Saturday, March 6, 2010

Are We Being Fair?

The hero in my last novella was not perfect. I don't mean he was wounded or flawed emotionally. I mean, physically, he was a man pushing forty and comfortable in his own weathered skin.

I can't tell you how many drafts I did trying to figure out Rhys Vincent's character. All I know is that one day I looked at Rhys and figured out that at his age, he wasn't built like a slim-hipped twenty something and never had been. He played college ball and had the banged up physique to prove it. He was very solidly built. Just like any good line-backer--you know, the guy on the field that has to assess what's going on in an instant and take care of business. A little thicker in the neck, waist, ummm, you get what I mean. That was Rhys.

And for this story, Head Over Heels, I found that sexier than any model-pretty male I'd ever drooled over since adolescence. Which of course, made me start to wonder if we're being fair to our heroes.

If you've been reading romance as long as I have you can remember when the only heroines you could find were willowy beauties with flowing blonde/black/red locks and perfect figures. And don't forget the perfect teeth/smile. I always found that one a little odd, considering what must have passed for dental hygiene in medieval times--but I digress.

I realize that we write fiction. We want to imagine a handsome man falling in love with our heroine, who is definitely not perfect. But have we gone too far?

What do you think?


Assassin's Kiss
5 Stars Just Erotic Romance Reviews
5 Blue Ribbons Romance Junkies
4 Stars Romantic Times Reviews


Jaime Samms said...

As a writer, I for one, don't do alpha males, so much. I write m/m, and mostly, my guys are betas. And flawed, yes. Sometimes pysically. I'm working on a story now with a near-blind hero, and one with a skinny, emotionally and otherwise battered almost-thirty hero with a lot of scars. Perfect doesn't do much for me. I understand the (in my genre) yaoi ideal of willowy thin and beautiful bottoms and the alpha muscular tops, but I don't write it so much, and it can get boring to read.

As for reading, I like angst. I like emotionally damaged characters searching for the love and understanding from a lover that will give them a safe place to heal and find themselves again.

Physical beauty isn't all it's cracked up to be, I don't think.

Paris said...

I love diversity and some of my favorite characters are the ones the world tends to overlook. Beta heroes with interesting stories are very satisfying reads for me. I've read some wonderful m/m stories and I already like your heroes. Please let me know when the story becomes available;-)

Savanna Kougar said...

Hi Paris, I think whenever there's a trend it always goes too far.
I remember reading the romances where the heroine was generally this young thing/beauty/virginal and the hero was older and didn't have to be 'perfect' as far as the pretty boy, or six-pack man. Or even his character.

I have to say for me, personally, angst or over-angsty, doesn't do it. "I'm sick of the so-called 'flawed' hero as much as I'm soooo over and never did like the whole 'pretty boy' model thing. Perfection doesn't do it, and neither does the other side of the coin.

I like what I call real women and real men, no matter what type of fantasy/paranormal genre I'm writing in, no matter the world I'm building. No matter if their physical appearance is gorgeous or different or 'not perfect' ~ whatever perfect is???
What happened to 'real'? What happened to strong? What happened to plain ole grit?

Paris said...

I think any character that is portrayed well by the author ceases to be the sum of his/her physical parts. I write the stories the character's demand. I seldom "see" the character in the flesh until I have his emotional life in place, whether or not he has any baggage.

I remember the romances you're talking about because they were some of the first that I read. I was considerably younger then and the same angst that appealed to me then, no longer holds any allure.

Real characters will always attract me these days;-)

Serena Shay said...

Let me say first that Rhys sound yummy in all of his solidly built glory!

As both a reader and a writer, I love my alpha heros. Though to me, that quality doesn't equate to perfect model looks. A true alpha comes from the inside. Many times during the writing process, I have to go back and make sure I've acurately descibed my hero, because I tend to focus more on the

Besides, my earthy heroines would start to feel a touch inadequate always sleeping with someone that much prettier than they are. ;)

Great blog, Paris!

Paris said...

Thanks, I'm glad you think Rhys sounds yummy! I think heroes come in all sizes, just like heroines and I'm happy to see so many like-minded opinions;-)

April Ash said...

Perfect men aren't "real"...can't relate to them. Flaws are needed, and being older means flaws...but still yummy guys!

Paris said...

That's my take on the subject as well;-)

Savanna Kougar said...

Paris, I made a return trip because I forgot to say what Serena did... your hero sounds 'perfect' for who he is and for his heroine.
I like your whole concept of him!

Paris said...

Thank you, sweetie;-)glad you like him!

Sandy said...

When my hubby was in his 40's he still had the skinny butt, long legs, broad shoulders and no pouch. lol

I want real, too, Paris.

Paris said...

LOL! I think it helps to realize that from our perspectives we realize that forty isn't old but the mature physique isn't what gets advertised the most;-)thanks for stopping by!

Crystal Kauffman said...

I agree that real is awesome. He doesn't have to be angsty to have problems-everyone has problems. I do like strong men who, regardless of the beginning, come through in the end with an act of heroism. As far as alphas go, I think they're overdone. You'd think all heroes have to be alpha!