Friday Speak Out!: The Sweet Romantic Hero – A Myth in Contemporary Romance?, Guest post by Sydney Logan

Friday, August 02, 2013
Admittedly, I’m new to the publishing game. My love stories are sweet, contemporary romances with happy-ever-afters featuring male characters who adore their women. My men are patient, kind, sweet, and devoted.

According to some reviewers, my guys are also a little too perfect.

I had no idea this type of man was such a myth in contemporary romance, but according to some, these qualities in a man are unrealistic. As a new author, it makes it difficult to find a home in the writing world.

As a woman, it makes me sad.

In my latest novel, Mountain Charm, Dylan Thomas is a Nashville reporter who has been sent to the Smoky Mountains to write a story about Appalachian witchcraft. He falls hard for Angelina Clark, an Appalachian witch who had cast a love spell when she was a young girl. Dylan is stubborn and bitter—thanks to his father leaving when he was a toddler. Dylan also has quite a temper, especially where Angelina is concerned. He tends to act before he thinks, and he ends up in jail twice during the course of the book because of his short fuse. To me, Dylan is incredibly flawed, despite the fact he is very much in love with Angelina and treats her well.

Are fictional guys only realistic when they treat their women like crap? Or, do they have to be tattooed “alpha males” with rock-hard abs (not that there’s anything wrong with that) to keep the attention of today’s reader?

Maybe nice guys really do finish last, which is a shame, because women deserve nothing less than to be adored—in fiction and in real life.

I would love to hear your thoughts.

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Sydney Logan is an Amazon bestselling author and holds a Master’s degree in Elementary Education. With the 2012 release of her first novel, Lessons Learned, she made the transition from bookworm to author. Her second novel, Mountain Charm, was released in July 2013.
Sydney has a very unhealthy obsession with music, and her iPod is filled with everything from Johnny Cash to Eminem. When she isn't reading or writing, she enjoys playing piano and relaxing on her front porch at her home in East Tennessee with her wonderful husband and their very spoiled cat. Please visit her on the web at

Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!



Sioux Roslawski said...

Sydney--Certainly, rock-hard abs catch my attention and make it linger for a moment.

And since I don't read romances, I probably should not open my mouth, but there ARE sweet guys in the real world. They don't all have to be tatted up and rough-around-the-edges to appeal to readers (I imagine).

Good luck with your books, Sydney.

Eugenia Parrish said...

Hi Sydney, this is a great post. It made me try to remember who described that grandmother of all romance novels, "Pride and Prejudice", as: "They're not perfect, they're just perfect for each other!"

You speak of his flaws, but you don't mention what is the conflict between them. I think the main thing in any novel is conflict, and in a romance it HAS to be between your two main characters. This is to say, the MAIN conflict is the one between them, the whole point of the story. This is NOT to say he should slap her around. He has to be a noble guy, otherwise why would our heroic heroine want anything to do with him? What I mean is that they have to be suspicious of each other at first, if not downright detest each other, bringing in clashes and rudeness and working at odds against each others' goals. Gradually, with bated breath, we watch as events cause their mutual respect to grow (reluctantly) until they realize they are perfect for each other and fall into each others' arms. But you have to keep up the suspense and conflict until nearly the end. Otherwise we just know they will get together anyway, and so who cares how or what scrapes they get into individually? There's not the same romantic conflict or suspense.

This said, I will admit that I haven't written a romance novel. I've studied hundreds of them and I wrote a lot of first drafts before I realized my heart wasn't in it (which is the most important part!) and wrote a women's lit novel instead. So take this as you will. :)

Unknown said...

Great post, thank you for pointing this out. I agree with you, the bad boy myth seems to have taken over as a general definition of masculinity. I love that there are books like yours out there to remind us all what we deserve.

Unknown said...

Thank you for your comments.

Eugenia, the conflict between my hero and heroine is that she is an Appalachian witch who cast a love spell when she was a young girl. Since that time, she's lost her father to cancer (despite her ability to heal) so she has lost all faith in the magic. When my hero arrives, he falls hard for her. Whether his feelings are real or are simply influenced by the spell is their conflict.

Thanks again for your comments!

LuAnn Schindler said...

Hi Sydney,
Interesting post.

As an editor, I have to agree with Eugenia. Yes, he can be sweet on the girl and nice as pie, BUT some form of conflict and tension has to be present. Even if it's just bubbling under the surface, readers can feel it churning. That's what keeps them reading.

A couple years ago, I interviewed Shannon K.Butcher. Now, if you haven't read any of her romantic suspense novels, you should! She gave some great tips about creating romantic tension. Here's the link:

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