Protect your hero

I was writing for the Aaron Spelling soap, “Sunset Beach,” and the story line involved a young woman, Gabi, who, while in a relationship with one very attractive man, Ricardo, finds herself falling in love with Ricardo’s brother Antonio. Who happens to be a priest, natch!

Antonio finds himself falling in love with Gabi as well and after months of fighting their love, trapped during a building collapse? Cave in? Thinking they’re going to die, Antonio and Gabi make love.

Of course they’re subsequently rescued and now they have to deal with the aftermath of their lovemaking. I’ll never forget Gary Tomlin, the executive producer, telling the writers that while Gabi is in love with Antonio, she should never diminish Ricardo or compare his lovemaking to his brother’s.

“Protect your hero,” Gary said, and even after moving on from Sunset Beach, I’ve taken those words to heart. When writing about your hero, never make him less attractive emotionally or sexually than other male characters in your story. He can–and should–have flaws that create obstacles for himself and others, but he should never look sexually less than, or even intellectually less than, the other males in whatever love triangle he finds himself in.

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