Writing a Romance Hero


When I say writing a romance hero that’s “sexier” I don’t mean describing the bumps on his six pack or including some shirtless car washing scenes.

Sexy is attractive. What will make you romance hero super sexy? Keep reading to find out how to write a romance hero that is swoon-worthy.

Writing A Romance Hero: Show His Soft Center

Now you may not want your hero walking around being like Santa Claus but you should definitely seduce your readers with a man who is thoughtful. Your job as the author is to make sure your hero woos his heroine*. (*For ease of reading I’m going to refer to the love interest as the heroine but it could be another hero, an alien, a monster or something else altogether. You do you, boo!)

When I talk about doing I am not talking about love bombing, we don’t need more narcissists in the world, but subtle meaningful acts of “Hey, girl, I care about you enough to inconvenience myself.”

When plotting or as you are writing or revising try to think about how your hero can will your heroine.

From Korean dramas these are some fan favorites:

  • Retrieving the drunk woman from her company dinner and carrying her on his back to take her home. (He may or may not have put on shoes or changed out of his pajamas before leaving to go rescue her. He wouldn’t want her being taken advantage of.)
  • seeing a heroin struggle with something and then getting that thing to her. (Like in True Beauty when Su-ho (our hero) sees Joo.-kyung, our heroine, pinning her bangs with a cheap plastic hair salon clip. He purchases her a nice barrette to replace the cheap salon one. She is touched by his thoughtfulness.)

What’s sexier than a man giving you a really great gift without you needing to prompt him???

Writing a Romance Hero: Quirky Can Be Sexy Too

Perfect doesn’t exist in real life and it shouldn’t in your romance either. Prince charming is a fallacy and grown women know the difference. Make your hero more human and give him some quirks.

In What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim Young-joon, the hero, is a bit uptight. He has his reasons but one of his biggest quirks is that he’s never dated or kissed a woman. It’s a really fun time trying to watch a romance unfold with this guy who has healing to do before he can fully give himself to his heroine, Secretary Kim. He wants so desperately to be “normal” but he has to work with what he’s got and when he finally overcomes his issues it makes the audience love him even more.

In Coffee Prince Han Gyeol, the hero, loves legos. Like a lot. This is his unexpected quirk especially for our free-spirited playboy hero. On the outside he’s cool and hot and kind of stuck up, but these legos show that he has a soft center. He has an innocence about him. These legos, which are seemingly toys, are something he is very serious about. (One of my favorite scenes from this 2007 K-drama is when he is in his lego room. He’s adorable!)

When writing a romance hero ask yourself: what is this guy’s thing? What is something he does or loves that is special to him and when or how will he share it with the heroine.

Your readers will swoon over these moments where your hero lets down his walls and shows his vulnerability.

Writing A Romance Hero: Put Your Hero On His Knees

I don’t mean in a BDSM kind of way (unless that’s your thing – no judgements) in real life men tend to have a tough time apologizing when they mess up.

In the fantasy world it’s really hot when the hair apologizes. This can look different depending on the hero. For example, an alpha kind of hero is going to have a hard time admitting he’s wrong. He might not get down and grovel until the very end, but it’s that’s the case then you’d better make the grovel really, really good.

The most alpha-est alpha in K-drama that I can think of is Jyun-pyo from Boys Over Flowers, the poor thing has to grovel a lot in order to be initially accepted and then forgiven time and time again by his love interest, Jan-di. He’s not a jerk intentionally –it’s just how he is– until he learns and matures. By the end of this classic drama (which is based on a Japanese shojo manga series and has been adapted into a Chinese version (Meteor Garden) and an upcoming Thai version (The F4)) Jyun-pyo is a worthy hero for our heroine, Jan-di.

Another type of American hero, like a cowboy, might not need to grovel but might instead glance down, shuffle his feet and mumble his apology after having some think time. Perhaps he puts his foot in his mouth a little bit and makes the heroine angry, but doesn’t thoroughly offend her.

But either way don’t underestimate the power of a good apology.

In Shopaholic Louis, Louis, the hero, delivers something to the heroine, Bok-shil, which she thought she’d lost forever. He doesn’t ship it to her but instead gathers all his friends to help recreate their meet cute to remind her how much they mean to each other and when she thinks she’s so close to finding the thing she’s lost forever she discovers it’s there where she is. She then sees an apology video from Louis before being reconnected with him.


  • When writing a romance hero, make your hero vulnerable. Show him as a human, not a God.
  • Again, as a human, when writing a romance hero give him something uniquely him. He’s not perfect. Give him some kind of “flaw” or “quirk” that makes him relatable.
  • Lastly, when writing a romance hero bring him to his knees and apologize when he’s done something wrong. Who doesn’t love a person who can communicate and accept their part?

What do you think makes a good hero? If you’re a K-drama/C-drama/J-drama/T-drama fan, can you name any other good examples of these characteristics? I’d love to hear from you! Drop your comments below!

Looking for more writing tips? Check out more blog posts about writing here!

Writing a kdrama

Kiss Goblin Recap and Analysis Episode 10

This week we are doing Kiss Goblin episode 10 if you miss the analysis for the majority of the season and you want to start over you can find that here

With only three episodes left in Kiss Goblin, we should be coming to the big kiss and the last-ditch effort from the writer to keep these two apart and I have a feeling it’s going to revolve around the Exorcist.

Let’s jump in.

We start off with a time jump to the morning so they spent all night laying in bed facing each other holding hands and they fell asleep. 

She leaves the love nest first, touches his dimple and gets herself some coffee. When he comes out there is an awkwardness between them for a moment as they try to catch each other’s gazes and then they both giggle. (So 귀여워요 (gwiyeowoyo)!)

Showing thoughtfulness – she made him breakfast. He says he’s happy to be with her like that and after breakfast he offers to do the dishes. There is sexual tension as he comes up behind her and wraps his hand around hers to turn off the water. She leans back against him and tells him that she’ll tolerate him kissing other girls ONLY until the last kiss. And if he kisses someone after that she’ll kill him. 

He asks her to clairfy if they’re dating. She says nope, not until he’s human. He smiles and says he can’t wait.

Their happiness won’t last! He gets a text from the Goblin Queen. Kiss number 10, his last kiss: the heroine. 

He leaves in a rush, lying to her about where he’s going and leaving his phone behind. 

He goes to the Goblin Queen, he’s angry, which is an emotion he can feel now, and he asks why it has to be her. And the Goblin queen says that’s the way it is it has to be someone who loves you. And he says what if I kiss her… she won’t remember me. The Goblin Queen tells him that she told him it wasn’t going to be easy and that no Goblin has ever been able to become a human before, though many have tried. Most problems come to the last kiss and they can’t do it and they choose to keep the memories instead of becoming a human. And if he chooses not to kiss her then he has to leave the human world immediately. (The author raised the stakes. He cannot keep the status quo, a change will happen. Which path will he choose? Also, he now has a big massive secret.)

We finish up the Goblin Queen’s arc, seeing the rest of her past. Her last kiss was with the exorcist and she chose not to kiss him and instead has kept her memories of him.

Heroine gets dressed up and goes out looking for Goblin. She finds him at the park. She’s smiling and happy and sits in the swing next to him. He shares that he is there to think. He notices that she’s dressed up. He flirts with her calling her pretty. Then he tells her that he has to leave, to go back to the Goblin world. He tells her that he’s giving up on being a human. And she asks if he can come back if he leaves. He says nope, never. She asks “What about me?” He looks away. She confronts him. “You don’t like me anymore?” He says quickly that he does like her. She asks if he’s stopping because she’s the last mission… (Her secret: she saw his phone). He says it’s not that easy. She tells him that if he tries it’ll be easy for her to fall for him again. Does he just not want to kiss her? He looks up quickly again to deny. He does. She eggs him on, just do it, man! 

He shares the Goblin Queen’s last Rule: not only will the human lose her memories but the Goblin will also lose his memories when he turns human. So he tells her that he’s decided instead of losing her altogether, he’s just going to keep liking her so he can remember her forever because he doesn’t want to risk never finding her again in his life. 


In the short little episode A lot happened.  We had a plot twist which basically is going to cause The Break-Up of these two because like it seems like a dark night of the Soul, what can he do?  He can’t stay in the human world or else he totally forgets her and she forgets him, and if he goes back to the Goblin World they still can’t continue on their relationship because he’ll be in a different world altogether. 

In this episode we saw how the secrets moved from one person to another so at the beginning of this episode The Goblin Queen had a secret that the last person he needs to cast with someone that he loved and when he kissed her he would lose his memories as well.  That secret done was the Goblin’s secret to keep which he didn’t hold on too long before the heroin showed up and he told her that he needed to leave and she asked him why and he confessed the secret. 

If want to learn more about romance arcs you can Get the Kdrama Cure Ultimate Romance Arc Cheatsheet for FREE!

And if you’re interested in learning more about how Kdramas can enhance your romance writing you can check out my brand new book: The Kdrama Cure, available on many different platforms.


Kdrama Analysis Kiss Goblin

Korean Drama Analysis Kiss Goblin – Episode 2

Welcome back to the Korean Drama analysis of Kiss Goblin. We are on episode two of this Korean drama. If you missed episode one, you can find it here

When we left off in our Korean Drama, the goblin was being punched in the face by the heroine. The goblin confronted the heroine and asked her why she hit him. She projects her feelings from her act on to him, asking if he thinks it’s fun to play with people’s emotions and make him feel superior. The actress shows the depth of her character’s emotion by the quiver in her voice and the tears coming to her eyes as she talks about this. 

We flashback to see that she’s really thinking of what happened with her and her ex in catching him cheating. 

Goblin reaches his hand up towards her face, but she stalks away, her friend in her grasp. 

We hear the Goblin’s voiceover telling the goblin queen that he feels strange because he wanted to wipe away her tears and pat her back. The goblin queen explains that this is the new emotion that he just received from girl number two, and it’s called compassion

When the heroine and her friend are far enough away from the Goblin, her friend looks very confused. The conversation reveals that her friend does not remember kissing the goblin. 

The Korea drama writer then cuts to a scene where the heroine is frustrated because she isn’t finished with her assignment. She has a flashback thinking about the goblin and wondering how it’s possible that her friend doesn’t remember kissing him. 

She needed to be frustrated with her assignment because of what’s about to happen next. Her classmate offers to do her homework in exchange for going on a blind date with one of his friends. 

We see the goblin in everyday life, and we are shown that he has lots of bills and his water has been turned off. 

Now we see the heroin on her date. The guy approaches and is rude, saying that she doesn’t look like her dating profile. He wants to know what photo editing app she uses. She keeps a smile on her face to be friendly and says that she heard that he was pestering her classmate for four days and five nights for them to get together and she’s sorry that she doesn’t look as good as her picture does. 

He said it was a joke, and she must be the type to hold grudges. 

In her head, she says people sometimes confuse being rude with being fun-loving. 

The date continues to spiral downward with him talking about himself and his preferences without her even asking him. She also notes that guys think that having manners is too old-fashioned. 

He then says one last thing asking her how many people she’s gone on blind dates with and how many guys she’s dated in total. 

She insults him in reply, with a smile, and then says, “just joking.”

Through this scene, we learned that she prefers old-fashioned guys with manners. Luckily the goblin is old and, therefore, probably old-fashioned. Check!

She then goes to work and bumps into the goblin (literally), who has taken a part-time job there. She is suspicious that the goblin is only there to get revenge on her for hitting him the previous evening. He reveals to her that he needed a job because his water got shut off. 

Purpose of this scene:

  • -forced proximity
  • -sexual tension (he grabs her wrist and pulls her towards him to prevent her from running into a table. After interrogating him, he grabs her wrist again and pulls her towards him, trying to be intimidating. She kicks him in the shin in response. She demands to know his reasons, and he motions for her to come closer so he can tell her. He leans in close and speaks into her ear.) 
  • -couple gets to know each other (she asks why he’s working there, why he kissed her friend, and he basically tells her to be respectful, call him by his name and mind her own business. After the kick, she shows her noncompliance with being a soft-spoken woman, defends her friend, and makes fun of his name. She asks again for his reasons. He tells her the truth, and she calls him crazy.)

When working together, there is an altercation between the heroine a male customer. The male customer becomes more and more irate and then tries to hit her, but the Goblin stops the customer. The heroine then slaps the customer across the face with his chicken (Kdrama Trope twist: Kimchi Slap) and has a massive outburst. 

When alone, the goblin goes to her and tries to comfort her by bringing her a drink. He takes her side and tells her not to be upset because the customer was wrong, not her. He tells her he looked up online how to comfort others and gave her a carton of chocolate milk.

In the end scene of the Korean Drama, episode two, we are introduced to the villain who is looking at a picture of the goblin on his phone. This is an example of an external problem for the couple, more specifically for the hero. 

The things the writer integrated into episode 2:

If we are following the Romancing the Beat sheet, then this episode covered Phase 1: Adhesion. 

By putting these two characters together in their part-time job they now have a reason to continue to be in each other’s daily lives. The goblin needs money to pay for his bills, especially since he’s going to be human after eight more kisses. 

We learned that the Goblin isn’t a liar – at least not with our heroine. She asked him twice why he was two-timing her friend and why she couldn’t remember it, and he answered her after the second time. 

We also learned the heroine doesn’t get along well with normal human men. She finds them distasteful and rude. This is a contrast to the end of the episode where she sees Goblin offering her comfort in the form of a chocolate milk. 

Another character trait for her is that she’s faithful and loyal to her friends as evidenced by her inability to let go what happened between the goblin and her friend. 

Tropes Used: 

  • Feisty heroine – she doesn’t stop herself from speaking her mind and she’s not afraid to get physical when someone crosses her boundaries. 
  • Kimchi slap – In Korean Dramas there is a trope where a character gets slapped on the face with kimchi. The writer used a version of it here with the fried chicken (another common food in Korean dramas)
  • Forced proximity – they work together in the restaurant
  • Male knight – Goblin stepped in to keep the heroine from getting hit
  • Man in Black – clearly a bad guy is coming onto the scene – what part will he play?

That’s my analysis for Episode 2 of Kiss Goblin, the Korean drama. I would love to hear your feedback and thoughts! Did I miss anything? Did you find this helpful?

Be on the lookout for Episode 3!

Are you a romance writer? Get the Kdrama Cure Ultimate Romance Arc Cheatsheet for FREE

Kdrama Analysis Kiss Goblin

KDrama Analysis – Kiss Goblin Ep 1

I’m really looking forward to analyzing Kdrama’s as a part of my blog and hopefully, I will soon get up the guts to be on camera and talk about it there as well. The first #kdrama I’m going to analyze is called #kissgoblin and I started the show on Rakuten #Viki. If you are not familiar with Viki, It’s a streaming service that streams Asian dramas and movies. You have access to a lot of current Kdrama’s and Chinese dramas and Japanese dramas and Thai dramas that are currently airing in those countries. Usually, the wait time is a day after it airs in that country, and then if you don’t know those languages it takes time for the translation teams to translate those into English so there is a little bit of a delay to watch brand new things but Viki has a tremendous amount of content to watch so you’ll never be lacking something. So let’s start with the drama Kiss Goblin. (You can watch Kiss Goblin for FREE on Viki.com – I get no kickbacks by mentioning Viki – I just love them so much! 💕) I recommend watching the episodes before reading the breakdowns below because they will contain spoilers!

The Breakdown The description for Kiss Goblin mentions a 160-year-old goblin who wants to be human but in order to do so, the goblin queen tells him that he must take human form and kiss humans 10 times. He has the ability to make people be attracted to him. He’s got magical powers so this doesn’t seem like a hard thing to do but after he kisses a person, he learns one of the human emotions and has to then experience it. Once he has all of the emotions he can then become a human. I picked this drama because it has a goblin, which sounds gross if you think about American goblins that are green and short and wrinkly and stuff, but in Korea goblins are immortals, like Gods. He also had this assignment of kissing ten different people and I wanted to see how this would play out knowing that this is a romance. It had me asking questions like… is she the last person he’s going to have to kiss? Or is she immune to his charms and he has to fight to make her fall for him? This is how you know you have a great description. You want your readers (or viewers!) to be asking questions and dying to know the answers! Okay, so let’s break down this drama. Each episode is 12 minutes long and there are 12 episodes with a total running time of 140-ish minutes. It’s episodic versus a movie so we’ll see how the writers decided to chunk the content. Let’s do this thang!

We are introduced to the hero quickly, he is wearing a long leather trench coat and all black. He’s attractive and glances at a single girl at the bar. He pulls her outside and they just start kissing after some green smoke surrounds them. There is an overhead voice of the Goblin Queen telling the rules he must follow: To be human he must kiss ten different humans.

We then cut to the heroine who is bussing tables. She is talking about herself, the writer is introducing her traits: she’s hard working, she wants an ordinary life, and she hates people. We see why she hates people very quickly. She’s taking a guy’s order and he hits on her, demanding her phone number. She then asks him if he’s having fun. This shows that she’s not one to demurely smile and walk away – she’s a fighter. We see more of why she hates people as it cuts to the drunken men in the bar she works in being dumb, vulgar and gross.

Because I’ve seen this all the way through once I noticed the lead in to the forced proximity. The heroine is taking out the trash and asks her boss if he thinks they need another part time worker. She goes outside to take out the trash and this is their meet cute – he’s in the alley kissing another girl like crazy. She stares at him with some longing and then she meets the guy’s eyes and runs away.

We see the wisp of smoke as her emotion passes to him and then he walks away from the girl who then startles, not remembering what just happened.

The goblin touches his chest, and the Goblin Queen comes, teaching him about his first learned emotion. We are learning about the Goblin: he doesn’t experience emotions. “It’s empty, but why is it heavy?” He’s contemplative.

The Goblin Queen warns him that despite sounding easy this GOAL to become a human will be painful and difficult. She then gives him his second target, and asks why he wants to be human. His MOTIVATION is so that he doesn’t have to be alone like the Goblin Queen who has been alone for 1000 years. (This is the Goblin’s mirror. She will be the confidant and guide as he embarks on this journey. She is also the representation of a path he needs to choose between. Becoming human or staying a goblin.)

The writer then takes us to the university where the heroine and her best friend are chatting. Through the convo we see again that she doesn’t like people, men in particular, and that she isn’t dating because of her ex who is the reason why she hates people. Her friend is the person who is telling her “Hey, dummy, you shouldn’t keep hating people or you’ll be bitter and alone.” Not a direct quote, but that’s the gist. The friend is also a medium in which we can learn more about the main character.

The writer then sets up what’s coming – the heroine tells the friend to enjoy dating and the friend says she will because a stranger asked for her number. We see that it’s the Goblin. She describes him as handsome and that he has an aura that attracts people. The heroine says she’s curious about him. And then goes to the library.

While at the library we learn a little about her ex. They were lovey-dovey there, sharing loving flirting touches and embracing each other. She leaves the library and here’s the setup for the hook: she sees her friend kissing the same guy she saw in the alley the night before outside of the place she works. A CHEATER – just like her EX! (The writer cuts to a scene of her seeing her boyfriend in a cafe embracing and flirting with another woman. She calls him and he ignores her call).

She approaches them both and, because she’s a fighter, she tells him that it’s because of people like him that she hates people. She throws down her bag and punches him right across his face.

Further Analysis:

So we have a woman who was cheated on (her wound) and the writer is setting her up with a Goblin (who actually isn’t a human but wants to be), who has to go around kissing ten different girls in order to fulfill his goal, which ultimately is to not be alone.

Let us note here that the hero doesn’t have a presenting wound, just a goal. The heroine doesn’t have a goal aside from working hard and going to school, but she does have a pretty big wound.

She’s attractive and has a temper. He’s super attractive and is not overly emotional (yet). He definitely doesn’t understand feelings.

Hobbies: None


Her – temper

Him – not having human emotions (yet)


Her: She was cheated on and is avoiding relationships (not a secret from her friend) She found the Goblin sexy when watching him kiss initially. (Her own secret)

Him: He’s a goblin and wants to be human so he won’t be alone. In order to get that wish he needs to kiss ten humans of the Goblin Queen’s choosing and after each kiss he takes one of their emotions. (secret known to Goblin Queen, his friend)


She works as a part time waitress and goes to college.


He’s kind of dark and mysterious and very emotionally dead.

She is the average pretty college girl with extreme emotions (anger).

He doesn’t want to be alone and she wants to be alone forever because of her wound.

Ready for episode 2? Read it now!

Are you a romance writer? Get the Kdrama Cure Ultimate Romance Arc Cheatsheet for FREE