Recently I asked in a blog discussion what a romantic hero's qualities should be. The answers came back : he should have integrity, honesty, courage, loyalty, compassion, kindness. In addition he needs a sense of humour and should be fierce and passionate.
How do we picture our hero when we write or read a novel? If we give him some or most of the above qualities, do we want them to be hidden by a moody exterior or do we want our hero to stride across the pages, straight-backed, fiercely gazing at his foes or merrily facing his troubles with a carefree front? Shall we add faults, weaknesses for him to overcome, a problem with his character, an unattractive appearance or maybe an external difficulty such as poverty to test him? And is our hero aware that he is a romantic hero?
Georgette Heyer had her tongue firmly in her cheek when she wrote in 'Devil's Cub' that the prim Frederick Comyn "cherished a love for the romantic, which the Marquis of Vidal, a very figure of romance, quite lacked."
It's tricky to give a precise description of a character when you are writing a novel. We all have our own idea of beauty and want to project that onto the hero in the story we are reading. Only Colin Firth has been [almost] universally accepted as Mr Darcy. But we're each of us entitled to draw inspiration from the type of man we prefer - and isn't it a good job we all like different physical types!!
Here are some of the guys who help me create a hero for a story.
Guess I rather like dark hair in a hero.... but notice I put Sean Bean at the top.