Sascha Illyvich is one of SavvyAuthors long-time instructors and teaches classes on BDSM and the male perspective in fiction. Have questions about writing that great hero? Check out Sascha’s class, Crafting the Male – Understanding His Mindset to create better characters starting Monday. ~ed.
Since I’m teaching the upcoming Savvy Authors Workshop “Male POV: Creating Better Heroes” I thought we could talk about the emotional stretching and fun an author can have with creating different types of heroes, rather than writing the same ones over and over again. Over time, that can make you feel stale, stall your career and kill your joy of writing.
True, there is an understanding of depth the more you dig into the same type of hero.
Take Bruce Wayne – I understand him in and out because I’ve been writing characters like him for over a decade. But he’s the hero I recognize in parts of me, the author, except for when I don’t.
No longer does writing that brooding, dark hero with a crass sense of humor appeal to me. Good thing too, because even though my viewing habits haven’t changed, the characters I’m drawn to as a male romance author have veered slightly.
The latest realization I had was that my personal life has taken on certain aspects of Jax Teller (Charlie Hunan) from Sons of Anarchy – which has a benefit because it gives me the author, more fodder for different stories. The ability to play with more smart ass and grit, while keeping the story cohesive adds another level of fun to the job of writing.
Last year I wrote two heroes who were way out of my wheelhouse since marijuana and I were never friends. The two characters were heroes in this ménage, based on Harold and Kumar from Harold and Kumar go to Whitecastle. So, instead of grown men, I kinda got to write the proverbial 28 and 30-year-old jackass bros. I had to remember what that was like. Experience from the male POV told me little, I was never a bro-dude. But I have asshole (sic) friends, I smoke cigars with those guys! They just happen to all be in their late 40s and older!
The story was fun. Every year I start writing and I crank out solid material from January until about October/November and then I get burned out. Starting off 2015 with a Harold and Kumar character set made me realize I needed to pair the two men with a heroine who was of their age, spunky, and then throw them into a unique, but humorous plot.
It kept the writing fun.
By the way, outlaw biker nuns.
Just remember that. It’s the premise behind Road to Seduction, out from City Lights Press now.
I suppose I should have started this off with I’ve been writing and publishing for eighteen years. I’ve written a myriad of males in my erotica and erotic stories. Everything from the Domly Dom, to the captain of industry, the hitman, the spy, the Billionaire (I was doing that before it was a thing!) and beyond. As stated earlier, they all sounded similar. Sort of the way some of the older guard authors have series characters where, there might be ONE ALPHA, but all the heroes in the books of the series are alpha in their own right?
The new model of publishing has allowed us to start pushing boundaries with character development and why not? What art needs is art, good, quality, art. Everything else is irrelevant. But to continue pushing boundaries in said art, we as authors must grow and shift, look at new avenues for inspiration.
Our readers are primarily female and even in 2018, I’m still the odd “man out.” I read romance, that much I’ve made clear over the last two decades. I’ve been able to identify with both heroes and heroines, but my key, the takeaway I bring to the table, is the rarity (and it still is) of being a real, male romance writer.
That said, in creating my art, to keep it fresh for me, and fresh for my audiences, I’ve been pulling inspiration from other places. TV shows like Lucifer have been a recent inspiration. Lucifer himself is quite an egomaniac and rather self-centered, though his growth in the show is slow, he does grow over time.
Even in music, have my tastes shifted slightly to reflect the need for a different sort of hero. Normally, I listen to what I call “Adult anger” music. Metal that reflects the depth of aggression that’s pointed, focused on a target and are ready to kill it. Bury it.
You know, old Alpha Male bullshit.
One of my bartenders suggested I check out Emmure, a deathcore/djent metal band. They hit hard! Love them, but lyrically, the theme seems to be undirected angst, that of a teenager or 20 something. It’s definitely different and may find a way into some of my newer work when I start going over the novels I wrote last year. Think about all that angst you felt in high school, and put that into your character.
The point I’m making overall is that when you learn how to understand the hero in your novels, you can then learn how to craft any sort of hero that interests you and your readers, pushes your boundaries and helps you create quality art.
A native of Texas, Sascha is the industry acknowledged Bad Boy of Romance, writing stories so hot they must be whispered.
Sascha, who was proclaimed by the publishing industry as The Bad Boy of Romance, started writing fifteen years ago. His erotic romances have been listed under Night Owl Romance’s and Road to Romance’s Recommended read lists, and he’s been nominated for a CAPA by The Romance Studio. Recently, Torn to Pieces was a USA TODAY Recommended Read.
Sascha is a trained and experienced public speaker, and enjoys giving talks and teaching, particularly on aspects of romance, erotic romance, and writing. He was the former host of The Unnamed Romance Show on Radio Dentata, and is fond of doing guest spots and interviews, on both traditional radio and podcasts.