Part 3: Characters
Section B: The Hero/Heroine (also called the Protagonist)
Please remember that this article is slightly biased. My opinions are not the complete truth and some authors/readers may disagree with some of the things I write. Everything I write comes from experience in writing and reading things online and in books.
Sorry for not writing in a long time, I've been busy on Tuesdays with Taekwondo and writing classes and all, so I've decided to do this post on Wednesdays instead.
I've already went over characters in my last post, but here I will go deeper.
The Hero/Heroine figure in a story is, for the most part, the main character of the story. Sometimes the main character is the side character, a bystander, or even the villain but most of the time the Hero/Heroine and main character are one and the same. In this post when I refer to the main character I will be speaking about the hero/heroine.
In many ways, your main character is the most important figure in your story and so, they are sometimes the hardest to craft. What do they look like? What are their names? What are they like; are they genuinely nice, do they have a darker nature or are the even a mix of both? What is their gender and age? How do they fit into the story and how do they solve the problems that come to them?
There are different types of hero/heroine's to work with. There are the reluctant type who take on their responsibilities with great trepidation and there are the eager type who jump for the chance at adventure and glory(though a lot of the time they come to realize that adventure and glory isn't all it's cracked out to be). There is also the cocky action hero, and the modest humble hero who just does what they feel is right. There are many types of hero/heroine's to choose from and which ever you choose will help determine and shape your story.
It is important to realize that on your first try, that more likely than not, your main character isn't going to be the way you want them to be. And that's okay; your character will grow from the page and into you and your readers the longer you work with her/him. Main characters are always a joy to write; and even though sometimes we writers may worry that they aren't life-like, or three-dimensional enough, the hero/heroine will eventually pull through on their own(that is, if you stay with the same character and story).
Another thing to remember is that some of the time, after you've worked with your character enough to know them inside and out, they will take the story in a different direction or they will be drawn to a certain person in the story that you hadn't planned for before hand(I know this has happened to me...a lot).
Hero/Heroine do's and don't's
The MOST important thing to remember while creating your main character and how they deal with their situation is to make sure you know what to NOT do.
The number one thing to never do it make your character too perfect. This is what is called in the writing world a "Mary Sue" or a "Gary Stu". Sometimes as authors we want our characters to be the best since, half the time, this person is based on who we are and who we wish to be. It's very tempting for early authors to do this(I will admit to having done this when I first started) and since it's a common pitfall it's important to be on the lookout for this when re-reading your work.
Common traits of a Mary Sue/Gary Stu are perfect looks, having almost prodigious abilities, having an abundance of cliche and or stereotypical traits(such as red hair = hothead or blond hair = airhead), or absolutely no flaws.
Remember, characters are people and, like people, they should have flaws. They don't have to be huge, but the character should at least be like people you see around you. Your main character can be pretty/handsome and they can be good at what are learning to or already doing but don't go overboard on perfection; that way, the character won't be as easy to relate to for readers and won't seem like an actual person.
Also, please remember that your characters personality should reflect their personality. A person growing up in a crappy, abusive background they most likely isn't going to be some innocent, happy-go-lucky individual; though of course if you wanted to have him/her be that way in a twisted sort of way, it could make for an interesting story. But for the most part, try to understand where this person you have created is coming from, do research on things you don't fully understand or have never experienced.
Another thing I have noticed in several books is that sometimes the main character, especially if it's a girl, won't be directly involved in the action, especially if it has to do with a battle/fight. In my personal opinion, the main character, regardless of their gender, should be directly involved in the action; but then, that's just my take on it :)
Hero/Heroine's I enjoy and think are really good examples of well developed main characters.
Same Gamgee(I know, he's more of a side-kick character, but to me, he's a hero)
Gregor (from The Underland Chronicles)
Anakin Skywalker(before he goes all evil, that is)
Tally (from the Uglies series)
Ella(from Ella Enchanted)
Enna (from Enna Burning)
Princess Addie (from The Two Princesses of Bamarre)
Melinda Sordino (from Speak)
Jessie (from Running out of Time)
And of course, I really enjoy my main character :)
Who are some of your favorite heroes/heroines?
Have a good rest of your night and May the Force be with you! :)