Friday, June 10, 2011

Heroes Must be Heroic

I recently watched a 'made for TV' movie.  I looked forward to it because I enjoy watching the actor staring in the movie in all his roles and I love the books the movie character is based upon.  Well, I was extremely disappointed.  I kept waiting for something to happen.  Not only did the story progress at a snail's pace but the star of the show didn't do anything.  Mostly he stared into his coffee or drank himself insensible.  Not very heroic.

Whether it's a book or a movie, we like our heroes and heroines to act heroically.  As a writer of a book or a screen play, we must give our main character a chance to be heroic.  There are classic ways to act like a hero.  One of my favorites is when the hero or heroine sacrifices their dream, maybe their life, or their career for the greater good of the world or their family or whatever community is at stake.  I even titled one of my books for that very scenario.

And who won't love a hero who stands up for the oppressed or the helpless.  Isn't the world a better place with such people?

Sometimes it's heroic simply to turn the other cheek and take the high road.  Sometimes being the one who doesn't strike back is admirable.

The best books or movies are those that find creative ways to make the hero act in a way to draw the reader into wanting this person to succeed.  We cheer for people we like.   We hope we would act like them in the same situation whether it's to save the world or our family or even slay vampires.

So remember when you're writing to give your hero a way to be heroic.  Give them opponents or situations where they must be that person we all wish to be.  Endless cups of coffee or liquor isn't heroic or interesting.

What plot is your favorite to showcase a hero's brave heart?  Do you prefer the emotional or physical call to arms to define your hero?


  1. A mixture of both. I write an action series, but the MC also met the girl he wants to settle down with, so major changes in his life need to take place. So there is a balance to be struck.

  2. I like to see bravery in my heroes. I want to see them scared like everyone else, but do the hard thing anyway.

  3. My husband and I watched a Netflicks movie last night that was absolutely. horrible. awful. No story, no plot, some kind of film noir copycat thing. How hard can it be to cover the basic story elements in a film or book???

  4. I like a mixture, because that reflects the reality of life better. The physical will require the emotional.

  5. I like it when there's both coming into play; as Alex said, it's more realistic if the call to arms is both physical and emotional.

  6. I would add that, when a hero is hard at work conquering his inner demons over a cup of coffee, it's alot easier to bring that to life in a book than in a movie.

  7. I like a mixture of both as well, but if the struggle's internal, then I like a story of a hero who redeems himself by overcoming the internal obstacle. Inevitably, he follows it up with some physical action.