What I Learned From Three Steps To A Highly Hot Hero: RWA 2010 Blog Series

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Keegan Muse (Tom Welling)(*I love this guy, don’t you?*)


Three Steps to A Highly Hot Hero was a workshop presented at the RWA 2010 Conference by Rhonda Nelson, Kira Sinclair and Vicki Lewis Thompson.  The three authors discuss the steps to be taken in writing a hero that a reader can fall in love with.  Below are some of the points they discussed:

  • Your Hero should be hot:  No brainer, huh?  The hero should be physically attractive, especially to the heroine.  She should inherently trust him, and her attraction to him overrides any feelings of reluctance on her part to enter into a relationship.
  • He should be intelligent:  Nobody wants someone who can’t think his way out of a paper bag (and that’s the truth)!
  • He should be strong, physically and emotionally:  This is a big one, for obvious reasons.  The heroine should be able to depend on him, both emotionally and physically.  Not to say that she’ll need or want to depend on him, but she should be able to. 
  • He should be honest and noble:  Sometimes honesty is much more difficult than telling a lie, but a hero always abides by his sense of honor, even if it’s the harder thing to do.
  • He should be confident but not arrogant:  And yes, admittedly there is a fine line between the two.
  • He should be generous:  Especially with his heroine.  Generous with money, and with his time.
  • He should be a protector:  Protector of the innocent, protector of others, protector of his heroine.
  • He should be romantic:  Or at least try. Winking smile

So basically, think “Knight in Shining Armor”, because that’s what he will be to the heroine.

Listening to the authors go over this list of character traits for heroes, I must say that I generally agree.  Even if you are writing a strong heroine (and they’re great), you still want a strong hero. 


That’s not say your characters shouldn’t have flaws.  Giving them flaws makes them three-dimensional and relatable.  Flaws also give characters the ability to grow throughout the book.

This workshop contains a great overview of heroes, and I recommend it to anyone who needs a little help hero-building.  Remember, you can purchase individual downloads of these workshops from RWA.

So, what do you think?  Do you agree that a modern-day hero should have all of the above traits?  Any other qualities you think a hero should have that are not on this list?


I will be continuing the RWA 2010 Blog Series throughout the month of October.  Below is a list of upcoming blogs in this series.  If you are interested in guest blogging on any of these topics, please let me know!






10/1 – 11 Senses – Who Knew?

10/4 – No More Sagging Middles

10/6 – Paranormals

10/8 – Romance That Snaps, Sizzles, and Pops

10/11 – A to Zs of Alpha Heroes

10/13 – Building Theme

10/15 – Doin’ It with Dialogue

10/18 – Humor, Heat, and Hooks

10/20 – Turn the Page! Writing Techniques

10/22 – Five Ingredients for Crafting a Big Book



8 thoughts on “What I Learned From Three Steps To A Highly Hot Hero: RWA 2010 Blog Series

    Rachel Firasek said:
    September 29, 2010 at 9:32 am

    I love writing a hero that’s ten feet tall and then throwing in the flaws to bring him back down to 6′ 2″.:)

      rosalielario responded:
      September 29, 2010 at 10:12 am

      He-he. I guess flaws are necessary. Nobody wants to read about someone who’s too perfect!

    Marsha A. Moore said:
    September 30, 2010 at 10:39 am

    I think those criteria are a good starting point, but it’s his flaws or unique qualities which will endear him to the heroine and the reader. Quirky characters are usually the most loved.

      rosalielario responded:
      September 30, 2010 at 10:59 am

      I completely agree, Marsha. And of course, some flaws are better than others. For example, (IMHO) a hero being a little overprotective is okay, but smothering crosses a line.

    claudia alexander said:
    October 1, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    Suzanne Brockman says that the hero who doesn’nt want to be a hero, or who thinks that he himself is scum, but who acts in a herioc way anyway, is the best sort of character to write. She contrasts Luke Skywalker with Han Solo. Luke is cute and everything, but it is Han Solo who the ladies want to go out with. And it’s because his herioism is buried inside.

      rosalielario responded:
      October 2, 2010 at 8:14 am

      Great point, Claudia. I think we’ve all known ‘that guy’, the one who thinks he’s god’s gift to women. That’s not sexy. Heroism is something that shouldn’t be flaunted (I think it goes back to that arrogance v. confidence distinction).

    Terry Spear said:
    October 6, 2010 at 8:08 am

    I remember reading that a hero is not someone who saves a child from drowning in a lake, but a man who is terrified of water who saves the child from the lake. It’s his past history, the flawed character, and fighting that personality defect that makes him heroic. 🙂

    Laure said:
    October 9, 2010 at 8:31 am

    Except that the guy that’s terrified of water might, realistically, flail and drown both he and the child, Terry. I’m not sure I want that in a hero. I want a guy that *can* save me, not one that’s too macho to accept that he might have to call 911 when the time comes. That’s where Alpha characters don’t always tend to seem realistic to me. 😉

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