Posted in Character Development Writing

The Secret To Writing Kick A** Heroes

The Secret To Writing Kick A** Heroes Posted on January 18, 2019Leave a comment

The secret to writing kick a** heroes and protagonists is simple. All you have to do is answer three crucial questions:

What problem/flaw does he/she have?

What does he/she want?

What does he/she need?

The secret to writing kick a** heroes and protagonists is simple. All you have to do is answer three crucial questions.

The Hero’s Problem/Flaw

Let’s begin with the hero’s problem/flaw’.

In every story, the hero/protagonist has a problem that they need to overcome. This problem will, in some way or another, be linked to your hero’s flaw/s.

For example: In J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry’s primary problem is that Voldermolt is rising again and wants to kill him. This coupled with the fact that Harry is young and wildly inexperienced with magic, makes for an interesting challenge. The story wouldn’t be half as appealing to readers if Harry was an older, wiser and experienced wizard.

What the Hero Wants

Next, you need to decide what your hero wants. Do they want to prove themselves worthy? Get revenge? Find true love? Whatever it is, it needs to be something that your hero thinks will make them happy.

The secret to writing kick a** heroes and protagonists is simple. All you have to do is answer three crucial questions. Find out what they are here:

Let’s stick with the Harry Potter example. In the series, Harry desperately wants to be a regular boy/wizard with a loving family. This is made apparent in the beginning chapters of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Harry, who has been modestly mistreated by the Dursleys is suddenly thrust into the limlight of a magical world. There is no middle ground for Harry. This theme is echoed throughout the books in different forms – Sirus Black, Remus Lupin and the Order of the Phonix. He loses these things/people because he isn’t a regular boy/wizard, he is the chosen one.

What the Hero Needs

First things first: Your hero’s wants are not to be confused with your hero’s needs. In the best stories, what the hero wants and what the hero needs are two very different things. All good stories follow this format. Your hero will chase what they think they want and on that journey, they will eventually discover what they truly need. This acceptance will help them overcome the final obstacle in the novel. For example, in fantasy and adventure novels, heroes often travel far and wide, slaying monsters and escaping death only to realise that what he/she needed was inside them all along – ultimately fixing the character flaw that was established at the beginning of the story.

Let’s return to our Harry Potter example. At the end of the series, Harry needed to accept that he is not an ordinary boy/wizard and would need to face Voldemort once and for all, in a final bid to save the wizarding world – even if it means sacrificing himself to do it. He accepts the responsibility that comes with being ‘The Chosen One’.

I hope these examples have helped paint a clearer picture of the things you need to strive for when writing your own heroes and protagonists. Do you have any tricks for writing kick a** heroes? If so, share them in the comments. I love reading about your projects and methods.

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