Welcome to Day 8 of the A to Z Challenge
Many bloggers have chosen a theme for the A to Z. My pledge since becoming a blogger is to post about writing, so for this event, I will being posting about what I've learned about writing a novel.
H is for Hero: a person of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his or her brave deeds and noble qualities. (Dictionary.com)
Though a story’s hero is usually the protagonist, not all protagonists are heroes. In order to be a hero, the protagonist should be highly accomplished, witty, and colorful. He needs to jump off the page and demonstrate an inner strength that is both memorable and compelling, all while not being clichéd.
To be heroic, it all comes down to being likable, supportive, and engaging. He should embody the moral code of his community and inspire that community to act when it is threatened. These qualities are important when he gets cut down to size by the enemy. Sure, he may be imperfect—a human with a chip on his shoulder—but this only gives him room to change. Turn his affliction into integrity; balance his strength with humility.
Most heroes are self-sacrificing, forfeiting themselves or their own goals for the benefit of someone else. This is probably the hero’s most mythic quality, powerfully hitting the reader at a visceral or gut level. We are able to forgive anyone who is trying to be good.
My novel’s protagonist does heroic things and has heroic qualities, but he’s not really a hero. He’s too dark and steps way over the line. But it is his need to be heroic that propels him forward, to atone for his great sins.
Do you prefer the protagonist be a true hero, or do you like dark characters who struggle towards redemption?