Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Arrr! or not?

At a critique group meeting last night one of the guys questioned the bit where my werewolf hero gets a little fangy at the scent of his (potential future) mate. This got me thinking about romance heroes in general. We don't always want the same things in our fiction that we want in real life, do we? Pirates, for instance, are popular in fiction. In reality? They probably weren't exactly nice guys. They'd be away from home most of the time. And honestly how often did they bathe? Ick. Same goes for cowboys. They might be perfect gentlemen, but notice how in fiction none of them ever chew tobacco or smell like horse poo? And then there's the idea of the "big bad alpha hero." In real life, would you want to live with someone who had to be right every single time? Who made every decision? I don't think so.

And you know what? I think that's all right. Even the most realistic of contemporary romances is, in a sense, a fantasy. Throwing in werewolves and vampires and more Regency noblemen than would actually fit in London only makes it a little more obvious. All fiction is essentially fantasy, in that some hardworking author sat down and made it up. And she made it up to entertain readers, by taking them away from their own problems for a few hours. That's why I write, anyway.

So give me nice alpha heroes and non-smelly pirates. It's all right by me. Yes, a touch of reality can be funny or poignant, so add them in when it works, but don't try too hard. It's okay to enjoy the fantasy.

What do you think? Is there a romance hero you love? Can't stand? Something you'd like to see more of, or less? I'd love to know what you think.


Julia Mills said...

I think you are absolutely right!!! I Love my alpha male heroes all hunky and domineering and "smelling of the outdoors and leather"! We read for the fantasy, the escape, the ability to go somewhere else for just a little while and let the world just fade away! Romance novels and their amazing heroes rival a "Calgon moment" anytime, anywhere!
Give me a take charge, no shit leather wearing, HOT ALPHA male hero any day! There are the oh so tasty sprinkles on my sundae!!!

Renee Vincent / Gracie Lee Rose said...

Well, Cindy, you bring up an interesting point. Lots of historical characters were probably not so "clean" or smelled of musky male cologne, tantalizing to the senses. However, it's fiction and we can make even the most likely hero who wreaks of stench smell divine.

Case and point, my Viking heroes. While they were typically born in an era when bathing was not a necessity, they were sometimes (contrary to popular belief) the cleanest men of Europe. They were smart enough to know that if they wanted to score the attentions (and affections) of the king's daughters, they had to be pleasing to the eye and the nose, hence their regular use of combs, clips and braids.

So, yeah....I like a big, burly, Alpha male hero (even when history says otherwise) to be clean, smell of leather and musk, and pretend that he bathes on a regular basis. LOL

Great post!

Naima Simone said...

First, let me say I think it's pretty cool when the werewolf goes fangy and a bit feral when he catches the scent of his mate. Just my two-cents...but anyhoo, I luvs me some alpha heroes. For instance, how nice would it have been to live with a Highlander? In real life, I don't think it would've been too pleasant. But in a romance where he's clean-shaven, smells nice and--while Alpha--still listens and appreciates his woman? Love him!!

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Glad you ladies are women after my own heart! Thanks for stopping by!