H is for Hero(ine)

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Hero(ine)s are a huge part of writing and storytelling. You can’t have an adventure without a hero(ine) right?

Right.

Now, to avoid having to do “hero(ine)” for the entire post, let me eliminate the gender issue for now. The hero of the story, as I’m using it today, just means the main character. It doesn’t matter if it’s a guy, a girl, an alien, or a house cat. So when I say “hero,” I just mean that main character, not the main male character.

With that out of the way, it’s a no brainer that the hero is super important to the story. It’s who the story is about, so they’re the reason for the story. That means the pressure is really on to make that character a good one, but there are some things to remember when you’re writing your hero.

2015-04-09 Hero

Your hero doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s better when they aren’t.

It’s not even necessary for them to be likeable. There are great characters out there that people love to hate even.

A really good hero is flawed, but rises above their defects to overcome the obstacles the story throws at them. They also keep the reader interested. Your hero has to be someone we want to see succeed, or even someone we want to see fail. The important thing is that we want to know what happens next with the hero. If we don’t care about their fate as a reader, then we won’t keep reading. It’s that simple.

What strategies do you like to use to keep the hero interesting? Is there an author you think does heroes especially well? How about a hero you loved to hate?

H

*Title Image and caped hero image are Stock Images, Not my Work

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3 thoughts on “H is for Hero(ine)

  1. I tend to wait to write until I see all of the characters as real people – flaws and all. That tends to happen through a combination of structured character development and letting them come to life in my imagination.

    When I start really feeling them, in a way that lets me into their skins, then it’s time to write.

    Of course, they still surprise me…

    • I do a little of both. Sometimes I have a character very developed in my head first (and sometimes even on paper) but a lot of times it’s just the idea of the character and it takes a few scenes to settle into their head.

      I’m more of a discovery writer than a plotter, which shows a lot in all my writing habits.

      • Discovery writer…I like that. I used to be a near-complete pantser, but I’ve found a system that allows lots of discovery room and gives me exactly as much structure as I need to understand my characters. I still need a bit of time to really settle into them, but it’s a perfect blend that’s working beautifully for me.

        I love finding out how other writers approach things…always fascinating! =)

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