H is for Heroes

BLAST_HAlthough every protagonist is the hero of their own story, the hero is a step above the typical character. The hero is the fearless leader of the space mission.

Creating a hero every reader will bond with and root for can make for some memorable fiction, the kind of story where the hero walks off the page and lingers in a reader’s mind forever.

3 Tips for writing heroes:
Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. Physical superiority, like super powers, is only one type of weapon in the hero arsenal. Heroes will use whatever they can get their hands on to defeat evil. It might be a weapon, an act of self-sacrifice, out-smarting their foe, or the gifts of fate. Heroes are goal oriented; they don’t care how the job gets done, as long as it’s done.

Heroes always face enormous challenges. Sometimes they face them reluctantly, and only after someone or something forces their hand. Heroes are often soul searchers, fighting to do the morally just thing in a morally ambiguous situations. Heroes often don’t see themselves are heroes. They tend to focus on the flaws that make them vulnerable. They may see their strengths not as a gift, but more as a curse.

Heroes work like magnets on the other characters. The may try to repel those they love to protect them, while simultaneously drawing in countless admirers. Heroes often flock together, like birds. They don’t always love the company of other heroes and they will try to establish a pecking order. They will also recognize other heroes (and sometimes villains) are the only ones that understand their unique struggles. This makes for character bonds that develop over time and in interesting ways.

2 Examples of worthy heroes:

My go to source for heroes is always Tolkien. There are so many hero types to study. You have unlikely heroes with Frodo, Sam and the other Hobbits. You have the warrior heroes, Aragorn, Legolas and a host of powerhouse fighters. You have Gandalf for a hero who uses intellectual powers. It’s a smorgasbord of heroes.

I also really love the TV show PRIMEVAL for heroes, mostly because it’s another great ensemble cast, something I’m crazy about, and the heroes are not who we expect them to be. I love how every character has a moment to shine and kick some dinosaur a**.

1 Link for more help:

We love our heroes, so I had many options for this link. Try this one from Heather.

The Hero’s Emotional Midpoint

 

And in case you’re just dropping in now, here’s our April A to Z list thus far:

A is for Antagonist

B is for Backstory

C is for Character Change

D is for Dialogue

E is for External Conflict

F is for False Stakes

G is for Genre

And coming up:

I is for Internal Conflict

J is for Juxtaposition

K is for Kittens – yes kitties!

Author: Robin Rivera

Robin trained as a professional historian and worked as a museum curator, an educator and historical consultant. She writes dark young adult fiction, with diverse characters. She's currently querying a novel, and working on two new manuscripts that started off as NaNoWriMo projects. You can follow her on Facebook(https://www.facebook.com/robin.rivera.90813) or on Twitter @robinrwrites. However, Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/RRWrites/) is where her inner magpie is happiest of all.

14 thoughts on “H is for Heroes”

  1. Just discovered your blog, and enjoyed this post very much! I agree, heroes can be very diverse, and you’re so right – Tolkien exemplifies that perfectly. Given the pluralist definition here, where would you place the concept of the ‘Anti-hero’? Some have argued Frodo is an example of one – what are your thoughts? Ok, I’m off now to peruse other posts on your blog! 🙂

    1. Hi, that is so nice to hear. I’m glad you found us and you’re enjoying the blog.
      I am not the Tolkien scholar some of my friends are. I can send you links to great blogs who break down every aspect of LOR if you would like them. But my take is: If you keep to the classic (aka: strict) Anti-hero definition, I would say some people could view Frodo as an anti-hero. However, I’m not a fan of that term for his case. First of all, Frodo has a long character arc! It spans over a thousand pages. He is of course an unlikely a hero, but he is a hero in transition. It’s true that he doesn’t want to be a hero at first, but he rises to the occasion and takes responsibility for his part of the quest. He is very heroic at several critical times. The term hero has become synonymous with physical power, but I think that fails to take into account that power manifests itself in all different forms. Frodo is a great example of a character who uses inner strengths, not outer ones. Plus, Frodo and the other Hobbits are needed for story balance. It’s hard to write stories where every character is the perfect fighting hero. It can be dull. It’s faults and flaws that make characters interesting. Also, since Frodo starts off shaky, his strong finish allows for more story tension. The reader starts to wonder if he will falter. Not sure if this makes perfect sense, but I would need to write a whole blog post to explain my views in detail. : ) Thanks again for stopping by and for the thought provoking question.

    1. I don’t need a hero every time, there are other character archetypes I like just as much for the protagonist. But heroes are fun!

    1. Hi Stormie,
      I agree, a great hero should always do what he thinks is right even if it’s not in his own best interest. : ) Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Heroes are all of the above with a few additions I am sure. The hero usually has some secret trauma or has experienced some horror. Heroes hide their feelings, deny themselves happiness. Some heroes keep to shadows, to let others take the glory.

    Over from the A to Z.

    1. Hi Susan,
      Complicated, it’s a hallmark of a hero! Thanks for dropping in. Hope you’re enjoying A to Z as much as we are.

    1. Hi Shawn,
      I love a good hero, but I’m also fine with a less ambiguous protagonist. Small victories are often even more emotionally moving because I can relate to them better. I don’t know what it feels like to save the world, but I know how it feels to navigate one of life’s many mishaps. : )

  3. Hi there – I have an idea for a story, but wasn’t thinking of ‘hero’ status for my protagonist. However, once I read your post, I realize that is exactly the status I need to create for her.

    1. Some books just need a hero! The plot just calls for them. When you write a book with a powerful antagonist, or a huge problem to solve, you want a character that can meet the challenge head on! I’m glad the post helped you.

We love comments and questions.