Hi Indies! My next stop for covering character development articles is a lot less popular than writing female characters. I think this boils down to two reasons: 1) Not all authors write from the male character’s point of view, and 2) Surprisingly, most female authors are better at writing male POVs than female POVs. Go figure.
I absolutely LOVE writing in the Male POV. It’s very rare that I won’t have just as many sections in a book from the male lead’s perspective as the female’s. The Avarice trilogy is the closest I’ve ever come to writing a strictly female POV story. My heroes are just as prone to being the first POV in a book, as my heroines. And, I also have three separate trilogies where the heroes are the main protagonists, their female love interests the secondary POVs that don’t get as much page time.
So, what’s the difference between writing male characters/heroes and writing female characters/heroines? I suppose that depends on the author, really, but I personally don’t see much of a difference. The same key elements and important tools apply: Make them believable. They should have flaws, personal growths to accomplish and their reactions should be realistic while remaining true to their personalities. There’s absolutely no tool used for a heroine that shouldn’t also be used for the hero. Characters don’t get special treatment based on gender in my world. #noapologies
It’s true that men and women think differently, approach situations differently, and tend to have different priorities, but you’d have to have lived in a convent or lack all skills of observation not to be able to put yourself in a man’s shoes. If you have male family members, co-workers, friends, friend’s husbands/boyfriends, etc. then you’ve also been exposed to a variety of male personality types to draw inspiration from.
Instead of re-hashing all of the points I already made in my heroine posts, I’m simply going to touch on some of the reasons why I love writing male characters/heroes. Maybe they’re the same reasons you have, or maybe you’ve never understood why a woman would want to put herself inside of a man’s head lol…whatever the case, hopefully this sheds some light and perhaps inspires you to try writing from your own hero’s perspective.
FAVORITE ASPECTS OF WRITING MALE CHARACTERS/HEROES
#1: Uniqueness. One of my favorite goals is finding all the ways I can make my hero stand out from the rest. And I don’t mean just by his looks. It’s not that I don’t apply this to my heroines, it just feels a bit more challenging with my heroes. There are a lot of memorable heroes out there in the romance genre! It’s especially difficult as a writer of BDSM. Just like all of my submissives share common traits, so do my Doms. They’re dominant. That’s not an easy boulder to maneuver around. Dominant personality types are quite distinctive, so it’s everything else surrounding that trait that I have to make unique to the individual hero.
Outside of my supernatural/paranormal heroes, I also try to make sure my Doms are coming across as ‘true to life’ as possible. It’s more difficult than you’d expect not to portray them as being as close to perfect as a man could get, but that’s not realistic. Doms are human beings, they make mistakes and have off days just like everyone else. They have histories, secrets, baggage, etc. So, even if their skills or experience as a Dom is excellent, they should still be given the same opportunity for personal growths, overcoming obstacles and facing their demons like any other male lead/hero.
The reason the perfection bit is so difficult, is because whether authors want to acknowledge it in their books or not, kink is a challenging situation for both parties with a much higher risk of physical injury than regular ol’ vanilla sex. So, having extremely skilled Doms depicted in my books, cuts out any unrealistic situations where some newbie manages to nail an entire kink scene without any mistakes or damage to his sub. Note: I’ll be addressing this in more detail in a later post about tropes.
#2: Careers. I don’t know why, but I do love finding careers that compliment my heroes’ personalities and lifestyles. Of course, as you know from my last Dear Indie post, I do the same with my heroines. But with my heroes, it gets interesting trying to place them in areas that are less common for the romance genre. Sometimes it’s unavoidable to have the “Catch all” CEO, though. You know the one who’s beyond wealthy, but his company’s too complex to really label, because it dabbles in just about everything (Yes, I have one of those). I also have:
- A Wall Street Investment Banker
- An Architect
- A Security System Manufacturer
- A Designer of State of the Art Financial Security Software
- A Chef
- A Musician
- 2 Hackers
- A Criminal Defense Attorney
- A Corporate Lawyer
- A Homicide Detective
- 2 Secret Government Operatives
- A Life Coach
- A few Artists
- A Thief
- Multiple Construction Workers
- A Spa Resort Owner
- A Nautical Company Owner
- An Import/Export Business Owner
- 3 Auto Parts Manufacturer Family Business Members
- A Tattoo Artist
- 3 Actors
- A Kink Resort Owner
- A Casino & Hotel Owner
- A BDSM Club Owner
- 2 Strip-Club Co-Owners
- A CEO turned Landscaper
- The Dragon’s Head
- A General Contractor
- A Skilled Torturer/Interrogator
- A Serial Killer
I know I’m forgetting some, but you get the idea. The funnest part of all this is that a good 90% of those occupations belong to supernatural beings that have a ton of other “jobs” they’re responsible for outside of earning an income. The even funner than that part is some of these occupations are just for one character.
#3: Insight. I like giving readers an inside look at my male character’s thoughts, views, feelings, etc. about the heroine and also whatever situation their in or facing. I think it adds more depth to the budding relationship than just having the heroine’s perspective. It’s also handy with fleshing out backstories and world-building in the case of fictional places. It gives me the chance to ferret out their fears, insecurities, hopes, desires, and beliefs. This is a great tool for revealing their flaws to the readers, the areas in which they need personal growth, and the struggles they need to overcome before the end of the book. Since most men are naturally guarded about sharing their feelings, it can also give readers a glimpse at their hidden integrity or honor. Especially, if they’re coming across as too secretive with their love interest. And it’s a great way to keep your readers supportive of your hero while tension/conflict is rising between him and the heroine.
#4: Sex. Yep, I said it. Writing sex scenes from the male character’s perspective is hot as hell. It’s just as fantastic to write it, as it is to read it from their POV. And again, it adds depth to their growing relationship with the heroine, giving readers an inside look at their thoughts, feelings, etc. during such an intimate moment where more than just physical barriers can be breached, when all parties are at risk of feeling vulnerable. Sex scenes reveal hidden desires, expose fetishes, and can strengthen emotional bonds.
In BDSM the sex scene is usually part of, or the result of a Kink Scene, which is also where the most vital bonds of trust are established between the hero and heroine. I usually always include at least one sex scene written from the hero’s perspective, if not more.
#5: Violence/Aggression/Grr. Sorry, I forgot to say “confession time” lol – I genuinely get a thrill out of exploring the more aggressive side of my male characters/heroes. I write Alpha males, and even if they’re pairing off with Alpha females, they’re usually quicker to get all ‘grr’ about things like being protective, tracking down the enemy, destroying said enemy, and making sure no other enemies get any funny ideas. Each of my heroes have some level of aggression, but every once in awhile I wind up with a sadist or two. Though most of my Doms have a sadistic side, my purest sadists tend to be supernatural rather than human.
The one male lead I have yet to write at all from his POV is my Dark Psychological Romance serial killer. I think this might become my first book ever written solely from the female lead’s perspective, but that’s more for mystery purposes than anything else. So far, I’ve only gotten to explore his violence through her point of view, but I might get to delve into his mind later on. Don’t worry, I can handle it, he’s my kind of monster. His intellect is far more intimidating than his violence.
#6: Integrity. Not the kind of character integrity I referred to in my previous post, but a more personal kind of integrity. The thing is, I have a lot a really great men in my life and I draw inspiration from them for my male characters, but I especially like to pay tribute to them by making sure my heroes have the same kind of integrity they do. Too often in romance, men are depicted as sex-mongering, cocky, chauvinistic little boys trapped in men’s bodies until they fall in love and then scramble to change their ways to get the heroine’s attention. It’s an overused and altogether horrible stereotype. I just get bored with all that nonsense, and I also feel like pointing out to the world at large that not all guys grow up to embody these terrible HUMAN traits.
Men can be just as unlucky in love without it being due to their flaws/personality. Otherwise there wouldn’t be phrases like “nice guys always finish last.” And it’s not that I don’t have a playboy or two in my own books, but that’s not the ‘core’ of who they are as a person, it’s not what defines them, and their active libido certainly doesn’t keep them from being overall decent human beings with integrity.
In short: A man can thoroughly enjoy having multiple sex partners and still help an old lady across the street without any ulterior motives.
#7: Brotherhood. As much as I like writing awesome friends for my heroines, I get a kick out of exploring the unique ‘brotherhood’ forged between male friends. It definitely has it’s own flow, set of rules, and a lot more unspoken understandings than the friendships women form with each other. It’s quite fun and adds yet another layer of personality and insight to my hero for readers to get to know. What’s more, is that these bonds can be just as diverse as your characters, not just in different books, but between your hero and his particular friends. Maybe he’s closer to some than others, maybe he’s not. It’s an area of your hero’s life you can choose to be as creative with as you want–as long as the storyline remains on track, of course. And fleshing out your hero’s friends can give the overall story more depth and realism. It can also be where you pay tribute to real-life men in your life, much like you do with your heroine’s friends and the real-life women you admire.
Okay, that’s it for this post. What do you think? Are there reasons you love writing male characters/heroes that I didn’t mention? Have you ever been curious about writing from the male lead’s perspective, but aren’t really sure how to go about it? As always, feedback, questions and comments are welcome!
❤ Next up in Writing Male Characters/Heroes Part 2, I’m going to go over the various male character ‘types’ for the romance genre and talk a little about the differences between writing human and non-human heroes.