Friday, September 14, 2012

12 Tips on Creating an Engaging Flawed Hero

Stock by cherrybomb-81

12 Tips on Creating an Engaging Flawed Hero

  1. Flawed — But not just any flaw. A flaw that the reader can see prevents her from getting what she needs to be a better person. Instantly you've created a problem the reader hopes the Hero will be able to solve.

  2. Passionate about what they do — It's often why villains are so appealing: they love what they do! Even if he's selfishly motivated to solve a problem, if he's passionate, he's engaging. Like Sherlock and House.


  3. An admirable value — Duty, honor, dedication to family. There's something to admire amidst the thorns.

  4. Compassion towards those weaker — also called "Save the cat" or "Pet the dog."

  5. Important to someone or something else — a flower in an abandoned lot, a broken winged bird, a dying language, a small child.

  6. "Grit" — no matter the obstacle, she's determined.

  7. "Wit" — Humor that, though barbed, is insightful not mean spirited.

  8. "It"* — sex appeal, charm.

  9. Undeserved misfortune** — Not just misfortune but undeserved. The Hero isn't as bad as life is treating him.

  10. Vulnerable but determined not to let others see weakness — Others may mistake this as pretense, until the Hero's handicap or misfortune is revealed.

  11. Circumstances that make unpleasant behavior understandable — Release from prison, death of a loved one.

  12. Quirk — What is it about quirks that humanizes people? It also makes the character more memorable.

© Joyce Fetteroll 2012

* "Grit, wit and it." James Scott Bell, The Art of War for Writers.
** "Undeserved misfortune." Jeffrey Alan Schechter, My Story Can Beat Up Your Story!
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