Friday, July 15, 2011

Apparently I'm Shallow...But I'm Okay With That.

So I've been reading a lot about character motivations lately and I've come to realize that initially I am a shallow, shallow, gal.  Well, not really because I intend to layer more noble motivations for my heroine to be attracted to the hero, but really...he looks at you like this...

Are your first thoughts about anything other than those eyes? Yeah, mine either. But the great part about writing a hero, especially a dark hero like the one in my next WIP, House on Raven Hill, is that you can infuse all types of noble, dangerous, and compelling reasons for your heroine to fall in love with him. 

I tend to list towards a hero that is witty and can duel both physically and figuratively with the heroine. He must be more than nice to look at. If I'm going to spend months of writing and editing with this guy...I have to like him.

My question to my fellow authors out there is this: Do you start with a list of qualities for your hero to possess or do you start out with qualities you hope he gains by the end of your novel?  How do you balance the need to move him along an arc of change with needing to make him initially attractive and a believable hero?

And for readers of romance...what are you favorite qualities in a hero?

Photograph by Lucy BurrLuck.  Photograph of Henry Cavil.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I start with who he is and what made him that way, then consider how I want him to change.
And it's probably just me, but I look at that guy's hairline and think Eddie Munster.

Michael Offutt said...

It's okay to be shallow lol

Raquel Byrnes said...

Ooh, Alex, I like that method. And yes...its just you.

Thank you, Michael. :)

Eric W. Trant said...

I always find it amusing and somewhat baffling when an author or critic says characters are shallow.

The baffling part is that we say the same thing about people in real-life.

So why is it so hard to believe a beautiful woman is obsessed with shoes and purses.

Or a hot guy likes to chase women and have sex.

Sounds pretty dang human to me!

Write what you like and let the reader sort it out.

I don't think much on qualities. I guess I do on the subconscious level, start with a few very basic parameters, but I let the characters be who they will be and follow them through the story. Sometimes they surprise me.

I don't know if this works or not because I'm not a multimillion bestseller, or even a multithousand or multihundred.

I do know it's how I write, though.

- Eric

Misha said...

First point for me is that the reader must understand why the heroine is falling for the guy.

Everything else just sprouts from that fact for me.


J.L. Campbell said...

Well apart from that guy's eyes, I thought about his lips. Anyhoo, I gotta admit I'm shallow. The first thing that comes to me is the character. I flesh the person out in my mind, then I add a situation and then the qualities they need to deal with that situation show up.

DEZMOND said...

oh, Henry Cavill ... mmmmmm ..... mmmmm

K.M. Weiland said...

My characters start out pretty darned flawed - and I love them that way! The more flawed the character, the more interesting I find him. In fact, the flawed characters who start as my bad guys often take so much of my attention that they end up becoming main characters.

Arlee Bird said...

I like a combination of a likable character with flaws who overcomes some shortcomings to become a better and stronger person.

Tossing It Out

Trisha said...

Well, for me there's a distinction between a character being sexy and him being good looking. A character can be totally sexy to me (and in romance, he HAS to be sexy or I'm not interested) but not necessarily beautiful.

Donna Hole said...

I start with a situation, and a basic character profile. My characters develop to meet the challenges of their plots. Sometimes they have a distinct look of them, but I don't always see my characters clearly until they have some life experiences to mature them - even if none of it goes into the novel itself.

Character growth, like the story context itself, reveals itself to me as I write. Weird, I know.


Creepy Query Girl said...

honestly I usually start out with just physical traits and then am pleasantly surprised by what comes out of their mouths:)

MyShallow Gal said...

I love anything regarding the topic of Shallow People. I certainly get my fill at