Show me your hero

When I write a book, the hero’s crucial. In my head, he’s clear from early in the process. I suppose that what I do is create a man I could fall in love with. And it’s amazingly satisfying when someone sends me a message to say that they have fallen in love with one of my heroes,too. (Thank you, everybody who has!)

I’m not even certain how writing a hero works. I mean, just because I fancy someone, it won’t mean you fall for him, too. I might go for a toughie and you for a smoothie. Me for tall and you for cuddly. So how does the alchemy work? How can what’s in my imagination transfer to someone yours, and become a man you’d get gooey over?

It must be that the reader’s imaginary hero is just right for the reader. It doesn’t matter if I say he’s tall, if the reader prefers cuddly, that’s what he becomes. To them. I’ve been through this process myself, as a reader, and been quite surprised to note, part way through the book, that the hero has blond hair – because I’d simply seen him as dark. That’s how I’d pictured him, ergo, that’s how he was!

The writer’s imagination didn’t come into it.

So, how about you? Do you think you share a writer’s vision of a character? Or do you identikit your own?

Who’s your hero? Is he conventionally phwoarrrr!ย or do you go for someone different to the fancy of all your friends?

Do you like to fall between the covers of a book with an adventurous rogue, but married a boy-next-door accountant?

Do tell me. (I won’t tell anyone else …)


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14 responses to “Show me your hero

  1. Henriette Gyland

    All I can say, is that if you can choose a picture of Viggo Mortensen to illustrate your point in this blog piece, then your hero will always be my hero!
    Loved Martyn Mayfair in “Love & Freedom” – I pictured him exactly as you wrote him.


  2. I love my hero to be handsome not pretty, nice but not soft, slightly rough around the edges and if they are a bit of a bad boy too, well then they’ve got me. Got to love their faults.


  3. For me – it’s in the voice. There are men who could read the phone book and I’d still drool (do you remember Tom Conti?). Then – hands. There’s something about a man with strong hands but not too much bike oil under the nails that does it for me.
    Then they must laugh – properly. Not a little titter, but a proper laugh that comes from deep inside. (I don’t want much, do I?)


  4. I put up a different fella as a Friday night special each week to see what the response is…. it seems that brooding wins over handsome. Of course, that’s just a photo, so everyone can add in the character they want – just as you concluded. My personal hero is dark haired, with laughing eyes and a smile that tells you he’s a good guy under all the machismo.


  5. I’ve never fallen for one of your heroes, Sue… *lie mode cancel*

    I do prefer blond and blue eyes which isn’t everyone’s cuppa (as I think most prefer darker)… though obviously some tall, dark and handsome heroes get me too (I have a certain crush on Adam Levine from Maroon 5 at the moment).

    Gosh, very important that the hero work. Not sure if I pull that off with my writing or not, only time (hopefully one day) will tell. But I do love your heroes, Sue. Ratty is my fav, shortly followed by Martyn… and I pictured both dark. Ratty a rough around the edges bad boy, and Martyn a smoother, darker, cleaner image – because of his occupation.

    Do you have images that you used to visualise them? It would be fab to see.

    I do love a bad boy – Sawyer from Lost for one (He’s blond and blue eyed) but I would never put up with him in real life (I’m too scary, I mean strong ;-))


  6. Hi Sue,
    Well i would like my hero’s voice to be that husky voice that make me go gaga.. As for the looks i love Richard Gere and George Clooney.. The salt hair, soft eyes, crinkling at the corners and the lop sided smile.. But above all my hero must love me unconditionally the way my husband does.



  7. Liz Harris

    My hero has got to have a sense of humour – that’s a must. He also must not be thinner than I am – I hate the thought of overlapping him on either side!!

    I’ve always thought I liked men to be a bit rugged, and would have added that quality to my list – so why did I find Ryal Gosling so attractive in The Ides of March? Don’t know the answer to that.

    Liz X


  8. I’ve loved your heroes so far, Sue, so whatever you’re doing, you’re doing it right! ๐Ÿ˜€
    My personal favourites are the drop-dead gorgeous ones with amazing eyes and a killer smile. Well, we are talking fiction after all so why not dream of the best?


  9. I’ve had the same experience of getting half-way through a book – or even on a re-read or a sequel – and being astounded that one or more of the characters was blonde and not brunette, tall instead of short, sometimes even a different ethnicity to the character in my head.

    It makes me wonder as a writer – how much description is enough, and how much is too much? How much room should we leave for readers to create their own images, without making things bland and generic?


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