Book Boyfriends

real romance

Edward or Jacob?
Rochester or St. John Rivers?
Darcy or Wyckham (or Bingley)
Colonel Brandon or Willoughby?

We all have our favorite characters. Romances are full of them. Half the story is about the guy – the “hero.”

Romance heroes are larger than life. You can pick your favorite traits: wealth, power, danger, drop-dead gorgeous . .. How about an ex-Navy SEAL cowboy who’s independently wealthy and also a werewolf? Regardless, they share one characteristic – they are romantic. They know exactly what to say, or they figure it out and do it well.

Think about it. We don’t do book boyfriends’ laundry, deal with their families on holidays, or have to watch their programs on television. They just wait on us to pick them up so they can whisper fabulous things to us.

I have my steady book boyfriend – John Thornton from Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South. He’s my favorite because he’s made himself successful, yet he realizes he still needs to learn. He’s already on that path when he meets his heroine, Margaret, so he’s not doing it only for her. He sticks his foot in his mouth, he makes the wrong assumptions – he’s human.  Here’s a sample.

Writing book boyfriends can be more difficult. Let me give you an example from the manuscript that’s torturing me.

In the first incarnation, Gray and Maggie were two sweet people in love but have Maggie’s fiancé between them. The second draft was a mess. This third draft is my favorite – Gray is Maggie’s husband of convenience for various reasons. They’re still sweet, but now they both have flaws. The minute I let them argue, they came to life.

The problem? Gray ignored my plot. The more I wrote about him not wanting to be married, the more he insisted he wanted to be in love. He ran amok. As a result, I wrote WAY too much. I’ve spent the month in editing hell, and I’ve tortured my friends and beta readers.

The solution? I let him have his way – well, we compromised.

Turns out, reading about your book boyfriends lets you escape reality. Writing your book boyfriends is a lot more like real life.

Who’s your book boyfriend?

blog photoHarriet


I am a writer.

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