QUESTION: I’m writing an action adventure novel and someone told me I needed to add a girlfriend for my hero so he could save her and win her love. What do you think?
One of the problems with the hero getting the girl/love object in the end is that it harkens back to the idea that the girl is only a sex partner/thing to be won, not an active participant who deserves the happy ending. The passive love/sex partner really annoys most readers who find it either sexist or boring.
If you put the girl/sex partner in, you have to make this character a participant in the story in a very important way, and she must be more than a sex object.
My own advice, as a writer, a literary analyst, and former English major who has read most of the greatest novels of all time, is that it isn't romance but love that makes a novel stand above others. The main character must love— be it a romantic partner, his family, or some ideal like his country. That love must drive what the character does and what the character is, or the novel lacks the something that makes it more than a quick read that is quickly forgotten.