Progress Report: I’ve finished chapters 13 – 16 in my search of ‘ly’ and ‘ing’ words and made the corrections. The Colorado Gold Conference delayed my edits last week. So this week I plan to finish eight chapters or more.
Monday: Characters, the Hero:
In the sports arena, the star athlete has taken years to accomplish his/her status. In the beginning s/he was just another kid who loved the sport. (Pick your favorite and interject it here). Maybe they came by the gift naturally. Maybe they had parents who were involved in the sport too. Maybe they had a mentor, someone who took an interest in them and encouraged them to play their sport. Maybe they just wanted to hang with the crowd that loved that sport. In all cases, for this person to become a professional athlete meant years of training, from learning the sport, to disciplining their bodies and mind, to practice, practice and more practice. At some point in all of this a dream developed. Then the dream became a goal. Once it was a goal, they set their sights on the final end result, put their head down and did whatever it took to achieve their goal.
This quality, whether in the athlete or in another profession makes that person a hero. Most of us don’t consider ourselves heroes. But when a writer is looking for the qualities to make their character a hero or heroine, this is exactly what they think of. There are other characteristics of the hero as well. The willingness to sacrifice themselves for others or something they believe in. Any service profession fits this description. Usually we think of those in fire department, military, police, paramedics or doctors and nurses first.
In fiction as well as real life, there are those who are accidental heroes. What does this mean? It is the person who is in the right place at the right time, or perhaps in their opinion, they are there at the wrong time. Regardless they choose to help. To save the child from being hit by a car, or to interfere with a robbery, or maybe the person who runs into a burning building to save the dog. You get the idea. They are heroes.
So what does it take to write a hero? You need to understand your character. What is his/her goal in life? What happens that interferes with their goals and sets them on the path of the hero? Did they choose to take this action? Or where they trust into the middle of things without a clue? Every writer must decide what type of hero best fits the story they want to tell.
Some writers know the plot, or story first, and then create a hero and other characters to tell the story. Some writers know the hero first and build the story around the hero’s qualities. Some writers are inspired by actual events or a person they have met or read about and go about changing enough elements of the person to fit their idea of their hero. Other writers, myself included, do not base any character on a real person.
One thing is absolutely certain, without a compelling hero, the writer’s wonderful story cannot be told.
Who is your favorite hero or heroine of all time? Please do tell.