There’s no man boobs in romance

Typical Hero

Typical Hero

Recently I had the pleasure of completing several blogs to be posted on various sites during my virtual book tour starting soon (apologies, blatant plug).  One of the topics I was asked to cover was my tips for writing romance.  This was by far the most difficult blog to write since I hadn’t ever given any thought to what my tips to other authors’ might actually be.  So, in the spirit of helping out the writing community (or repelling it), I’d like to start featuring some handy writers’ tips on my personal blog.

And you readers’ may enjoy it a bit as well.

Tip #1 – Above all else, your hero better be sexy.

“I wish the author would have made the hero more realistic, like my husband,” said no romance reader, ever.   When I read romance I want the quintessential hero, and that entails some very specific must-have’s.

Height – Heroes are always taller than their heroines, and in my experience, generally tower at about six feet tall.  Height is important so he can make the heroine, and the reader, feel like the dainty women he is there to protect – even when we readers may be bordering upon Amazonian proportions.

Physique – Ever read about man boobs?  What about soft, squishie bellies with belly-buttons the size of small saucers?  Back hair?  Nope, and there’s a reason for that.  In romance, even when there were no such things as personal trainers, weight benches, or Nair, the heroes were always in tip-top physical condition.   Chiseled abs, rock hard pecks, and sinewy biceps came naturally without the hero ever having to participate in any sort of physical labor.  And though there may be some controversy over chest hair (like it or leave it), I’ve not once heard the discussion extend into the sexiness of a furry back.

Hair – Writers can be a bit more liberal with hair.  Even though now and again the hero may be sporting a sexy bald look, the majority of books feature a hero with soft, manageable locks.  It’s either immaculate in its upkeep and appearance, or it’s disheveled, slightly wavy, and kept a bit too long to be considered appropriate.  And facial hair – well, the perpetual five o’clock shadow is a popular look for romance heroes.  Occasionally there’s a mustache, mutton chops, or goatee, but rarely have I read about unkempt beards . . . unless the wearer has been unjustly imprisoned or wrongly enslaved.  Tousled or neat, the hair of your hero is a key focal point throughout your book.  And you thought it was your plot – ha!

So as you consider the physical appearance of your hero, remember that this is romance that you are writing.  Reality has its place . . . just not in America’s number one selling source of literary escapism.