Monday, April 9, 2012

A to Z Challenge: H is for Hero




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?  

29 comments:

Susan Roebuck said...

I think faulty heroes are the best because they reflect life. Not everyone (well, no-one really) is James Bond - not that he didn't have his faults. So bring on a bit of dark, I'm all in favor!

Natalie Aguirre said...

I agree with Susan that a hero needs faults. Just like everyone has them. But they also have to sacrifice like you say.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I like a mixture - depends on the story. My main character did not start out a hero (or all that likeable) but he finds those qualities in the end.

Nick Wilford said...

I prefer a hero who is working towards redeeming themselves because no one can be all good.

Murees Dupé said...

This is a really great post. Very informative actually. I am not really picky about the type of hero's that I like, just as long as they are interesting. But I am a sucker for the dark and tortured types, just saying.

Clare said...

Personally I prefer darker, more edgy anti-heroes.

Lisa L. Regan said...

A little bit of both, I think! Both have their merits. My personal favorites are heroes who are trying to do the right thing when everything is against them. That is a struggle that resonates with me for some reason.

Donna Martin said...

Hi...I'm hopping over from the A to Z challenge. Lovely post...good luck with the challenge.

Donna L Martin
www.donasdays.blogspot.com

cleemckenzie said...

Personally I like heroes who are complicated like yours. The perfect hero can be a bore and definitely not believable. Here's to the flawed protagonist.

I'm having a great A to Z Challenge experience. Tired but learning so much from all the bloggers I'm visiting.

Sara said...

I like both, although, its hard to find things with pure hero's anymore.

I think thats both to reflect life, and because as readers/society or whatever we've become more complex in what we expect from stories. Look at tv for example.

Juliana L. Brandt said...

"But it is his need to be heroic that propels him forward, to atone for his great sins." -What an awesome motivation for your character!

Carrie Butler said...

You know I love dark characters who struggle with things. :D Great post!

Karen Walker said...

I really like faulty heroes. They are so much more interesting to read about.
Karen

Hektor Karl said...

"But it is his need to be heroic that propels him forward, to atone for his great sins."

I like heroes of all stripes, but this sounds pretty enticing. :)

ladysknight said...

Agree about the hero with a fault or a weakness
realized our a to z hero needed some help ...
so tomorrow he's going down

ladys knight

Jennifer Hillier said...

I love the sound of your hero. My heroine was very much like yours - flawed, dark, difficult.

It's funny, as a reader I don't mind a true hero at all, but as a writer, I can't write one. They all seem to need redeeming.

Joylene said...

Gads, I'm a statistic! I like the dark hero. Why??? Hmm. I could look it up, but I think I know. We women love our challenges. Until we're in our 50s. LOL. Probably one of cinema's first dark hero would have be Rick Blaine in Casablanca. In fiction, Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind. Still makes me swoon. LOL.

M Pax said...

Hi Nancy!! :) I like the dark ones working for redemption, which is why I can't wait to read your book.

prerna pickett said...

I like both, it just dependson the mood of the book.

Chuck said...

I prefer them to be a true hero...like Mad Max!

Jaycee DeLorenzo said...

I enjoy a little bit of both, to be honest. :D

Tia Bach said...

A lovely H post. I prefer a struggle toward redemption so I can feel better about myself, ahem, I mean form a more realistic bond with the character.

Lucy Adams said...

I like characters who struggle toward redemption. Characters who are solely heroes are typically flat. I need a character with depth and range.

Thank you for visiting my blog today. I'm your newest follower.

Happy A to Z.

Lucy

Jo said...

Don't want them too dark, but then I don't want them apparently perfect for then they would be boring. Good H. Enjoy your Halibut.

Manzanita said...

My ideal hero is Heathcliff. If it's "dark" we're talking, that is Heathcliff. If he were perfect, I doubt if he would be so attractive.

Alexandra Heep said...

I like all kinds of heroes, it depends on my mood. If the story is believable, it matters not to me what type he is.

Alex

Lynda R Young said...

I prefer somewhere between the two, although I enjoy both types of characters. I guess it depends on the story.

The Rambling Pages said...

I am loving the idea so many people have of using a theme for thsi challenge. As for my heros, I kind of like those down trodden ones where people have as good as written them off and they rise above it and prove themselves - that they are not all bad. Thanks for visiting me and following, am now following you too x

Beverly Diehl said...

I like and appreciate damaged heroes. S/he can be primarily a good guy, but there needs to be at least a little edge, where s/he MIGHT go over to The Dark Side, to hold my interest.