Thirteen Mistakes Your Hero Should Never Make

Last week, I talked about mistakes your heroine should never make. To give equal time, let’s do the hero this week.

  1. And of course, this is the biggie: Sleeping around – the hero must be committed to the heroine, even if this is a historical or in a society where men are expected to have more than one mate. Our heroine is US and we don’t want our man heading off to see another woman and get into her bed. If he did that before he met us, then something’s changed and he won’t do it now, even before he’s in love with us.
  2. Being mean – We all like the bad boys. We all like sexy, tough, Alpha males, but just making your hero mean isn’t how you show toughness. Don’t have him pick on someone smaller or laugh at the villain’s misfortune. If he’s going to get into a fight, there needs to be a reason for it, and he should always defend the little guy.
  3. Talk about other women – I think this should be self-explanatory, but discussing old girlfriends is a no-no. Maybe if you want to weave this into the story as part of the conflict, okay, but remember don’t go overboard or we’re going to wonder what she sees in him.
  4. Put his friends above the heroine – Years ago on Oprah or something I heard a guy say, “Wives can come and go, but a best friend is there forever.” I wonder if his wife came and went. Again, if this is part of the conflict, proceed cautiously.
  5. Judge her harshly on her past mistakes – I’m in the middle of a book I’m reading by request and I’m finding it hard to get past the first couple of chapter because all through this so far, the hero has done nothing but accuse the heroine of bad things, some of which he had a part in, and treat her like dirt because she made mistakes in the past. I just don’t like him and I don’t care about reading more about him to see how he gets past this.
  6. Assume she’s bad because of rumors – This is a corollary to the last one. In the beginning, he might have heard rumors about her, but as he gets to know her, he should be able to see past all that.
  7. Keep telling her “if you knew the real me, you wouldn’t like me” – I will admit that I haven’t read this much, but I did date a guy who said this often, and apparently so has my daughter. It’s annoying. Don’t do it.
  8. Take himself too seriously – Let your hero have a sense of humor and let him be a buffoon once in a while. I love Antonio Bandaras because as sexy as he is, he plays takes parts which allows him to be a buffoon once in a while and it’s endearing.
  9. Dress too well or be too sophisticated -Few women want a man who knows more about fashion than she does. Even fewer want one who looks better than she does.
  10. Be all good looks – You might think this is the same as the last one, but this one means give your hero a brain. Let him have something to talk about with the heroine. Some day all that muscle and good looks will fade, and the conversation will be boring.
  11. Be too confident or too insecure – Overconfidence comes across as arrogance and too much insecurity is creepy.
  12. Announce right off that he’s not interested in marriage – Neither is she, probably, at the beginning of the book, but to have either one say it is very off-putting and a little cocky.
  13. Talk down to her – He may be smart and cute and all that, but if he treats her like a slow child, she should walk away and not look back!

I’d love to hear if you have any other “rules” for our heroes.

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