Show Me the Love: Writing Heroes

Yesterday my husband shared this photo with me. My man, he’s not a showy, affectionate guy. So, this was particularly sweet to know that he thinks about the ways we love each other. And, it’s a truthful depiction of us, really.

But then, I started thinking about romance and how we have our characters show their feelings for one another, particularly our hero, when they’re in all this conflict.

Ways to show your hero cares, even when he kind of wants to throttle your heroine (even though he’d never do that because he’s a hero. And he loves her.)

1. He can’t help himself from taking care of her. And I don’t mean in the old-fashioned way, that she can’t take care of herself. She absolutely can take care of herself. Maybe she’s this super independent woman. She’s educated, she’s successful, she can change her own flat tires. But she has this silly fear of spiders. And she can call an exterminator. Of course, she can do that. It’s just, there’s one in her bedroom, right now. And she can’t go back in there. She maybe can’t even stay in her home, knowing that ginormous, mastermind spider is just waiting, biding it’s time, to catch her off guard and spring at her. So, he spends an hour searching for the pesky arachnid before ultimately finding it and killing it with one of her sandals.

Because time + effort = love. This will always be true.

2. He can complain about her all. day. long. He has a million reasons why she’s a crazy-making, devil of a woman. But nobody else can say a bad thing about her. Or he will all up in their business.

This is our modern day version of defending her honor. And heroes will always do that, from knights to astronauts. To vamps or weredragons, come to think of it.

3. He sees things in her that others don’t. Maybe that she doesn’t even see in herself. Take my super independent chick from above. Everyone else thinks she cold-hearted, calculating even (because, hey, that’s what our society thinks of women like that–but that’s another post). But he sees that she has a soft side. Maybe he recognizes it in the way she take time to comfort a person because she can relate to them. Maybe, instead of kicking someone when they’re down and climbing on top of their unconscious body to plant a conquering flag in their backside, she offers to help.

We have to give our heroines some traits that people can identify with. That’s key, and it’s also another post. But he sees those traits in her when everyone else writes them off or doesn’t even bother to notice.

Heroes recognize their heroines. They get who they are and they respect them for it.

Can you think of other ways for a hero to show his growing feelings for a heroine? I’d love to hear from you in the comments. If you’re a writer, feel free to include examples from your own stories.

“How do we write our heroes to show their feelings, in spite of conflict?” ~ Click to Tweet

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I could not find the creator of the lovely image above. I looked. I’d buy a print of it, if I could find it and gladly give credit / remove it, as they wish. If you know who owns this image, please let me know.


  1. Love this post Lori. Love. It.

    My other example is that even when the heroine makes mistakes, big ones, the hero will come to bail her out.

    He’ll rescue her from the side of the road with a flat tire, even when she should have gotten them changed weeks ago. He’ll give her a little grief over it because he’s mad, but he won’t leave her there.

    He’ll show up in the middle of the night in the jail house after she’s been arrested for lord, know’s what. He’ll wander through a hurricane force wind, thunderstorm to make sure her house doesn’t get flooded because the storm drains are blocked.

    And remember the heroine may not ask for help, but the hero’s there to play rescuer on the big things. The little stuff is taking care of her The big stuff is being the knight on the white horse.
    Landra Graf | The Next Big ThingMy Profile

  2. Author

    Exactly, that’s true. He can’t not be there when she needs him.

  3. Author

    Definitely love chivalry, Deb. Really, these are a teensy sample because our heroes are all different and they all have their own ways. But, when I write, I don’t want my hero to constantly be thinking about the heroine–I want him doing, too.

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