Creating memorable main male characters (heroes).
In real life, you judge people through their actions, how they react to other people, animals, children and their environment. You’ll like people who are kind, truthful, compassionate, adaptable, broad-minded, calm, charming, generous, sincere and warm-hearted.
In fiction, you want to read and enjoy a story with characters who have some, or all of these character traits. You probably desire to fall in love with the main male character (especially if you are reading romance). He doesn’t need perfection. A few quirks make him interesting. The main thing is his core values are as solid as his chest (oh, okay not all heroes, oops main male characters, are built like Kendwa).
I try to give my characters depth by showing their vulnerabilities as well as their strengths. My men cry, but I don’t have them opening bawling their eyes out like a baby (unless the love of their life just died). No, there will be moist eyes, the twitch of a cheek, a clenched fist, a confession to the best buddy; action and dialogue showing that he’s vulnerable and human.
Being people, we want to read about other human stories. We want to laugh, cry, celebrate, grieve and fight for them. If you have no investment in what happens to them, I haven’t done a good enough job as a writer.
I am a mother of three boys and married to a self-confessed softy husband. I know a bit about male emotions. Seriously, I didn’t need to read Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus to understand our differences. It’s blatantly obvious in a house full of males.
- knee footy is a sport
- fart jokes are fun
- socks on the floor don’t get to the laundry themselves
- two-word answers are a big conversation
- some jokes Mum doesn’t need to hear
- everyone, from the coach to the footy team, is welcome in our home (stray dogs included)
- the fridge is always empty
- bliss is a full bath, an empty house and a book ( haha, that’s just me not them)
- boys hearts break as hard as girls (millions of pieces to pick up)
- males have solid mates who they stick up for no matter what
- dogs don’t walk themselves (nor do they pick up their own poo)
- anything lost is always found (with a female look, not a ‘man look’)
- boys are the best huggers
I decided to make Kendwa exceptionally good-looking (he isn’t much aware of it though), strong (Tarzan type) and appealing, but he has flaws that make him endearing. He cares deeply for those he loves, second-guesses himself, is tough on himself, is reckless in the wild because of his lack of fear, tries too hard to please everyone, stuffs up (but makes amends), his environmental crusade sometimes clouds the other important things in his life and he has a secret that he keeps (which makes us wonder, what is he hiding?). Enough to keep you interested in him right? Oh, I could add that he protects wildlife, climbs trees, wrangles crocodiles, travels the wilds of Africa, recovers from all sorts of injuries, is as exotic as his name, has mesmerising turquoise eyes and dimples to boot.
The best MMC is one who is relatable, but he also takes you on a journey. He’s the kind of guy you fantasise about. He evolves through the story by making up for any of his flaws. I don’t have a picture of his face on my covers because I believe all readers imagine their own perfect version of Kendwa or any other MMC. The view in their brain is as unique as the character I create on the pages.
How did you see Kendwa when you read the book?