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Customer Discussions > Romance forum

What makes a hero/heroine?

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Showing 1-25 of 290 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 3, 2012, 3:51:32 PM PDT
Miss Ani Rae says:
Have you ever wondered why we like some heroes more than others? Why some heroines make us want to rip all our hair out?

Why don't we talk about it, hm? What do YOU think makes the perfect hero/heroine?

Posted on Apr 3, 2012, 4:14:49 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 3, 2012, 4:28:29 PM PDT
Agnes says:
Mary Sues make me want to rip my hair out. I can't stand when authors have to tell me over and over (whether through narrative or dialogue or character thoughts) that the heroine is tough and intelligent. 99.9% of the time, when they have to tell me, this has to be said because actions aren't backing this up. Stupidity makes me want to rip my hair out. Some heroes are cardboard, very rarely are they Gary Stus (the existence of a Gary Stu is a phenomena often associated with urban legends...While they DO exist, they aren't as prolific as Mary Sues), some are poster boys for psychopaths, some are overly nonchalant and immaculately groomed, some are real creeps, and some have changes of heart that just don't mix with their original characterizations. I hate when an author tries to force a reformed rake/playboy ending on the reader, when it's apparent that nothing has changed.

I like heroes that aren't insanely ripped (no, I don't find Arnold Schwarzenegger attractive), who have a sense of humor, who aren't insane (this goes for h as well), who aren't overly elegant or nonchalant, who are tough, but who have a soft side. And I cannot stand a H who is too controlling.

On the flip side, can't stand heroines who: cry and weep almost every page, have everything going for them (esp. in the looks department) and then complain about those things that others would view as positives (such as a character whining about her enormous boobs and long legs - seriously), are TSTL (usually if this applies to h of book, I want the author, because author has foreshadowed that h is TSTL, to kill h off in TSTL manner (it would be fitting), nag (things go great until h and H get together, and h begins to nag H to death - I see a divorce not for off even though author stands behind HEA), are clingy, complain too much, and treat H like dirt (and vice-versa).

It would be nice if a h could be tough (but without the reader having to be told this), cool headed, independent, smart, and it doesn't matter if she has a spitfire temper or if she only speaks when she wants to, I just want her to be well-developed and a good character, who doesn't make me want my hair out.

There are a lot of elements that go in to creating the perfect H and h, and a lot of authors get it wrong.

Posted on Apr 3, 2012, 4:24:33 PM PDT
Miss Ani Rae says:
Agreed. I like when the hero is protective, but not overbearing. That's not cute and I would never want that. It actually bugs me sometimes when the hero is in his 30's and the heroine is 16. If it's done right and you can forget their ages, I'm fine. But that age gap is a little too big. Maybe that's just me, but I can't see myself dating a 30 year old man. Or when the hero is constantly cruel to the heroine, pushing her away, calling her stupid, denying that he's head over heels in love with her...ta=hat drives me crazy. Why would you want to be with someone who constantly tells you he'd rather have someone else?

And the heroines, jeez. They all say 'I'm a tough cookie and I'm smart' while they shoot themselves in the foot, fall off the horse, almost drown in the river, do something the hero told them not to because it was dangerous and now need to be saved, or any number of things that contradicts what they just said. I don't mind when a heroine cries as long as she has a justifiable reason. If she just got shot and is about to die, yeah, she can cry if she wants to. Her husband/boyfriend just told her she could have/do something and the water works start? Oh please, can you say baby? And why must they always fall in love first? Why is it always the heroine who falls madly in love with a hero who still acts like he hates her?

Also, this may be a dumb question, but what is TSTL?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 3, 2012, 4:30:18 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Apr 3, 2012, 5:57:02 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 3, 2012, 4:31:18 PM PDT
TSTL = Too Stupid To Live.

Posted on Apr 3, 2012, 4:32:39 PM PDT
Agnes says:
Not a dumb question: (I am still puzzled by SMEX <--- what does this mean?) TSTL = Too stupid to live. My take, if the heroine's actions all point to her being too stupid to live, she should be killed off in the story. She has to be told what not to do and then she goes and does it, has to be rescued over and over and over (when some simple common sense could have saved both h and H a heck of a lot of trouble); honestly, I think there should be some serious repercussions for such idiotic behavior - such repercussions being...dun, dun, dun...death.

Posted on Apr 3, 2012, 4:32:54 PM PDT
Miss Ani Rae says:
Oh, well I was close. I got the Too Stupid To part, but I thought it might be Love. Just thought I'd check!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 3, 2012, 4:35:54 PM PDT
Bitchie says:
Smex is just a cutesy way of saying sex.

And how many heroines have been told to STAY in the room because there are crazy guys downstairs with guns, heroines with no weapon and no self defense training at all, then go an follow the hero down the stairs to "help", only to get grabbed by the crazy guys with guns?

Posted on Apr 3, 2012, 4:36:34 PM PDT
Miss Ani Rae says:
Lol. Sometimes I feel like a book would be so much better if another heroine walked by, killed off the current heroine and took her place. Some of the girls I've had the displeasure of having to read about have been pretty bad. I think the most recent was Vianne from The Hedgewitch Queen. Thought she did get better as the book progressed.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 3, 2012, 4:42:09 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 3, 2012, 4:50:21 PM PDT
Agnes says:
In defense of following H when crazy people invade, I would follow...but I would be armed, and I'm not condoning h's actions, which, of course, lead to her being grabbed, bad guys point gun to her head, tell H to drop his weapon, H drops weapon, you know the drill (shakes head; deep sigh). You know what I want? I want Sarah Connor in a romance novel. That would be sheer awesomeness. When this happens in books, the h just does every dumb thing you always knew you should never do (and never wanted to do as well).

Posted on Apr 3, 2012, 4:46:16 PM PDT
Miss Ani Rae says:
I've seen too many heroines chase after the hero because they want te "help" even though they don't know what they're doing. Although once, it was a good thing she didn't listen because she left the room, hid behind a statue or something and a man with a BIG knife snuck into her room to kill her. Only, guess what? she wasn't there.

I applaude a woman who chases after her man with a gun or a weapon of some kind and actually has a plan in mind. Just running after him and screaming and crying isn't much of a plan and it pretty much always makes the situation worse before it gets any better.

Posted on Apr 3, 2012, 4:49:05 PM PDT
Savage Lucy says:
Worse than a h bemoaning her beautiful features are the books written in first person constantly reminding us how pretty the narrator is. How much everybody loves her. And how every male character is attractive to her in one way or another. I read the first two Sookie Stackhouse books and gave up.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 3, 2012, 4:51:03 PM PDT
Agnes says:
Savage Lucy, those are the red flags of a Mary Sue...

Posted on Apr 3, 2012, 4:52:48 PM PDT
Miss Ani Rae says:
You gotta love when everyone tells the heroines she's beautiful, but ONE person tells her she's ugly and THAT'S the person she choses to believe even though he's a slimeball of the hightest order, probably had something to do with her mother's untimely death, cheated her father out of a lot of money, and maybe is even the father of her little sister which, shocker, he knew about all along, but didn't care. I've read that one a few times. Lol.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 3, 2012, 5:02:06 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 3, 2012, 5:24:21 PM PDT
Agnes says:
Also of notable mention, the story sets it up to where you expect the h to be ostracized and hated, and this is especially true in historicals. Other characters expect to hate her, and then...they meet her. All of the men fall in love with her and find her unbelievably gorgeous, she becomes friends with all of the women, she receives numerous proposals, has no personality, is apparently the most beautiful woman on earth and can also do anything (even if specializing in such a task would take years for a normal person - clearly, h is not normal).

And, what about when h is said to be plain (looks just toe the line of ugly), she meets H, who also admits that's she's a little rough on the eyes. Despite misgivings on her looks, they get together and being loved by a beautiful man PHYSICALLY transforms h, until every man whose path she happens to cross is forced to admit (because she's just too beautiful not to say anything) that this is the most beautiful creature he has ever seen. Now that's magic. Notice that he usually calls her "creature." I tell you, she is not human.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 3, 2012, 5:22:22 PM PDT
Miss Ani Rae says:
Lol! Yes, I often hear the heroes refer to their women as 'creatures' and not 'women.' Who would've thought there were all these ugly cretures running around that can manage to snag a drop dead gorgeous man and magically become stunning. Where are these men and where can I find one?

Posted on Apr 3, 2012, 5:40:17 PM PDT
Aisha W says:
LOL! that's why I most of the time HATE those "plain jane" stories! If they're done right, I don't mind them, but they're usually all the same:

In the beginning of the book:

-h is plain, NOT beautiful AT ALL, constantly whines about how unattractive she is and how no man ever wants her.
-she has frizzy hair (most of the time red) and freckles
-"slightly" chubby
-thoughout 75% of the book, NO man ever shows interest in her


-she's able to easily snag the hottest man in town with his buldging biceps and huge thang, silky dark hair and beautiful green eyes
-all of a sudden, every hot man in town (even the not so hot ones) wants a peice of her
-and she's the most beautiful, gorgeous woman on earth...

I'd also like to know where these men are! and what town is this?!!! lol

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 3, 2012, 5:43:19 PM PDT
Miss Ani Rae says:
Clearly it's not where I live. I don't think I'm gorgeous, but I'm not ugly either and yet all the good guys are either gay, taken, or fictional. If I lived according to all these romance books I'd be married and probably have a kid by now and I'm not even out of high school yet, though I'm on the last leg! Graduation here I come!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 3, 2012, 5:58:08 PM PDT
Aisha W says:
not where i live either!! lol! i'd probably be married with 8 kids now!
i'm sure you're gorgeous BookAddict! :)

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 3, 2012, 6:00:20 PM PDT
Miss Ani Rae says:
Aw thanks awaters! You're gorgeous too!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 3, 2012, 6:12:07 PM PDT
L. Burns says:
This drives me crazy too, awaters. Sometimes the H is not "just" the hottest guy in town, he's a movie star/billionaire/famous athlete (in Lori Foster's "Jude's Law" he's all three)! Right up until he meets the plain Jane h he dates only models and starlets. Once he hooks up with Janey though he can't stand thin women. Nope...tall, thin women become a total turnoff. Now talk about a fantasy, lol!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 3, 2012, 6:38:10 PM PDT
Agnes, This is a well known pheno....phenomone......occurrance where the H's gorgeous vibes transfer to the h (that and 50 lbs of makeup and an emergency application of haut couture), to cold activate the h's prevously overlooked beauty enzymes. It's officially known as "plainjaneoptimitous" frequently seen in conjunction with "fading OW syndrome" to clear the field for the h to properly blossom.

Posted on Apr 3, 2012, 8:00:00 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 3, 2012, 8:05:15 PM PDT
Agnes says:
You know what, Mary, I think a dictionary full of phrases coined by readers of romance novels should be published.

First entry (courtesy of you)
Plainjaneeoptimitous: "fading OW syndrome" to clear the field for the h to properly blossom.

2nd entry
Botoxema: a phenomenon that ONLY occurs in romance, when the H injects the h with his love juice, thus giving the h a flawless, gorgeous appearance (even though her personality is quite flat, hence the reference to botox); WARNING: Botoxema is dangerous! It attracts the male species like fruit flies to - fruit. h should guard against unwanted proposals, perhaps even taking into consideration that she might need to take up arms. This is no laughing matter! Side effects include delusions of inferiority (and others having delusions of superiority about h!), blindness (the h cannot see herself as what she has become), stomach cramps, rash, hives, athletes' foot, etc. etc.

3rd entry
Virganza: h is a virgin (*gasp) and author makes quite an extravaganza of H deflowering her, even to the point of having this become a major plot point - MAJOR

What do you think? Terrible idea?

Posted on Apr 3, 2012, 8:10:22 PM PDT
L. Burns says:
4th entry
Sexapalooza: virginal h (who has NEVER had a sexual thought prior to meeting the Hero) engages in marathon sex with the H including multiple orgasms and a little bdsm play...her very first time.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 3, 2012, 8:51:27 PM PDT
Agnes, .....and it takes a book maniac to lead them. Definitely we shoud set this up with applied definitions (just in case this comes into money) }:)

Plainjaneoptimitous: A condition affecting ordinary looking, aka plainjane women (not to be confused with downright woofers--see policy section 3, chapter 121, subsection 42 for {semi-legal} description). Syndrome is triggered by phermones emitted by suddenly interested male in top 99.9% of male beauty parameters (as defined under policy section 19, chapter 247, subsection 931), application of no less than 50 (fifty) pounds of makeup applied by world class makeup artist (arranged by phermone donor), and emergency application of haut couture (in the minimal amount of $50,000) also supplied by appropriate donor causing prevously dormant beauty enzymes to activate. Symptoms consist of sudden and marked improvement of said subject's beauty index and sex appeal as judged by every male coming into contact with said subject. Caution must be exercised to avoid an over supply of phermones or enzymes will be excessively stimulated and cause a rare, traumatic side effect known as glameriousoptima which induces the subject to become a fashion model, become involved with extremely wealthy, emotionally stunted male, and become inconveniently pregnant, or lose memory of relationship, or, in rare and tragic cases, both complications will occur. Most likely outcome will be an HP book.

Fading OW Syndrome: An invariably fatal malady affecting any wife or significant other of hunky male (see policy section 92, chapter 191, subsection 324 for hunkiness index) in need of extreme emotional trauma so future designated h can soothe lacerated feelings, raise orphaned children, and win Nobel Compassion Prize. Symptoms include long, happy courtships and successful marriages, nominations for early sainthood, and generally acknowledged good girl traits. If you begin to show symptoms, don't bother with medical assistance. Spend remaining time putting guilt trip on H for not appreciating you suffiently, arranging heart wrenching death scene, and writing your obituary (you may as well make sure they get it right)
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