Archetypes and Characters, Romance

Archetypes for Boys’ Club Romance Series

When a whole romance series is dedicated to a group of men introduced in the first book, in which the first guy fell

Here are the archetypes that feature in romance series dedicated to a group of men, with notes on the typical heroines and plotlines of their respective books.

What the Boys’ Clubs look like by Genre

  • Contemporary Romance: brothers (maybe also cousins), motorcycle club, billionaire friends/society, military from the same unit
  • Historical Romance: gentleman’s club of dukes, earls, etc.
  • Paranormal Romance: werewolves in a pack, team of vampires or other supernaturals who fight baddies
  • Science Fiction Romance: aliens of a dying race, cyborg warriors from the same squad

Leader

Heavily weighed by responsibility and needs a mate competent and intelligent enough to lead with him but who will also help him relax.

Often the 1st book in the series

  • In a situation or a community with a dearth of females.

Or 4th-ish book in the series

  • Has promised or put pressure on himself to choose a mate who meets standards he thinks best for his people (which the heroine does not meet).
  • Delay within the series has allowed for further development of his character.
  • Probably f-ed up the way he handled the developing relationship of the first book’s couple.

The “Best Friend”

Often the 2nd book in the series

  • Right-hand man to the hero of the first book.
  • Who probably didn’t handle the first romance well and was a bit of an asshole to the heroine.
  • Does not have a winning personality, but he’s second-in-command or has skills that make him invaluable to the “team.”
  • Typically ends up with a fiesty fighting female who defies her gender norms and defies his authority.

The Player who jinxed himself

  • Who watched other men settle down, declared he never would, and has to eat his words when he ends up falling hard but screws up at every turn.
  • His heroine is a sweet woman, who has been burned by the player type before, and mistrusts the sincerity of his interest.

The Tragic Loner

  • Whose striking presence in the earlier books is shrouded in mystery and buried troubles the earlier heroine noticed while his friends were oblivious.
  • Underestimated or considered to be more sensitive by his friends.
  • May have an artistic bent and self-esteem issues.

The Widower

(Alternative to the Tragic Loner)

  • Had been married/mated/engaged before book series began but she died.
  • Tormented by the guilt of having failed her, haunted by her memory, or in the case of a disastrous partnership is embittered against the heroine who comes into his life.
  • His friends agree that what he needs is to move on with a good person, and when he (inevitably) hurts her feelings, they give him a hard time and push him move on from the past and do better with the heroine.

The Brutish Outsider

  • Whose version of courtship is barbaric, e.g. kidnapping her, blackmailing her, etc.
  • Who is mistrusted by the rest of the A-team as a somewhat unknown entity.
  • Who ends up with a more fragile than average mate as a counterpoint to his robust and untender nature.

The Redeemed

  • Was an anti-hero or a bad guy in one of the earlier books.
  • His bad boy appeal but change of heart is an irresistible combination.

(Similar to or consolidated with)

The Spurned

  • Who courted one of the earlier heroines to no avail.
  • Has a kicked-puppy demeanor and takes his seduction skills from the previous attempt up a notch when he meets a woman who makes him question why he ever wanted the other heroine.

The Youngster

Often the 5th book or later

  • Optimistic on the outside, troubled or traumatized on the inside.
  • Feels like he has something to prove, whether his value to the other men in the group or his worthiness as a partner.
  • Knightly in his courtship of the heroine, a sense of innocence to his amorous pursuit.

May be combined with The Spurned archetype

  • Has been overlooked or friend-zoned by other heroines in the series. He proved to be a good guy, just not quite yet ready for the serious romance: rejection helped his character to mature. The affection with which he pursued the previous heroines was puppy love, and he realizes when he meets his heroine how much more profound his feelings for her are.
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