Thursday, June 10, 2010

Atttributes of a Leading Man

I received a comment from Alex Riley on Authonomy (who is a great writer, BTW) and she mentioned her amusement at the Americanized romanticism of Scottish men because of Lindsey's reaction to Aiden's accent and kilt in Between.

It got me to thinking about the attributes that we find attractive in leading men. Sure, handsome is a given, but what about beyond that? I, in particular, have a thing for Scottish men (thanks to Diana Gabaldon). I could listen to a Scottish man talk all day; I adore the accent.

What do you like in a leading man? Is there anything in particular that really works for you?

(Side note: this is a topic at the upcoming RWA conference, too!)


  1. As you already know, Cyndi, Scotsmen melt my heart too, that is why I have one, or more, in each of my books.
    Qualities for a leading man - as you say, handsomeness is a given, be they well groomed or rugged but I also like to give mine a touch of vulnerability. There's nothing to touch a woman's heartstrings than a man with tears in his eyes. It's not being soft, it's life.
    And men don't always have to be heroes, they can be taken care of too.
    I think as writers, we can create our own perfect man and give him the attributes we want them to have and in turn we fall in love with them.
    At least I do.

  2. Mine tend to be rather repressed, it must be said.

    Glad to have provoked a blog post! :D

  3. For me, handsome is nice, but more than that I awnt him to be a person I admire. I want a strong, capable, sure, passionate man. Looks are relative and what some people find attractive others don't. Especially in fiction where I'm building the visual myself anyway, I want the character's traits and actions to be what moves and stimulates me.

  4. All great points. Loving the feeback! :)

  5. I couldn't think of anything, so I just decided to follow your blog. :) JK

    I like a leading man with a good sense of humor, who likes kids, who is able to ride a horse, who stands up for what is right, who is strong in character, who is able to cry, who doesn't notice things like how much the woman weighs or how badly she cooks, but rather understands how smart she is. He doesn't have to be the most handsome, he does have to be the one who loves the woman unconditionally (but not in a creepy, stalker way :)).

  6. Interesting points all; I didn't think I was so different in preferring my leading man to be very wicked and irreligious, not given to displays of (positive) emotion (some of them have dreadful tempers), uncommonly clever and the last sort of person one would expect to fall in love. These are traits that, the more I thought about it, ALL my leading male characters have in common. Strange, I'd never noticed it before...

  7. But, Alex, in the end do we really want to live out our lives with the rogue? Hmmm...on second thought, I think we just might. :) I'm going to add some more irreverence to my fictional leading man... :) When did you pull Victoria Sponge from Autho?

  8. Just after Easter, I think. Then I left Autho for a while during my exams, now I'm back with a new one - and another dastardly anti-hero. And yes, I think I definitely do want to live out my life with the rogue. Unfortunately, I am more likely to get many, many cats. :D

  9. My hubby sent me a sweet text this morning to let me know he's thinking of me. I, of course, love that, but I don't think I'd write in that quality for a leading man. I think it would come across as too mushy, that the reader would react like, "Ugh, no one's sweet like that!" and stop reading.

    So maybe what we want in real life doesn't actually synch up with what we want in a leading man on the page.

  10. Ah, leading men. So many swoon-worthy types. To be honest, I find that while danger and excitement is attractive in leading men in fiction, I don't want so much of that from real life (definitely not the danger part. No spies for me, thanks!)