As a writer there's one thing you must possess, and that's an imagination. Without it there's no possible way to create. And I admit, I've got a pretty wild one. Have you ever read a book and become so attached to the main character you couldn't put the book down? Were you so addicted you couldn't wait for the next edition? After all it's the characters that make the story. Seriously, stop and consider this for a moment. Yeah, okay, I know that the plot has to have consistency and be able to withstand the scrutiny, dialogue is another important part, a cast of supportive characters are also vital and a good secret helps. But without a strong hero you're done. Whether he's the shy insecure type, bold and sharp-tongued or just plain dreamy, your hero has to make his mark. His personality has to attract - snag the reader and keep them yearning for more.
What defines a hero? I suppose some of the more obvious things would be his physical characteristics like a specific look or clothing. Perhaps his racial heritage or occupation, and what about his accent/dialogue or maybe his personality? Is it a combination of everything I just listed or is it a feeling that he gives the reader? Having asked those questions I'm prompted to ask another. Is there a standard guideline to follow when creating a hero? Sure if you're in the comic book biz because in that case everything's visual. I believe a hero is defined more by his actions than anything else. Yes, okay, it's a romantic outlook but for thousands of novels on the market, it rings true. And here's an example of one hero that isn't what you'd classify as the norm. Frodo Baggins (Lord of The Rings) is an unlikely hero who is forced to battle against overwhelming odds. He's short and hairy, and not exactly a sexual knock-out. He lacks in every department, in yet he still manages to defeat Sauron - and we're all routing for him. Frodo comes from a set of novels considered to be classic literature. Wow! Either Mr. Tolkien was a raving lunatic or a silent genius! The whole concept of an average guy, Frodo, being the hero worked.
I've created a wide variety of leading men and each is indicative to his role. I don't want your run-of-the-mill hero, I want a real man - someone unique, someone that will assure my novel stands out.
Reeve S. Taylor is one of the leading men in Devotion. A character that was loosely based on a fellow I knew once and he's also my fantasy cowboy. Sarcastic and laid-back with a large heart, Reeve is everyone's friend and easy to fall in love with. He was pertinent to the story and exactly what Slade (his lover) needed. Slade would've never survived if Reeve was a mousy or weak man.
I figure when you create your story your main character(s) - especially if there's more than one, should compliment one another and even opposites work well. If one is introverted the other should be extroverted. If one is liar the other should be honest. Having two characters of a similar disposition just wouldn't work and oh how boring! The hero(s) have to work in conjunction and add credence to the plot or you're dead in the water.
From 'Master of Illusion' my latest leading man is, Sloan Whelan - a homicide investigator turned bounty hunter with a twisted past. He's also a reformed smoker who relentlessly chews gum. He suffers from necrophobia, dislikes cemeteries and has a delicate gag reflex. Aside from his strange array of fears, he's also promiscuous and refuses to commit to the women he sleeps with. I made him grumpy, but I've also given him a soft spot for the underdog and he helps numerous people throughout the books, even at risk of his own life. I wanted to do something a little different with Sloan, since his character is straight, I figured what the hell and I added an attractive man (a slave) that he can't seem to resist. This is where I allowed Sloan to evolve. Over time he ends up falling for the slave, Vale. The odd pairing and romantic interest was beneficial to the story. The chemistry between the two men is perfect. Vale gives Sloan a smooth edge. In return Sloan gives Vale courage and strength.
In 'The Fallen' I've got three characters, this time it's a love triangle. Cristian and Aurelius are angels, and Myles is their sacrificial lamb (so to speak). This story is a novella and will be appearing @ RLJ as a serial and free read this spring. The story revolves more around Cristian and Aurelius. These two have been lovers dating back centuries. And when they're cast back to earth their love is put to the test. I don't want to say too much, you'll just have to read it! LOL Cristian is kind of evil and Aurelius is good. Aurelius stumbles across a young human man, Myles. Myles falls for the beautiful angel and unfortunately Aurelius develops feeling for Myles. Cristian is taken over by jealousy and well…I'll leave it at that! Cristian is what I call a Dark Angel - dark flesh and features, rather mysterious with an ominous presence. Aurelius is an angel of light with qualities to match. This story has a good versus evil scenario so of course my leading men were blatant opposites but equal powers. Myles is the weak third wheel.
Near as I can tell and since I've gained a little wisdom via my experience, I can say that your leading man has to have charisma, even if it's subtle like Frodo or bold like Reeve. You have to mix and match, moulding your character to the story and the story to suit him. Never be afraid to challenge yourself, to create someone totally different. There aren't any set rules and there aren't any boundaries. This is your imagination we're talking about and the sky's the limit! Why can't your hero have an evil side - a sour disposition? Does everything have to be tidy? Is there a script? No! Do as you see fit and if you find enjoyment in your hero so will your readers!
Tomorrow the erotic author from Down Under, Jacqueline George will be @ BRB! Can't wait to post the interview with this lady! And on Feb 25th Edward Kendrick will be posting solo - so awesome! On Feb 26th I'll be posting @ Keta Diablo's blog 'Erotic versus Porn'. Also on the 26th Rawiya/Michael Mandrake will debut @ BRB! Can't wait to see what she's got for us! And that's it for this week. Have a great night!
Happy Yaoi Hunting ^_^!!