Saturday, May 13, 2017

Looking for a Hero #MFRWauthor #writing #characters

 Blogging is an opportunity for authors to connect with readers. Despite being writers, blogging is an entirely different style of writing and often stumps us. To help our authors blog consistently, thoughtfully and with purpose, Marketing for Romance Writers is announcing the 2017 Blog Challenge. Each week, authors use our writing prompt to create a meaningful blog post. We'll be posting every Friday... join us as often as possible.

Week 18: "The Ideal Romance Hero"

When I think of the ideal romance hero, I imagine a man who is flawed or in need of redemption. Isn't that the perfect hero for a woman to rescue? There's more...brave, honorable, loyal, and funny. He needs to make me laugh. Very important. What else? He doesn't necessarily need to be handsome. I know, most women look for Mr. Tall, Dark and Sexy, but I look for more than a person's face to make them attractive. Intelligence is far sexier. That's not to say that I don't mind a good-looking guy. I'm just pointing out that its not necessarily a priority.

Let me give you some examples of what I think of as a romance hero. I'll use characters from movies and television as examples, since those are the ones that most people can easily relate to.

Han Solo 
Movie: Star Wars (Episodes 4, 5, 6 ,7)
Occupation: Smuggler
Portrayed by Harrison Ford
This man has been my hero since I was a child. I fell in love with this scruffy-looking Nerfherder right alongside Princess Leia. When he first met Luke Skywalker, Han was all about making a profit to save his hide from Jabba. It was a long road of redemption for this guy as with each turn, he thought about his own welfare before anyone else. But, it was difficult not to fall in love with the charming and witty rogue even when the rational side of your brain keeps telling you that he's not the type of guy for a decent girl. That doesn't stop Princess Leia from nudging Han and encouraging him (in her own sassy and sarcastic way, of course) to be a better man. By the end, this roguish hero redeems himself by returning to rescue Luke right when he needs help, thereby saving the galaxy from the evil Empire. And, that's just the first episode. In my opinion, Han has more developmental growth than any other character in these movies.

Indiana Jones
Movie: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom; 
Indiana Jones and the Lost Ark; 
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade 
Occupation: Professor and Archaeologist 
Portrayed by Harrison Ford
You might think I have a thing for Harrison Ford (and, really, you're not wrong), but its just a fact that when I think of heroes, these are the first two that pop into my brain. I grew up wanting to be an archaeologist because of this guy. He's probably one of the inspirations for my love of history and learning languages. Indy is a lot of things. Brave, intelligent, resourceful, quick-witted, loyal and with a sense of humor and humility. He's a tweed-jacket wearing professor as well as a whip-cracking adventurer. But, he's also a man with faults. He doesn't always have the answers. He makes mistakes. Misjudges people and distances (as when he tries to jump across a chasm). He has a strained relationship with his father. He falls kinda easily for a pretty face, and on the same note, he's not a decent fellow at first to any of the ladies of his acquaintance. He's stubborn and materialistic (think fortune and glory). And, he hates snakes. Really, Jock. He hates 'em. Even Reggie. In each movie, the character development grows as Indy learns about his place in the world, his abilities, his strengths and weaknesses, and his relationships with those close to him, whether its Marion, Marcus or his father which makes falling in love with this guy inevitable.

The Doctor
TV series: Doctor Who
Occupation: Time Lord
Currently portrayed by Peter Capaldi 
Ah, the Doctor! I have a few memories of Tom Baker with his incredibly long, multi-colored scarf from my childhood, but I didn't become a true Whovian until the reboot starring Christopher Eccleston. Each regeneration brings different qualities to the character but in essence, The Doctor is mysterious, adventurous, brave, extremely intelligent, eccentric, and compassionate. He's also rude, arrogant, cowardly, ruthless and selfish. He is full of hope and regret. He is both fun and terrifying. Throughout it all, his companions are what help him become a better person. He needs them. He can barely survive without them. It's proven in a few episodes that when he travels alone for too long he becomes rash, judgemental, wild and reckless. He needs someone to hold him back, like when Rose stops him from killing the Dalek in the 6th episode of the reboot. And, he also needs someone to push him in the right direction as Donna did in "The Fires of Pompeii" when she asked him to save at least one family from Volcano Day. He's the kind of guy that a girl would dream of going on any adventure with, but he'll keep her on her toes! There's very little down-time with the Doctor. Instead, there's running. An outrageous amount of running involved.

Nathan Drake
Video Game: The Uncharted Series
Occupation: Treasure Hunter
Voiced by Nolan North
I know I said I'd restrict this to movie and television shows, but I just had to include Nathan Drake in my list of heroes. I've never actually played the game (my husband did), but I watched it like it was a movie, especially all those wonderful cut scenes. Nathan Drake is another lovable adventurer (maybe I have type?) with an incredible sense of humor and sharp wit. He's fun, easy-going and charming. A bit roguish and rough around the edgings but in a boyishly adorable sort of way. As with any other well-drawn character, Nathan Drake has his flaws, too. He's had a rough childhood with only his brother to help him guide him to adulthood. He's a thief, a liar, and a miscreant. He's an extremely human character by making many mistakes in his adventures. His sarcasm is rather legendary. And he has an unhealthy obsession with treasure that leads him into unending trouble. However, he's loyal and extremely protective of those people he deems close to him such as Sully, Elena and his brother, Sam.       

Sam and Dean Winchester
TV Show: Supernatural
Occupation: Hunters
Portrayed by Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles
I admit, I might be slightly obsessed with Supernatural in more ways than one and maybe I'll delve further into that obsession with a future blog post. Today, however, I'll try to limit my views on the main characters as romantic heroes. These two have been to Hell and back, literally. After their mother was murdered by a demon, their father kept them traveling throughout their childhood as he hunted the thing that killed their mother. Dean was taught to protect his brother, Sam, at all cost, a trait that continues into his adulthood. As adults, Sam and Dean continue their father's work and hunt the supernatural monsters that people don't know exist in this world thereby saving lives by sacrificing themselves. They are brave, loyal, trustworthy, resourceful, and strong. They're both gifted with a sense of humor that keeps the show light and fun-loving even during the darker moments. However, their lives are not exactly filled with black and white. They wade through several shades of gray as they determine who is good and who is evil, which isn't always easy. They make mistakes and sometimes need to make tough choices that aren't always right. They lie, steal and impersonate FBI agents to get to the monsters. They kill and torture and sometimes innocents are sacrificed or caught in the crossfire. And despite all the good they do, all the people they save, they suffer from guilt and regret for those they've lost. These are the kind of guys that you just want to hug close to your heart and keep them safe from the evil they expose themselves to.

Want some more heroes? 

Captain Malcolm Reynolds in Firefly
John Crichton in Farscape
Barnabas Collins in Dark Shadows
Tony Stark in Iron Man
Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock
Rick O'Connell in The Mummy
Captain Jack Sparrow in The Pirates of the Caribbean

What qualities do you look for in an ideal hero? Can you suggest any heroes that readers should either watch or read? I'd love to discover more heroes to add to my list!

Be sure to visit the posts for the MFRW's Blog Challenge!

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