Friday, June 22, 2012


By Suleikha Snyder

"Hero" is such a loaded word, bringing to mind men who rush into burning buildings, who leap them in a single bound. It's become shorthand, in romance, for your leading man. Someone larger than life, who leaps off the page with his heart on his sleeve, just as if it's a skyscraper. But what happens when your lead isn't a hero? No, no, he's not a villain...he doesn't pull the wings off butterflies or kick puppies...he's just a “guy”. A dude. Maybe even a dudebro.

I write a lot of guys and not so many heroes - which is funny, since most of their occupations are as screen idols! To date, I've published stories about six actors, one football player and a hotshot doctor. And while most of them are used to being adored by the masses and put up on pedestals as gods, they're also flawed and frustrating. They'll mess up. They'll fall. They will probably forget your birthday and possibly leave you for another woman - or a man! But they'll work at being better, and they'll apologize, and they'll still love you in the best way they know how. That's the best way that I know to write them.

I think it comes from years of watching soaps - where no Happily Ever After comes easily. Watching purported heroes have to “fight” to get back to their heroine, often after affairs and marriages with other people, I lost interest in perfection. Because you just “knew” they were going to screw up. And as annoying as it is to yell, "Oh my God, stop being a douche!" at your TV, there's a huge measure of satisfaction when the guy finally gets it right. I “love” it when he gets it right...when you get that big gesture, or that big speech, after all the pain.

I love writing that moment, too...but I try to remember, at all times, that my characters are just dudes. It's not going to be perfect. It might even be incredibly awkward. Even if they're cribbing lines from a Bollywood script. The lucky thing about writing dialogue punched up with Hindi and Bengali is that men can say flowery things in those languages that would sound utterly ridiculous in English. But it's still a fine line to walk. Why do we love that iconic scene with Lloyd Dobler and the stereo so much? He “didn't” "Say Anything." To me, that is something a classic “guy” would do, because outside of romance novels and soaps and rom-coms, they don't really wax poetic about much. Except maybe the Yankees.

So I try to stay away from "heroes" - and let my dudes steal their way home.♥

Editor, writer, American desi and lifelong geek, Suleikha Snyder published her first romantic short in Ravenous Romance's 2011 TOUCHDOWNS anthology. 2012 brought a bevy of releases, including Suleikha's first novella from Samhain Publishing, SPICE AND SMOKE, a Wild Rose Press short story called HEART MURMURS, and a short in Cleis Press' SUITE ENCOUNTERS. Suleikha lives in New York City, finding inspiration in Bollywood films, daytime and primetime soaps, and Hell's Kitchen wine bars. Visit her at and follow "suleikhasnyder" on Twitter.

TOMORROW:   Do a DEADLY DANCE with Dee Davis' hero!



  1. Good post, Suleikha. I think regular guys are more interesting than heroes.

  2. Nice post! I agree, perfection isn't only unattainable. It's boring. :)