Your romance hero isn’t a football playing king in space…with a mustache

Why, yes.  I did just quote Spongebob there.

I just finished reading a book.  I can’t tell you the title.

The author can write.  The writing itself wasn’t bad, a number of the characters themselves varied from interesting to amusing to fairly likeable.

Except the hero.  He was…a name with a bunch of titles.

Let me explain.

The word counts imposed by the publisher of the line, I think, could have limited her ability to really flesh out the hero, but the problem really started when she tried to give the hero what seemed like every possible trope she could think of.

He was a cowboy.  Of course he was.

He was a genius. Of course he was.

He was a hacker. Of course he was.

He was filthy rich. Of course he was.

There were five other things I can list here that go along with the ‘typical’ tropes you see in a cateogory romance, but I’m trying to be vague here.

Now Mr.Filthy Rich Hacker Genius Cowboy with five other tropes that I’m not going to list is merrily living his life–and happily–until his spunky heroine up and interrupts his well-planned life–of course.  And he realizes this while in the middle some sort of uber-important business thing, but he’s not thinking about business.  He’s thinking of…her wit?  Nope.  Her smile?  Nope.  How much he likes her?  How about how much she just downright drives him CRAZY? Nope.  He comes to this stunning conclusion while thinking about…her body–of course.

But during this time we never really see anything inside this guy. Except when he’s ruminiating about how hot she is.

He has the emotional depth of a rain puddle.

Maybe he never had time to grow feelings while learning how to hack, building his portfolio, roping broncos, saving cute little horsies that wandered far from the range and earning multiple degrees–and noticing the heroine’s cute, pert nipples, goodness me.

Yes, we are all over the place here and I haven’t even touch on the several other tropes that I’m not mentioning.

But there was no room for character development.

Character development is essential.

Being rich doesn’t make a character a hero.

Being a cowboy doesn’t make a character a hero.

Being a genuis doesn’t make a character a hero.

Being a hacker doesn’t make a character a hero.

Sure, we read all about these things in characters we end up loving, but what really draws us to these characters is who they are–not what they are and we can’t find out who they are unless we get to spend time inside their heads, time that doesn’t involve just thinking about sex.

Characters are all that much more appealing if they seem real, after all.  They can’t be real if they’re just a bunch of tags, tropes and titles.

So, there’s my writer two cents for the day.


**Football Playing King in Space… Courtesy of…Spongebob

One Reply to “Your romance hero isn’t a football playing king in space…with a mustache”

  1. You’ve got to give us something to relate to or even just like about the character before we readers can get into the book. I think you got it right there, who you are is way more important. And you know what I really, really hate? The filthy rich thing. It’s so annoying when you can barely afford to buy a book that the hero seems to have a never ending supply of lucre to splash around! Maybe the hero would like to throw some of that cash my way. Sorry I’ll take a deep breath and relaxxxxx

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