Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Creating a Memorable Hero

Artwork compliments of reader Carole Jarvais. Thanks!
I love England. Everything about it. The people. The land. The rich and lustrous history. England is the suave older gentleman to America’s geeky adolescence. That’s why I usually write stories set in England during the early 1800’s.

But another love of mine is rough-around-the-edges heroes, and Colonial America had plenty of those. So I thought why not combine the two? And voila, The Captive Heart was born. I kept my love of England stoked by making my heroine British, yet I created a hero who’s half-Cherokee and used to running wild. Win, win.

Here's what goes in to Creating a Memorable Hero . . .

Yeah, you read that right. To make a believable hero you've got to give your character some kind of fear, whether it's of the future or his past, or like Indiana Jones, the fear of snakes.

Sure, six-pack abs are hot, but sheer physical manliness isn't the only strength your hero should possess. The dude's got to have strength of character. Maybe his is a strict adherence to always telling the truth, or maybe he's got strength of endurance. Give him something besides muscles.

Besides fear, your hero has to have a flaw. Maybe he can't balance his checkbook. Wait a minute...that's my flaw. Maybe he can't break his yogurt habit or he's got a reading in bed at night with the lights out quirk.

A Secret
What makes a hero intriguing is his secret. What secret? I don't know. Make one up, and don't let the heroine or the reader know until well into the story.

Add layers to your hero, good and bad, and reveal them slowly. Maybe he has compassion for kids. Show it. But don't explain why until later, when you reveal that as a child someone had compassion for him, saving him from a brutal situation.

This is a given, but not in the way you're thinking. Yeah, your hero's going to be passionate about his heroine, but give him something deeper than that. Maybe his passion is justice or freedom.

Package all these qualities up and you'll have one sweet manly man, like my hero Samuel in The Captive Heart. He's a tortured soul, but a lovable one nonetheless.

And here's your chance to win a copy of your own.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sylvia said...

The 1950s would be a great time period to live in. You still have some modern conveniences. War is over, Finances are looking up. People in general are hopeful. The world still had some morals and one could be safe for the most part.

Terri Thompson said...

Great tips! I'm going to share these at our writers group next month!

chappydebbie said...

All of your characters are spot on! Loved this story. Sharing this.

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