For this week’s question, the answer is a bit complicated. I’m breaking it up into three different parts of the one answer.
Q: How do I create a good leading hero?
A: There are three general steps to creating any good hero, no matter their gender.
1. Don’t fall into stereotypes. That doesn’t mean your character won’t have similar qualities that can fall under a certain stereotype, but don’t do your readers the disfavor of creating a character who is bland and lacks all complexity because they simply fall under a general description. You know, the “chosen one,” the “moody one”. That’s not to say Harry Potter and every other chosen one isn’t loved, but they can all sort of blur together if something about them isn’t made more distinct than just being “the chosen one”.
2. Give characters something more complex details that are memorable. This can be the fact that the character LOVES carrying around a bag of cheerios to bribe their BFF’s evil dog. That’s an interesting dynamic for the character and also an interesting look into the character’s personality. They’re friends with someone who owns a scary dog and is not afraid to bribe that dog to get to the quality buddy time they want.
3. Give characters room to grow. The example I gave was Captain America and Iron Man [MCU versions, for you comic junkies], both great examples of growth. Iron Man is an example of a character whose values change. He changes from a self-centered playboy to an easily guilt-inflicted, responsibility-oriented adult who still has control issues. So at the heart of it, some of what makes him still remains. Captain America is the complete opposite. His values never change, but his reaction to the world around him changes. He believes in the same ideals of justice, honor, and duty, but his reaction to that (following orders without question, always following the letter of the law) change. Both characters also grow in response to each other.
So yeah, these are the three parts to one answer. 1. Make your character a bit more than a stereotype 2. Give them some interesting details that are memorable. 3. Give them room to grow.
Did this help? Do you have any tips to create a great hero?