Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wednesday Wonderings: What Makes A Leading Man

As a writer of romance, there are a few must-have factors: a girl, a boy and falling in love. For my books at least. It can be a mix of any two people that the writer feels inclined to have do the dance of love.

I love to read romance novels, to experience over and over again the first blossom of love with characters I have grown to care about. (Actually, I am in the middle of one such blossom and eager to devour more *cough* Rain, write more *cough*). 

In my movie choices I’m not such a softie. I prefer explosions and gore and chainsaw-wielding maniacs. There is something that I can’t connect with in romance movies they way I can with books. Maybe it’s because I’m a writer first and everything else second. To be a good writer, we have to be a great readers. And so if books were food, I’d be clinically obese.

To get to my point, what is the one thing that holds any romance novel together? The deciding factor that will make or break your opinion of the book? To me (and probably a lot of other women) it’s the leading man.

So What Makes A Leading Man?

When it comes to men, everyone is different. But let’s not get confused between love and lust. For lust, the tastes aren’t so different. Give a girl something pretty to look at and we’re happy. But to make us fall in love...that takes some work, and some serious writing skill. Because at the end of the day, that is what we are asking our readers to do – fall in love. There aren’t many romance picture books, to give you a glossy image of the hunk gracing the pages. There aren’t movie clips to see how they move or sound bites to hear them whisper sweet nothings to the heroine.

For me simple things can make the romance turn sour. Saying the leading man has a hairy chest, or too in touch with his feminine side, or seriously arrogant, can be a turn off. So how can writers keep everyone happy?

In short...they can’t. Because we don’t come from a cookie cutter mould with pre-fixed settings on who pushes the right buttons. What we can do is try our best to make the romance as real as possible and our hunks as dreamy as dreamy can be.



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