Guest poster Pandora Spocks is making the rounds this week and hitting a few blogs in preparation for her new release on April 18th of the final chapter of her Rannigan series, and it’s a doozy. How lucky can I get? Not only did she do her release announcement on a Fairytale Feature, but she’s agreed to come back today and show us how she writes these incredibly sexy bad boys and boys next door. Let’s hear it, Pandora.
Every great romance story has to have a great lead character. One who makes the leading lady, and the reader, swoon. So what makes a great leading man?
Generally, you want to give him traits that are attractive. That’s no surprise. He should be tall, handsome, possess a good sense of humor. Everything you look for on Match.com, right? Personality-wise, he needs to be strong, sensitive, and protective. But I think it’s important to give him a few flaws as well. A great hero should be well-rounded, not simply two-dimensional.
I took a risk when I created Michael Rannigan, the hero of Rannigan’s Redemption. Michael is not immediately likeable, with his shallow sense of the world and his player ways. But I hoped to infuse him with a vulnerability, even if only a very few ever saw it.
In describing a character, it’s important to follow the old adage, show, don’t tell. Rather than literally naming physical attributes, try to use sensory words to paint a picture. You have to decide things like hair color, eye color, face shape. Does he have long hair or short? Manbun or facial hair? Tattoos or piercings?
I’m a very visual person so it helps me to have something to look at when I’m writing descriptive passages. If you follow me on Pinterest, you’ll see boards where I save photos of my muses, pictures I can refer to when I’m trying to flesh out the vision in my mind.
A great book boyfriend needs the perfect name, which is trickier than it might seem. I’m sure there are some very nice Herberts out there, but the name doesn’t really inspire a swoon-worthy image. I love strong-sounding names like Luke, Michael, Bobby, Jake, Hank, Mac, Finn, and more.
Way back when, Luke & Bella started out as a role-play on Twitter and the name Luke was actually the invention of my writing partner at the time. Michael Rannigan was the name of a boy I knew in elementary school and I always thought it was a good, solid name for a leading man.
I’m writing a naughty novella right now and initially, the hero was called Jake. But I couldn’t get the whole Jake from State Farm in his khya-kis thing out of my mind. I ended up changing his name to Mac instead. And I’ll confess I’ve tossed over some names because I have negative associations; I’ve know people with that name and I didn’t like them.
Ultimately, I think the secret is to write a book boyfriend you’d want to read about. Give him the traits you’d look for in a guy. That way you write a hero you love and others will love him, too.