Nov 20

Writing a Great Hero

The hero is the one character in your story that is going to bring the reader along on their journey to overcome the villain’s obstacles.  Your reader needs a hero that they can identify with and become emotionally invested in.  A flimsy hero will only make for an uninteresting story.  In fact, even a great villain can’t save the story if our hero is subpar.  Here are a few tips on how to create a hero that will draw in your readers from the first page and carry them towards a satisfying conclusion.

1. What are your hero’s flaws?

Simply put, the best heroes are flawed and it is their imperfections that make them identifiable.  A good example is Spider-man who is one of the most identifiable good guys.  Peter Parker is what makes him so lovable.  Peter began as an awkward teen with more flaws than most heroes.  He was very relatable and his pain is something we can all understand on some level.  It makes us want to cheer for him as Spider-man and it makes him one of the greatest heroes ever written.

2. What are your hero’s motivations?

Heroes do not just decide one day to save the World or to put their life on the line for strangers.  They generally have some form of motivation.  Spider-man, for example, became the hero when his lack of action cost him the life of his uncle.  Generally it is a good idea to have something driving the hero that makes them need to do what it is they do.  In some cases the motivation may be that if they don’t become the hero they will die, such as in a man versus nature themed story.  If you look at any story you have ever read hard enough, you will find that motivation.  Knowing your hero’s motivation as you write will help your story gel into something special.

3. What are your hero’s limits?

Finally, it is a good idea to know exactly what lines your hero won’t cross.  In addition to knowing their initial limits it is also good to know what it would take to make them cross these limits and what the consequences would be for them if they do.  Sometimes, forcing our heroes out of their comfort zones can make for very compelling story telling.  Keep in mind, that doing so should be a one-time event in the climax of your story because if you push them across their limits too much it will lose the emotional impact that the one-time event would be laced with.

1 comment

  1. Rachel

    Excellent thoughts, thank you for writing about this :). I also think it’s important to note that a hero doesn’t just wake up one day. It’s often small acts that can build up into a big act of heroism.

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