Happy April’s Fool Day! I regret that I don’t have any tricks to play on you to celebrate the holiday. Just can’t think of any and I’m too nice anyway. Ha! If you only knew me. I’m sure you don’t mind it though that I’m going to talk about a favorite subject–heroes and the different types. My Filly sister, Elizabeth Lane, touched on this subject a bit in her Thursday blog but I wanted to approach it from another angle. Besides, I already had this one written and it’d be a pure sin to waste it. lol
All of us can agree that heroes come in all shapes and sizes. We have our dark brooding kind, the fun-loving ones, the ordinary men who have hero status thrust on them, and the professional men who are born heroes and can’t be anything different. A lot of heroes are a combination of several types and that’s interesting.
The dark brooders are those who’ve seen a passel of grief and wouldn’t know a smile if it bit him on the butt. Life is serious business for these men, but he’s more than capable of handling whatever it throws at him. He’s had to learn things the hard way. This is my favorite kind of man to write. My hero, Duel McClain, in Knight on the Texas Plains was a brooder. But my ultimate bad boy was Brodie Yates in Redemption. Brodie was even more dark and tortured. Both Duel and Brodie had been through hell and back and didn’t see much sense in pretending they hadn’t. Yet, their spirit was unbroken by life’s trials. In fact, the trials had only served to make them stronger and more determined. They were men few would dare cross.
Fun-loving heroes are interesting and a joy to write. They come across as men who are full of tomfoolery. They like to joke and laugh, but underneath all the merry-making lies a gritty toughness. Men of this nature can deliver stiff punishment to those who trample on their idea of law and order. Any man would be a fool to think these heroes are soft or weak. I’ve only written one hero that falls in this category. That’s Luke McClain in The Cowboy Who Came Calling. Luke had so much heart and a need to be helpful that it sometimes got in the way of listening to the heroine’s desires, especially when it came to taking care of her farm. Luke could charm the horns off a Billy goat in nothing flat. Fun-loving heroes are simply irresistible.
Ordinary men who have hero status thrust on them are great characters to write. They can be shopkeepers, blacksmiths, ranchers, or plain old dyed-in-the-wool saddle tramps. They really have no desire to achieve glory or to be anything more than what they are. They only want to do their jobs and live their lives. It’s when they run up against bad men that they find strength they don’t know they have. Ordinary men can be formidable when it comes to writing wrongs. Payton McCord, my hero in The Love Letter of the “Give Me a Texan” anthology was this type of man. He had no desire to be anything more than a good cow hand, tend the cattle, and draw a fair day’s wage. But when everyone turned on the woman sheep herder and tried to run her off her land, he had to step in to help her. And he does it in fine fashion I might add.
The professional hero, the toughest and most rugged, is a man who hasn’t had to learn his skills. They were simply born to him. He’s not a brooder, although he does brood. To put it simply, he’s a doer and a seeker. It’s his job to fight injustice wherever he finds it and he feels his duty deep down in the marrow of his bones. He has a strength and power that is unequaled. No one is going to get the best of him without a heck of a fight on their hands. He can outshoot, outfight, and outwit the meanest of the mean. This kind of man is fun to pit against a stubborn, god-awful determined woman. Makes for some searing sparks. I use this type of hero in my upcoming story, Texas Tempest, which is part of a new anthology called “Give Me a Cowboy.” McKenna Smith is a gun-for-hire with a conscience. He can handle anything life dishes out. . .except for a beautiful widow who’s buried five husbands.
So there you have it without the April fool. What kind of hero are you holding out for? What kind makes your heart flutter and your knees go weak? Inquiring minds want to know.