not talking six-pack abs here, though I’m certainly not opposed to them. Think about what sweet skills your hero possesses, then play them up. Is he a crazy freak with nunchucks? Can he hit a raccoon in the eyeball with a slingshot from fifty yards away? Or maybe he’s got x-ray vision and can see into people’s souls. Whatever. Give your hero something to work with and showcase that strength.
Don’t panic. I’m not taking this to the Fifty Shades of Gray bad place. I just want to point out that in real life, no one admires a wuss. A compelling character needs a cause about which he’s passionate, usually one that involves justice. Not that he’s got to be a protest-sign waving hippie. Just give him an issue he cares deeply about.
There you have it. Incorporate these traits into the crafting of your next hero and you’ll have readers begging for more.
And see if you can match wits with my recent hero as he tracks down a dangerous criminal in BRENTWOOD’S WARD.
There’s none better than NICHOLAS BRENTWOOD at catching the felons who ravage London’s streets, and there’s nothing he loves more than seeing justice carried out—but this time he’s met his match. Beautiful and beguiling EMILY PAYNE is more treacherous than a city full of miscreants and thugs, for she’s a thief of the highest order . . . she’s stolen his heart.
Available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook formats at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine booksellers.
About the Author
Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She seeks to glorify God in all that she writes—except for that graffiti phase she went through as a teenager. Follow her adventures at her blog WRITER OFF THE LEASH or visit michellegriep.com, and don’t forget the usual haunts of Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter.
A QUESTION FOR YOU:
Who is one of your all-time favorite literary heroes?
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