Tag Archives: hero

Constructing the Perfect Man- Occupational Hazards

Time for another installment of Constructing the Perfect Man. 

Remember, we are talking about creating a hero that readers will love– one that reaches out of the pages of the novel and grips the hearts of readers. We authors want our readers to fall in love. And that’s why I need your input, readers.

So today I want to discuss the job of our hero.

Let’s generalize the occupations of the cliche romance novel hero. He’s usually “rugged,” which involves working with his hands or being employed in a “dangerous” profession.

The farmer. The cattle driver. The athlete. The firefighter. The warrior. For historicals, there’s an overflow of knights, soldiers, and wealthy aristocrats with nothing else to do but seek adventure.

These “rugged”, hard labor jobs are appealing to most female readers. But not all.

But what if the leading man was a dancer? Or a chef? Or a teacher?

The teacher poses an interesting occupation for a leading man because there’s a marked difference in the perception of the personality of the character (and sometimes even the physical traits) if he’s a college professor, high school teacher, or elementary teacher.

For example, the college professor should probably be more serious, right? And the high school teacher can get away with being the “funny man.” But if our guy is an elementary teacher he had better be compassionate, kind, and even (dare I say it?) in touch with his feminine side occasionally.

The occupation of our hero (and heroine) can push the story forward, and sometimes drive the story all together.  Because of this, let’s pretend that the occupation of the hero has nothing to do with the story itself, just so that you can attempt to be impartial.

Think about it this way– what occupations do you find attractive for a leading man?

Do you prefer a hero who’s in an exciting job, like the CIA agent or the war correspondent journalist, or something more earthy like a farmer or rancher?  What about the guy who works with his hands, like a carpenter or artist, versus the office guy who might work on computer systems, etc? Or do you like the paranormal dude- the vampire, werewolf, wizard kind of guy?

All this leads me to my next question in this series and it’s all about the occupation of our man. 

Share with Me: Do you prefer a hero who is more or less like your real-life with his occupation? What occupations do you prefer your leading man to have? Can you find excitement in a story about an insurance agent as easily as you can a CIA agent? What one occupation would immediately kill an interest you could potentially have in a hero?


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