When should the Hero walk through the door?

There was a discussion the other day on an e-loop that I’m apart of, discussing when a hero should make an appearance in a manuscript? Hmmm. Good question.

For me, because I write single title, he sometimes won’t show up for two or three chapters. And then contemporary writer friends have mentioned for their market, he needs to be there from the get go.

Now, this is all very well, but I read a book some weeks back, it was an historical medieval romance and it had me confused. Very confused.

The hero, and I’m not exaggerating, appeared at page 231 (chapter ten!) after the heroine had already married twice and both husbands had died.

Don’t get me wrong, I liked the book and I finished it, but the second husband seemed really nice and I could see the relationship (if the author allowed) could blossom into a romance of the greatest kind, but she didn’t. It was like she decided she didn’t want this fella and chose another to come into play. I started to wonder if this would happen again. Would the bride out live this husband and another come along. And at first I really didn’t like the hero she finally chose. It was a very confusing book and I’m still (obviously I’m writing about it) confused.

So, when do your hero’s enter the stories you write. From the get go, or chapter ten. Or, for the readers out there, when do you like to see the hero appear in the books you buy. For me, I don’t mind holding out a chapter or two, any more than that and I start to get concerned.

Happy reading and writing everyone.

9 thoughts on “When should the Hero walk through the door?

  1. Anonymous

    Hi Tamara
    In my WIP, the hero enters at chapter two. He hasn't met the heroine but we get a look at what he does, what motivates him and his view on the world (which the reader will find is very much opposed to the heroine).
    Carol Challis

  2. Kylie Griffin

    Hey Tamara,

    When I write I like to have the hero appear in the first couple of chapters, more often than not the very first chapter and his appearance tends to tie into some sort of conflict involving the heroine.

    As a reader, the sooner the better :-). engage, engage, engage!

  3. Tamara Gill

    Thanks Carol and Kylie for dropping in. I'm the same, I like them in the novel (read or write) as quick as possible. Get the tension happening and conflicts out there. Nothing better in my opinion.
    Tam 🙂

  4. Shayne

    Hi Tamara,
    In my latest, he's there almost from the outset.

    It just depends on what you're writing, but page 327 (or whatever it was) is cutting it fine.


  5. Cathryn Brunet

    I'm happy to wait for the hero to appear and have read plenty of books where the hero hasn't come into play until a quarter or a third of the way in. As long as the story is rollicking along that seems to work fine for me. But I guess it depends on what market the book is aimed at and its expectations.

    Out of curiosity, was the book you read a straight romance or romantic elements? Or would you call it a romantic novel rather than a romance? Page 231 does seem a long time to wait for a romance hero to appear.

  6. Tamara Gill

    Thanks for dropping in Shayne and Cathryn. Cutting it fine was an understatement, Shayne. LOL

    Cathryn, the book has historical romance on the spine but it really shouldn't in my opinion. The hero, literally comes out of nowhere. There was no hint or mention of him in the first 230 pages. Very strange in my opinion. Perhaps romantic novel would have been better.

    Thanks for your comments.
    Tam 🙂

  7. maryde

    Hi Tamara,
    I write single title and for me it varies. He may be involved from the very beginning, with or without the Heroine or he may appear after she has made her debut. But never too far into the stroy. If my story starts with HER, I like to think his appearance is not that far away. Sometimes I may introduce both of at the beginning, Ch1 & 2, but not put them in each others path until perhaps chapter 3. I read a story once where he was not mentioned or came into the story until chapter 6. For me that was too long to wait. I'd say it depends on the author and the story.
    :)) Mary

  8. Tamara Gill

    In total agreement, Suzi. *wink wink*

    Mary, I think chapter one or two for the reader to meet the hero/heroine is a good time. Throw them together in chapt 3 and everyone's happy. Works well, I think

    Thanks for dropping in, ladies.
    Tam 🙂

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