A to Z Challenge 2013

Monday, May 18, 2009

Heroes

Nisa over at Wordplay, Swordplay had an interesting post about villains. It got me to thinking about what type of heroes I like to create. So here's my take on heroes in writing. I harbor a particular dislike of "goody goody" heroes a.k.a. Johnny the Mountie who always gets his man. About the only thing this type of person is good for is comic relief, and I rarely am in the mood for writing a comedy anyway. I suppose it would be a true challenge for me to create a hero of this nature and make him/her truly interesting. It's something to keep in mind anyway.

No, what I really like are the heroes who would rather not be a hero. The distant and reluctant hero who wishes to stay out of the conflict but ends up being the hero in the end. I don't think they necessarily need to have this inner spark of goodness just waiting to come out. I'd rather they end up "saving the world" because they have no other choice. Because really, they're not a hero and have no desire to be one. Why do I like this? I really can't nail down why it appeals to me, but it just does. Maybe it's because I believe that all of us have the capacity to do good, whether we follow through on it or not. We would all like to think that given the opportunity, we'd do the right thing. I find it more interesting for someone to do the right thing, because they have to rather than some internal desire to do good. It's too easy to say someone will do what's right because they know it's the right thing to do. Too cliche for me.

What about you? What is your idea of the perfect literary hero? Tomorrow I'll take a more in-depth look at what type of villain appeals to me.

11 comments:

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

Well, my first issue is I'm usually attracted to the villains. I think it's a dysfunctional psychological issue I should have professionally assessed. lol. With that being said, I like my heroes to have a little "bad" in them. Cuz really, don't we all have a light and dark side? (insert evil laugh here)

Eric said...

I'd have to agree with you here Karen. After all, I'm a geek who rides a motorcycle and sports tattoos. As for your psychological issue, I am reserving judgement at this time, heh heh.

Danyelle said...

My perfect hero is one that has flaws. I don't want them to be perfect, perfect is boring. Besides, it's hard to relate to the hero if he is perfect.

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

yup tatoos... Makes me think of Iri from Melissa Marr's, INK EXCHANGE. I'm pretty sure he was supposed to be the bad guy, but I loved him more than dark chocolate (and that says a lot!)

Anita said...

I was at a writers connference recently. One writer's work was being read aloud. Her heroine was beautiful and nice. We all agreed we hated the heroine. (aren't we friendly?!)

Martin Willoughby said...

I like ordinary people who succeed, or survive, despite the odds against them.

Liana Brooks said...

Currently I'm in love with the villain or the victim becoming the hero.

My current WIP features a hero who is the victim of everything and who finally gets around to standing up for herself, fighting back, and saving herself rather than depending on some hero to ride in.

The next book I have plotted out has a complicated MC and Antagonist. At the end, it's hard to say which was the villain and which was the hero. Although it all ends Happily Ever After.

B.J. Anderson said...

I'm kind of a sucker for a "bad" guy who is really good deep down, he just needs to be put to the test to find his inner hero. But I'm also a big fan of the good guy who has to be a hero when he really doesn't want to. For me, they have to be a good person, even if it's just not apparent at the beginning of the book.

Nisa said...

I like heroes who are genuine and trying to be good because I can relate to that. Perfect is definitely out though because there's just no such thing. It wouldn't be believable at all. I do like the idea of "accidentally" saving the world or doing it because that's the only option. It's different. I think you'd like my female mc. She definitely fits that description.

Icy Roses said...

I like anti-heroes. I agree with you that goody-goody heroes who don't at least have SOME kind of conflict going on tick me off. Heroes (and heroines!) need motivation for why they're doing good things, and not just "it's the right thing to do." Flaws are also good. Flawless people are boring.

Elizabeth McKenzie said...

Eric, I'm the same way. In fact my characters almost always start out as flawed, human-like, you know? They are struggling with inner turmoil, maybe a bad childhood, a conflict with a sibling, whatever. These types really give me a warm feeling. I think that's why I end up falling in love with my characters. My flaw in writing my heroes is, I tend to make them beautiful, handsome, etc. I have to really work to draw a physical flaw and it's going to bite me in the butt. On rewrite, I've planned a few physical revisions, but not on my protagonist, not this time.

Elizabeth