Are you considering writing heroic fiction? If it’s going to be your first venture into this sub genre there are a few issues you need to address. There is a lot of fiction about heroes and more being written even as this article is being written. A lot of these heroes fade into obscurity because they aren’t carefully crafted.
Here are a few tips on creating a hero readers will root for:
Give your hero some drive
It’s one of the basic elements in story telling but if you really want to create an original hero then you can’t use the same strategy as past writers. Granted most of the angles have been taken but if you try hard enough you can put your own spin on this old genre. Got a story about revenge? Redemption? Your hero’s reason can be pretty original if you put your imagination to task. Revenge is usually over someone that was lost and redemption is always about setting things right. The trick is making this reason have a high impact on the reader. It needs to tug at their heart strings. Your hero’s drive is also the reason why readers will root for him.
Must there always be obstacles?
Yes. Giving your hero a straightforward story to the final climax will make it a stereotypical, forgettable book to read. Anyone that reads will recommend that others don’t read it. Making your hero experience setbacks helps to build his resolve. Showing his efforts to overcome his challenges will earn him admiration in the eyes of your readers. But this also needs a lot of thought. You could easily fall into the trap of making obstacles that are basic. It’s best to come up with something in depth, something that really hurts your main character. First you’ve got to build your main character up so that readers will root for him, then you need to strike him down for them to beg for him to get up.
What kind of hero is he?
This too can be a tricky goal to tackle. Pretty often you have a hero who is idealistic. That doesn’t go down well anymore. Nowadays though it’s getting pretty common to have a hero with questionable ideals. How about having an idealistic hero who finds it difficult to uphold his ideals? Maybe he’s the type of person other characters dislike because he always makes the unpopular decisions. Give readers a hero who doesn’t have everything going for him.
What makes him special?
If you’re going to write heroic fiction or fantasy you need to be able to create a character that will become legendary. He’s got to be the kind of hero that will inspire others. Maybe he’s the stubborn kind which can translate into someone that’s determined to achieve his goals no matter the cost to himself. On the comical side he could have some ridiculous fear. Think of Indiana Jones’s aversion to snakes.
It’s not necessarily about his skills although these too need attention since lately it’s pretty hard to attract big audiences with swordsmanship, gunplay and hand to hand combat. Don’t get me wrong, this stuff still sells but make sure you do plenty of research before you attempt to write any fight scenes. Your hero has to be impressive.
There is more but that’s up to you
Once you look at these issues you may realize what other ideas you can add to the uniqueness of your character. It’s your story after all. If you’re serious about creating a quality hero you’ll create an environment around him that helps him to become a real legend.
Image Credit: Obra19 via Wikimedia Commons