Monday, September 10, 2012

The Seven Deadly Sins and Your Hero; Pride

Welcome to another edition of The Seven Deadly Sins and Your Hero. Today we look at Pride. You may wonder about pride as a sin. In fact, pride is a complex emotion according to Wikipedia. At the negative end, pride is a sense that 'I'm superior, better than the other guy.' In the positive sense, pride is the result of a good sense of ones self, not over indulged, simply positive self-esteem.

Shall we look at the negative?

If your character is proud, and/or carries themselves in a superior manner...nose in the air, barely acknowledging other characters than you will have a problem establishing this character as the hero. The Bible says, 'Pride goeth before a fall.' Keep that in mind. Your proud character must suffer a loss of some kind in order to see the error of  his or her ways. Or they must come face to face with a humbling experience, take a visit to a starving village in Africa or another 3rd world country. Or even here in the USA, in a downtown urban neighborhood where the jobless rate is above average and crime rules the streets. However you decide to handle this character flaw keep in mind, many readers will immediately have a negative reaction to your hero. This is because we all know one or more  proud and obnoxious individuals. Sometimes they are members of our family. You have your work cut out for you. My guess is that the change must begin before the end of Chapter One.

If your character is blessed with a good sense of self esteem and you want to enhance the readers understanding of this then your character is likely involved with some charity work or has nothing but encouraging words to say to others. I think this is just as difficult. Unless you add a conflict that threatens their well being you will end up with a two dimensional character and a weak story.

However you decide to use 'Pride" in your manuscript, it is a viable emotion that can be a challenge.

I hope this post was helpful.

PS: I'm looking for critique partners. If interested leave a comment with your email and we will chat.


Pictures linked; Wikipedia.


Southpaw said...

I've not used pride as a major factor in my writing.

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Holly
Neither have I. Thanks for stopping by.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

My character had a great deal of pride, which I labeled 'cockiness.' And yes, it was a challenge to make him likeable.

Carolyn V said...

I love it when a story adds pride that brings the bad guy down. So awesome. Great post Nancy!

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Alex
That would be a challenge.

Hi Carolyn
Yup, and boy do they land hard.

Thank you both for stopping by and leaving a comment. It is greatly appreciated.

Lexa Cain said...

OMG! Thank you so much for this post - it came at the perfect time for me. I have a new project I'm plotting and I wasn't clear about the villain's character arc. PRIDE!! I get it now! And his ultimate downfall works out perfectly. Thanks. You ROCK! :-D

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Lexa
Glad I could help so much. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

MAJK said...

Excellent post. I find another manner in which pride can be useful for a character is if they have been through something that hurt badly and they use the pride/arrogance/cockiness to put a safe distance between them and others. It's a reaction that is common in average people so it allow the reader to identify with or sympathize with the hero. I enjoyed your post.


N. R. Williams said...

Hi Majk
So glad you enjoyed this post. An excellent suggestion. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Pat Tillett said...

Hi Nancy, It's been a while.
Those are some good pointers that I'm going to file away and use. thanks!

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Pat
Yes, I'm back but oh so busy trying to get caught up with everyone. Glad I could assist you.