Women in books are not the only ones to have the same over-done character traits. Men are also troubled with it, and I can’t speak for men, but I think they are tired of it, too. A lot of male characters in books seem to always be ‘muscular’ ‘dreamy’ ‘bad boys’; a glimpse into the world of what women want men to be. But, they are people too. If the men in your book have only 3 qualities (like the ones I just listed), you may want to keep reading.
This list will be different than the previous. Mostly because I don’t have any good ideas in my head of particular men who show all of the good qualities. I’m sure there are plenty, I just can’t think of any! These are tropes in male characters that you should either avoid or have very good reasoning’s behind it.
- Muscular/Body-Builder Physic. A man with a nice six pack or bulging muscles is nice, but is it really necessary? If you’re writing a romantic story, keep in mind, not every woman in the world is attracted to this body type. Believe it or not. Some think it’s superficial, or simply don’t like it. Unless you’re writing about a Roman soldier fighting in battles, or a jock on a football team, think about why he needs all those bulging muscles coming out of his forearms. Also, not every man who is strong, looks strong. I know a few men who look scrawny, but can still lift a lot.
- Blue-Eyed Babe. A trend I’ve noticed is men who have gorgeous blue eyes. Why? Why is this a thing? I’m personally flattered because I have blue eyes too, but guys, it’s a pretty common eye color. I know that guys with nice eyes can be attractive (no matter what color) but this is also, another physical trait. Why not mention how “His blue eyes stare inquisitively at the trigonometry assignment that he seemed to understand in just seconds.” You mention the color, (which is not a bad thing) but then also why the person describing him is attracted to him. And it’s not just because of the color of his iris’s.
- Dreamy/Hunk. This touches a bit of the blue-eye babe part, but with more over-all appearance. His hair is feathery and sexy, he’s tall, dark and handsome, his voice is deep and sultry. When I think of this ‘type’, a face that immediately comes to mind is Prince Charming from Shrek. I understand this is a cartoon and that his name is literally ‘Prince Charming’, so it makes sense why he is this way. But this type of man is usually the center of attention for a main woman protagonist. This is the guy she has dreams about and wants to marry someday. Blech.
- The Bad-Boy. Basically the complete opposite of the hunk, is the bad boy. I put him on here not to say you shouldn’t have a ‘bad-boy’ type, but to make sure it’s done right. Why is he a rebel? Just to attract the MC? Not a good enough reason. More than any other type, he needs a backstory. Is his home life a mess? Does he struggle in school, causing his rebellious attitude towards teachers? Give the readers a reason, not just ‘because that’s who he is.’ I’m no psychologist, but no one misbehaves just because.
- The Dummy. This usually applies towards the secondary characters rather than the MC or the love-interest, but it’s rather annoying. It seems like a trope, at least in video games that the woman is ‘the genius’ or ‘the witch/spell caster’, the more ‘intelligent’ one. If there is already a tough guy, the other guy is usually not as strong or dumber. He’s only around for jokes. Or to make fun of. I think of Joey from FRIENDS is fitting for this type. Yes, he has a sensitive side, but he’s known as the idiot of the group. People can be dumb at times and I know there are people out there that are seriously not all there, but don’t make them known for that. It’s insulting.
- Sex. Last but certainly not least, is that all men want to do is have sex. Their motive, their drive, their reason for breathing air, is to get in someones pants. They make remarks, and flirt non-stop, or possibly always want to have sex with their partner. Women are nothing but a slab of meat and make snide comments to their friends about how much they want someone. Some guys do have this problem, but it’s usually just as they hit puberty and it’s not vocalized to this extent. Yes, sex may be something on their mind, but that’s usually where it stays 98% of the time.
I won’t list all of the positive traits men should have, because I feel they should be your basic everyday traits of people like me and you.
I’ll use my character Silas as an example. The first impression I gave him was almost that of a homeless person. He was dirty, unkempt, a little quiet but strong. He was not someone you would really find attractive at first sight, but from his actions and his wit, he is the ‘love interest.’ I tried not to clump him into one category, therefore, I feel he is more interesting to read.
Guys, what are your feelings on this? Like I said, I can’t personally relate since I’m a woman, but I would like to know your thoughts! ##