Posts Tagged ‘hero’




Do you choose a hero as your main character or heroine? Why does it matter which gender? Does it affect the genre you write in or even challenge how you might think behind the main character?

The choice I always face when starting my books is finding whatever spark is that inspired it. Sometimes it’s a name that I’ve added onto; sometimes it’s a scene from a movie that I get so pumped about that I wish that I had written something similar or gives me an idea on how I could have done it differently with that premise. Sometimes it’s a person walking along the street with some feature like a colorful turban around wild curls that just fascinates me or a younger girl struggling to be taken seriously when she lacks height in a tall room or a strong voice. Something always triggers this for writers. It’s not always a character-but the question I want to ask myself after I write the premise and outline for the story is not what is next but who is going to be starring. Sometimes I fall in love with a good side character and end up realizing that I want a different main character to accompany them and partner up. I choose hero or heroine based on this: do I want to challenge myself and write from a guy’s perspective-something that I’m not familiar with since I’m a girl but yet know their actions from growing up with boys? Or do I want to appeal to that genre that I’m writing in or certain time period when a girl just wouldn’t have been included or doesn’t fit in? I ask these questions when writing a book because accuracy is so important even when writing for yourself. A girl just wouldn’t have been included in too many spy or war films long ago unless you want to step outside of the realistic world and dip into a sort of fantasy you create. Presentation for these books and historic knowledge will enhance your story and make it more believable to more than just a small crowd. Why not appeal to all sorts of audience with accuracy in your story? Everyone enjoys it when the writer takes time and research to carefully construct his story and tell a realistic tale. People want to be sucked into a world that they might live in. They need to be able to get lost in your pages if you want to become successful.

I recently went to see Wonder Woman in theaters and got a taste of that warlike image that women can be powerful and they can make a difference. It was refreshing without being heavy handed and enjoyable because it had enough historical accuracy to might have happened in that fantasy world. They set the bar with superheroes and long forgotten Greek mythology in a world where anything is possible if granted these powers. There is enough accuracy in the abnormality of a woman in a war and having no qualms about showing as much skin as she does that make this movie both funny and relatable.  It wouldn’t have been half as enjoyable if they had not described the time period like they did. It set the mood. It appealed to the genre. But it also appealed to more than just one audience.

This is why you need to be asking hero or heroine when you write your next novel. Which would accurately describe your story and fit in with their job and world they live in? If they lived in the past World Wars, perhaps the girl pretends to be a man to fight alongside her brother or avenge her lost love. I keep harping back to war, but it is an easy way of getting lost when writers insert random character unrealistically in worlds they don’t belong in. If they don’t belong, then explain why the oddity should exist in that world. Don’t just use a gender just to fit back into whatever you are comfortable with and continue the same cookie cutter character in an unrealistic role for them. Appeal to the genre. Appeal to the audience. And don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. Writers don’t become authors just by writing stories. Writers become authors when the audience lives their story.

When you start your next book, ask yourself: hero or heroine?










One attribute that writers often are associated with is anti-social. There has never been a bigger misunderstanding than calling writers anti-social. I, for one, have never been particularly shy. I met most of my friends by bouncing up to them and introducing myself. Don’t get me wrong though; I do love my alone time, but for the most part, my life is in a constant swirl of activity from all of my extra-curricular activities, sports, and the friends I spend time with.

It really is important for writers not to get caught up in their own little world. As one of my friends so kindly put, writers need to see the people around them to create believable stories. This statement could not be any truer. I have found that if I create characters that have the same characteristics as people I know that they are more believable and more relatable. You cannot give your character one flaw and then give that same person fifty other remarkable things that they can do perfectly.


Every reader wants to be able to relate in some way with the main character; thus, you must have a well-developed character. Take Harry Potter for instance, I have always related to him since he always wants to do the right thing. J.K. Rowling makes sure that Harry is a believable character by giving him flaws.

Ever character must have flaws.

If your protagonist in your story does not have any flaws, they will become boring and not relatable. Those who have read Harry Potter know that Harry is relatable in the sense that he has a strong moral compass and we respect that along with his desire to pick his friends based on what good people they are. It is shown in the first book that he rejects the hand of Draco Malfoy, even without knowing that he is rich and a dangerous enemy. Instead, he picks the unlikely ginger, freckled boy on the train who treats him just like any other boy would. They become fast friends and stay by each other’s side throughout the entire seven books. They have their fights but in the end, they know that they do in fact love each other as brothers and always want to be there for one another.

For example, one of my characters from my Demon Days novel from last year’s NaNoWriMo, Hero was a different character that I tried to work in something new with. He was immature, terrible at fighting, reckless in the battlefield and was only kept alive by his friends who kept saving him, and whiny. I generally hate characters like this because I find them useless, but I really wanted to try something new with him. I am terrible at drawing and writing boys. They always end up resembling girls more than guys. But I do hope that I made Hero as believable as possible because the majority of boys that age are immature, do whine, and generally are quite rude without realizing it. Not every main character of every story is going to be amazing with a sword, gun, mace, etc. and not every boy is going to have the smarts to win battles nor the charm to always get the girl. Hero even faints at the sight of blood in front of a girl at one point and peaks his embarrassment even further when he tries to beat her in a practice duel and fails. He is methodical in his learning, preferring to take his own time in learning something and taking pride in what he does know. He is rather arrogant in his only useful skills, which include knowing most of his home world and knowing all of the seemingly useless stories about all of the horrors of their world.  While he seems to be useless in some ways, he does have his few good traits. He is genuinely good at heart and does know that he has to sacrifice some to save his people.  I made Hero a believable protagonist because I believe that everyone can relate to a teenager thrust into the middle of a crisis and forced to grow from it. Hero’s name comes from the fact that he really doesn’t begin the story as a true hero. He grows into it and earns his title. As he gains maturity, Hero becomes what he is insecure about-that he will never become a true hero and that he will never fill the shoes of his predecessor.


There are also strange ways of getting different characteristics for OC’s.  One of my writing friends, M.C. Loftis and I decided that we need to go to an airport one day and watch the kinds of people who stroll through the airport lobby. No two people are alike in their mannerisms and characteristics. Therefore, you must be able to fabricate your characters based on different attributes and flaws to make each one unique but still relatable to your reader.

What my point is that writers cannot afford to be anti-social. They must watch people and interact with them. People are an inspiration and they are what make up characters. You must know people and how they tick. You must be able to analyze someone and figure out their weaknesses and strong suits are in order to make different, believable.

That being said, do not be the person who only makes friends with certain people just to analyze them, and neither does that mean that you need to gossip about them and cut them down just to see how they would react. If you only watch someone long enough to see them frustrated, happy, sad, or stressed, that is all that you need to be able to determine what kind of person they are.


Xoxo, Ella Douglas