4 February 2017

Writing: Back to Basics - Is Your Hero or Heroine Heroic?

The term Hero or Heroine is hardly used these days. It smacks too much of melodrama where the good are very, very good and the bad and just damned rotten. Main Character has been the term for as long as I’ve been writing, because readers expect characters in shades of grey [not those Shades of Grey].

Main characters have foibles and fears, wants and needs. They lie to themselves; they are in denial. They are, in a phrase, just like you and me. And herein lies the problem.

Ordinary people go with the flow. Few are so driven or ambitious as to start with a penny in their pocket and after 40 years of hard graft stand as CEO of a global empire. Ordinary people work for people like that; they don’t set out to become one.

Yet in fiction, they do; they must.

In my work-in-progress I have found myself in a structural taffle – read about it HERE – and I’ve been following back the threads to undo the knots. It seems that my main character, that ‘ordinary person in extraordinary circumstances’, has been so fascinated by the ‘extraordinary circumstances’ that instead of being proactive he’s been marking time. Slap across the wrist for both of us.

Rather than thinking of him as the Main Character from next door, perhaps I should think of him as the Hero, or at least the Hero Who Fails. That way, at least, he’ll be trying.

How proactive is your main character? Proactive enough? Or is there too much going with the flow?

Image by JanBaby via Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

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