Dear Indie | Writing Male Characters Part 2: Types

Welcome back, Indies! Today in Part 2 of Writing Male Characters, I’m going to cover the most common character types, talk about the difference between writing human and non-human heroes, and touch on some of the good and bad aspects of writing non-human heroes.

COMMON MALE CHARACTER/HERO TYPES IN ROMANCE

I think I pretty much covered the Playboy already in my last post, but that is probably the #1 most common character type for heroes in romance. Especially, erotic romance. They’re usually billionaires to boot, which I think might be the 2nd most common type. So, let’s have a look at what kind of lists I can conjure up off the top of my head for the genres I’m most familiar with.

Romance & Erotic Romance

  • Playboy
  • Billionaire/CEO
  • Dom/Daddy/Sadist
  • Mafia/Mobster
  • Biker/MC Prez or VP
  • Club Owner (usually a sex club of some sort)
  • Foreign Prince/Duke/Noble/Dignitary
  • Military/Special Forces/Personal Security
  • Fireman/Cop/Detective
  • Cowboy/Rancher
  • Single Dad

Paranormal Romance

  • Shifter
  • Vampire
  • Werewolf (not to be confused with wolf shifters)
  • Witch/Wizard/Warlock/Sorcerer/Shade
  • Demigod/Pagan Deity
  • Demon/Reaper
  • Angel/Fallen Angel
  • Devil’s Son
  • Ghost

SciFi Romance

  • Alien
  • Human-Alien Hybrid
  • Ship Captain/Crew-member
  • Galactic Mercenary
  • Space Pirate
  • Time Traveler
  • Bounty Hunter (everyone loves the Western/SciFi mash-ups, come on)
  • Special Operative for an Alien Control Agency

Okay, I’m not as familiar with SciFi as the others, so I’m sure I missed a lot. You can call me out on it, I don’t mind.

It’s no surprise that writing male characters/heroes that aren’t human can be a somewhat different process from writing heroes that are. Most supernatural/paranormal heroes aren’t restricted to the same laws that humans are, let alone the same laws of physics. Of course, the more flawed and ‘human-like’ they are, the more readers will root for them.

The reality is that unless your non-human hero is displaying only non-human traits throughout the entire story, it is very difficult for readers to remember that minute detail. That’s why in my book Hexed, I tried to slip in a reminder here and there simply by having Hex repeat to Zoe that she couldn’t “humanize” him. Because, he does come across with a lot of typical human male traits, but is also very much demon and proud of it. I also tried to give him more demon-like reactions and responses, to add weight to those reminders.

Despite being creative with massive imaginations, we writers still tend to rely on the things we know as points of reference and inspiration – and I, personally, don’t know any real life demons, angels, werewolves or aliens (that I’m aware of). O_o

Well, then what really is the difference between writing human heroes versus non-human heroes? I think, most obviously, is making sure they possess personality traits associated with whatever kind of supernatural/paranormal being they are–and then keep it there. Don’t have your hero starting off as the epitome of a vampire and then start behaving more human than vamp as the story progresses. Besides, I think it’s equally entertaining when a character’s supernatural traits are revealed gradually, rather than all at once.

When it came to writing the characters for my wolf shifter series, I first did a lot of research on real wolves because I wanted to depict the pack dynamic, not just the relationship between the hero and heroine. And I really wanted to incorporate wolf traits into my characters’ personalities, because that just seemed more realistic to me than their wolf traits only coming into play while they’re in wolf form. On top of that, how they think and believe as wolves plays a major part in the way they approach the world around them. Ways humans might not. For example: real wolves mate for life. They’re completely monogamous, so I’m not going to use the ‘cheating’ trope to create conflict between my hero and heroine. It would be unrealistic to do so for their supernatural type.

Now, I know many of you might be thinking: “But, it’s a supernatural book, you don’t have to follow real-life protocol.” That’s true. Writing PNR and Fantasy certainly opens up our ability to be as creative and extraordinary as we want. But, it goes back to creating ‘believable’ characters. We know wolf-shifters aren’t real, but for however long it takes a reader to read my book, I want them to believe that they are 100% possible. So, I’m going to make them as realistic as I can.

THE GOOD & BAD ABOUT WRITING SUPERNATURAL/PARANORMAL HEROES

Without a doubt, the best part about writing non-human heroes is the freedom to give them personality quirks/traits that would normally be frowned upon coming from a human man. Drinking blood isn’t something we could readily forgive our lover, just because. But if he was a vampire and it was the only thing keeping him alive (undead?) then it’s excusable. I mean, the man’s gotta live, right? Or not die all the way?

Another favorite aspect about creating supernatural heroes is getting as close to an original idea as possible. These character types have been around for soooooo long, it’s pretty much impossible to come up a completely new, never before seen kind of vampire, werewolf or wizard. Some authors succeed in at least contributing one thing that stands out from the rest. Stephenie Meyer gave us sparkling vampires and whether or not you appreciated that as a fan of vampires, she at least had an original idea. Her “imprinting” idea for the wolves was also a bit unique. At least it was for me, but then I haven’t read every wolf shifter book on the market, either.

The point is, I respect any writer that attempts to break away from the overdone, cliched, stereotypical character type to offer something as different as possible. I also appreciated the realism of her vampires being that freaking cold to the touch. Often, that realistic side-affect of being ‘undead’ isn’t even mentioned in vampire novels.

Then again, we can only guess what a ‘real’ vampire would feel and act like. As my heroine, Kallie, states in Dark Duplicity: “Aside from making freakishly realistic vampire movies—which, by the way, should be considered an oxymoron…”

The only bad aspect to writing non-human heroes that I have personally come up against stems from my Hell on Earth series. In the series, all of my main male leads/heroes are the actual demons/devils assigned to the seven deadly sins. The problem with writing about demons and devils is that 90% of the books with “Devil” in the title or description for the Romance genre are about human men. Likewise, a good 95% of any series claiming to be about the seven deadly sins is also only about humans.

That’s irksome on its own from a reader’s standpoint when I’m trying to find books to read about actual demons and devils. But, knowing that, going in – I first made the executive decision to use the Latin names of the sins for my book titles and left the word “Devil” out of it, altogether. Then, I backed it up with a Trigger Warning in the description that clearly explains it’s about demonology, occult, devils, fallen angels, etc. Yet, I still get readers who complain that it’s about demons. And it’s not just obvious they missed the trigger warning – it’s because the amount of books about human heroes depicted as-and-referred to as “devils” is far too prominent. So, that’s what readers are expecting. Their eyes just kind glaze over the word Devil anymore.

Another downside is that I’ve gotten reviews where the reader complained about how the hero doesn’t possess the usual ‘good’ qualities and ‘decent’ attributes they typically like to see in their romance men. 😐 My first thought to this is always: “Well, he’s not a man, he’s a devil from hell, so I don’t know what to tell ya.” But, I understand that this reader reaction goes back to what I mentioned before about the way we present our non-human characters.

Despite being 100% fallen angel/demon, my hero lives and works on earth, so he acts human to fit in. This “act” makes up most of the personality traits my readers are presented with, so I can’t really get too upset when they expect those traits to carry all the way through. Even though his “act” is anti-social disorder at best and he displays random abilities no human man could ever possibly pull off, it’s the equivalent of having an unlikable vampire. To most readers, it really doesn’t matter “what” your hero is, as long as he’s a lovable hero.

Personally, I think Aliens should get the largest pass for not acting human, but once again, I’m not as fluent in SciFi romance as the others. I thoroughly enjoy Anna Adler’s Silenia series, but her heroes are Alien-Human Hybrids, so of course, they’re going to both look and behave just as human as alien. I’m also a fan of Gena Showalter, and I love her Alien Huntress series, but all of her aliens are extremely human-like in personality, even if their physical appearances are anything but. If you know of any great SciFi romance books with Alien heroes that lack most human traits, please let me know, I’d love to check them out for comparison!

This is also where picking the right genre for your book is vitally important. Most romance novels that are labeled “Dark”, “Thriller”, “Suspense”, “Psychological” or even “Taboo” get an automatic pass from readers when it comes to how their male heroes are depicted. I tried my best to advertise the Avarice trilogy as “Dark Erotic Romance”, but unfortunately that’s not an actual category option on Amazon from the main set up screen. I haven’t learned the art of hidden categories yet, but if you’re facing the same problem, it might be worth looking into.

Alright, Indies, that covers the topic of writing male characters/heroes. Please feel free to let me know if I missed an area you’d like to see discussed. In my next post, I’m going to talk about common tropes used in the romance genre.

If there’s a topic you’d like to see a post about, let me know in the comments below! 🙂

Meet The Character | The Self-Sabotager

They call me Max Carver, because that’s the name on the cover. I’m the latest contender in the world of Graphic Novelists. My fans line up outside the bookstores and comic book shops, dressed like characters I created, waiting to see what carnage will be wrought and what kind of debauched mess their favorite anti-hero has gotten himself into this time.

Insidious “Sid” Strider gives all bad things a bad name, and man, do they love him. They can’t get enough of my morally-challenged alter ego. The one who’s always been free to do exactly what he wants; extending two middle fingers to the world like twin banners of pride.

No one knows that he’s been my cathartic outlet since I was seventeen; that he was born out of the madness following childhood tragedy. That he’s my much needed escape from reality, my purge of all the fear and rage. They can’t know that at times, he’s still the only solace I seek, my most trusted confidant.

Mostly, they don’t know that I’m a girl.

A young woman frayed at the edges behind an easy smile. Picking at the threads of my seams when no one’s looking. They have no clue that Sid isn’t my only sordid outlet.

In my private life, I’m a submissive of the Alternative Lifestyle known by and large as Kink. I found it quite naturally and never looked for anything else, even though I always ruin it. A subconscious demand stemming from my many contradictions, which, eventually–and without fail–push me to rebel against contentedness and comfort.

I’m the good girl in need of a strict-ass Dom who won’t put up with my shit. Though, in all fairness, it’s a lot of shit. I really can’t blame them for falling for the lies I tell myself, while pulling the wool over their eyes because they let me get away with it before. It’s not their fault I’m constantly testing them and watching them fail. Somewhere in the dark complexities of my mind, they’re fighting the inevitable.

I don’t have issues, so much as a solid record.

But Hayden’s not failing. He’s calling me out on my BS at our first meeting, switching up the rules of engagement from any other Dom I’ve ever met and you’d think that was a good thing. Except, good things are like bad thing’s crack, and I feel Sid creeping out of his cage, just waiting to make a long-lasting impression.

I don’t know if this is going to be an amazing ride or the toughest trial of my life, but I do know one thing: I’m destined to fuck it all up. I won’t be able to stop myself. I will tow the line, bend the knee, and earn my “good girls” – but in the end, I’m still a self-sabotaging mess seeking a miraculous change, while fighting tooth-and-nail to remain exactly the same.

~ Catherine Maxine Nicholson

Meet The Character | The Sadist

Screams thread the very fabric of my existence, weaving worlds of pain, blood, and pleasure together. Like any addict or connoisseur, I do have my preferences. Emissions of pleasure wrought by pain are, indeed, my favorite. But I am the Harvester; the one my Head of House turns to when he needs answers. My skills are legendary, as are my results.

They say you can’t glean truth through torture. I say they’re not doing it right. Besides, we’re not human. Most of the creatures who end up on my cross can regenerate within days, if not hours. And trust me, the agony of regrowing bones is far more excruciating than having them ripped out of your body. Loyalties never fail to leach into the bloodstained floor at my feet, the truth pouring out faster than bodily fluids.

I am the sadist without remorse, the second most powerful Elemental in the Phoenix Down Territory. Redford is my Household. Scotland is the one I answer to, for Fire is the demon I feed. But I am also half of a cruelly enforced bond. Berlin is my equal in every possible way, the only enemy I could never defeat on the battlefield and now we are two parts of a shared judgement, sentenced by Aeolus, himself. Due to our major parts in the Territory Wars, we’re now cursed with the inability to find satiation without each other. We live, eat, fight, and fuck together.

It’s much kinkier than it sounds, for Berlin is Water, my natural enemy. Our Elements are fatal to one another’s, making life and fun a little on the tricky side to accomplish with any kind of satisfaction. Of course, we found a loophole–quite a painful one, at that–an exchange I usually endure awash in Berlin’s screams.

Nothing we’ve ever known compares to the one we’re sent to capture for our Elder. Even while her Water slays me, her instant connection with Berlin riles this sadist like nothing else on earth. Because I heard her scream. And, fuck, it was like the maddening ride of an opium haze laced with delirious obsessions, triggering an orgasmic high in each of my senses. I can’t get enough. I would coax the full range out of her if it took an eternity, and I’d devour each pitch until her screams were infused with my soul–if only she were mine to render in pain so reverently.

~ Damascus Dmitri Redford

My Review ♥ Sell My Soul by Jade West

BLURB

Sixty days of total submission. 
No safe words. No limits. No holds barred. 
Sixty days of your body being used and abused and pushed to extremes.

Then you were free to go, no further dues, thanks and goodbye. 
And your bank balance looked seriously healthy for the experience. 

I should never have been tempted. Not for a second. 
I should never have even thought about putting myself up for sale for sixty days, not after hearing the brutal tales of what happens to you. 
But I had to. 
My sister desperately needed the money. Needed Me. Needed more than I could ever give her. 

I’d just never have guessed in a million years that soon enough I’d be needing him.
The beautiful stranger. 
The dangerous monster. 
The guy who’d be responsible for my pleasure and pain and everything between for sixty days straight. 
And the man who’d want my very soul along with my body. 

No holds barred doesn’t even come close to his requirements. 
But I’m willing to give him everything. 

First full-length novel in a trilogy.

♥ My Review ♥

Title: Sell My Soul (Sixty Days, #1)
Author: Jade West
Length: Full Length
Genre: BDSM Erotic suspense
Rating: 5 Depraved ♥’s

Holy f&ck, I’m still shaking. This book is a tumultuous ride between self-loathing, self-evaluation, societal judgment, loneliness, betrayals, the darkest of sadomasochistic depravities and family drama. And the sixty days hasn’t even begun yet!

I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Brandon and Paige, because their worlds are already unraveling at the seams and their desires are already flaring out of control, which can’t be a comfortable situation for such a sadistic, controlling monster like Brandon.

And when I say monster (as I drool all over myself), I mean that both endearingly and literally. The man is a whole new definition unto himself.

Could you give your mind, body and soul over to the darkest sadists in the underground for a whole 60 days just for a fat payday?

What if it was the only way to keep your sister alive? Paige is a better person than I am and my sister would be screwed 6 ways from Sunday, while I was still recovering from the test on the beach…omg, no spoilers, just READ THE BOOK!!!

♥ This is an honest review from a book I got during a free promotion. It was not given to me in exchange for this review and I would happily purchase this book, along with the other two I now need to one-click in a hurry! 🙂

#NewRelease ♥ Scavenger!

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It’s day two of the exclusive getaway on Dark Day Isle, and Felix’s smoldering lust isn’t the only thing to greet Tessa come morning. A list of challenges awaits her; finding the courage to confront her Master, devious tests of kink designed to push her limits and an unpleasant punishment that effects more than just their temporary dynamic.

Afternoon events provide insight on the getaway’s purpose and leads them deeper into the resort’s naughty, fetish-catering amenities. Tessa and Felix’s individual struggles are interspersed with visiting friends, unexpected triggers and a meeting of competitive spirits during the evening’s activity.

When Tessa’s true feelings about the cage are revealed, so is one of Felix’s well-guarded secrets that leaves her stunned. Now, Master expects to learn something from her in return and Tessa dreads what he might deem an even exchange for a truth he never wanted her to know.

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A.C. Melody is a hybrid author of Erotic Romance and all its savory sub-genres. Confessed javaholic, introverted geeky girl with a twisted sense of humor and a wretched muse. She has a weakness for hard ass Alphas and the strong women who capture their hearts, without damaging their rough edges.

A lifetime lover of fairytales, myths, legends and ancient pantheons, A.C. spends more time researching than writing. Her biggest goal is to provide new, captivating angles on old, favorite tales with enticing twists and characters that redefine preset expectations.

She’s 100% guilty of placing all her money on the underdogs,anti-heroes and shameless whores. When A.C. isn’t writing, being mom or doing the day-job gig, you can catch her gaming, binge-watching Netflix or anxiously awaiting the new superhero movie (specifically, Deadpool 2). A.C. loves to hear from her readers and can be found at any of the following sites:

 

 

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Scavenger (Dark Day Isle, The Ultimate Kink Resort #2)
A.C. Melody
Full length / Erotic Romance

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It’s day two of the exclusive getaway on Dark Day Isle, and Felix’s smoldering lust isn’t the only thing to greet Tessa come morning. A list of challenges awaits her; finding the courage to confront her Master, devious tests of kink designed to push her limits and an unpleasant punishment that effects more than just their temporary dynamic.

Afternoon events provide insight on the getaway’s purpose and leads them deeper into the resort’s naughty, fetish-catering amenities. Tessa and Felix’s individual struggles are interspersed with visiting friends, unexpected triggers and a meeting of competitive spirits during the evening’s activity.

When Tessa’s true feelings about the cage are revealed, so is one of Felix’s well-guarded secrets that leaves her stunned. Now, Master expects to learn something from her in return and Tessa dreads what he might deem an even exchange for a truth he never wanted her to know.

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Welcome to Dark Day Isle, the Ultimate Kink Resort ♥ #Free eBook

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Tessa Fauns has but one dream: Move to France and never leave.
So when she’s offered the chance to get enough money, while putting her bilingual skills to use, how can she possibly say no?
The fact that it requires her to join a select group of Club Vitalz submissives for a week-long kinkfest in paradise is just the icing on the cake!

Unless, it’s too good to be true…

Despite all of her experience in the BDSM lifestyle, Tessa isn’t prepared for the extravagant activities their mysterious host has planned–nor the clash of unexpected emotions her new temporary Dom awakens inside of her.
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