Or is he the good natured boy next door, caught up in circumstances beyond his control?
Your hero matters. A lot. He is the man you hope will loom large in your readers’ fantasies. Heroes certainly loom large in my imagination, not only because I must create the perfect hero for a specific story, but because I write the kind of man I’m attracted to. The kind of man who, dare I say it… turns me on.
My preferred hero is most assuredly an Alpha male, but he’s a good/bad boy, never a brute. He may have a tortured or checkered past, but his chest holds a caring heart, whereas a brute is a brute is a brute.
A hero knows what he wants, but he doesn’t resort to cheating, lying or force to get it – unless he must to protect those he cares about. He respects his chosen mate, he doesn’t demean her – or if he does, he damn well better apologize. He’s kind to women, children, animals and all those for whom he’s responsible. But…you don’t mess with a hero or with the people he loves. If you do, he’ll make you pay.
This is the good/bad boy dichotomy; he’s an Alpha male who can tenderly hold an infant in his arms, yet beat a villain to a bloody pulp should the need arise. It’s this dichotomy, this contradiction, that we, as authors, must capture.
A hero can even be unappealing, providing he is redeemed as the story unfolds, either by his own actions and insights, or by his love for the heroine and her love for him.
Tomorrow – why the heroine matters.