James Bond. Batman. Robin Hood. Every reader longs for a hero, and it’s not just a girl thing. Men admire champions as well. This means that as a writer who wants to gain readership, creating a heroic protagonist isn’t just a good idea.
But what makes a great hero? Six-pack abs? Bulging biceps? A smile that makes every woman within a 5 mile radius sit up and beg?
No. Even villains can look like Michelangelo’s David can still be rotten to the core.
So, outward appearances aside, what goes in to writing a heart-stirring fella that makes you want to whip out some pom-poms and cheer until your throat burns?
I’ve given serious thought about the ultimate hero I can use for a model. King Arthur wins hands-down for chivalry, but Atticus Finch trumps with social justice. After much consideration, I finally came up with one all-time, can’t-argue-with-this heroic figure…
I know. I know. To some it might seem sacrilegious to be so presumptuous as to try to create a fictional character based on the son of God. Far be it from me to think I can infuse divine qualities into a pen and ink creation.
But, hey, it’s worth a shot. So here’s a list of attributes to infuse superhuman memorable traits into your hero that will stir the heart of any reader.
This is the dude who never gives up. He’s got a mission, and nothing will stop him from completing it. Readers admire a hero who takes hardships on the chin, all in the name of carrying out his responsibilities.
I’m not talking merely physical might. A hero must be able to withstand any number of blows, from mental to spiritual. Notice I didn’t say he doesn’t stumble or get hurt. Strength has an undertone of perseverance.
A leading character must be able to look beyond an outward situation, zero in on the heart, then respond with love—even if it’s tough love.
Any memorable hero is going to stick up for the underdog. There’s a time and place for righteous anger over injustice, and this character is willing to take action to do something about it
Who doesn’t admire a person that knows exactly who they are? Just remember there’s a razor-thin line between confidence and conceit.
Giving for the good of others is an irresistible attribute that inspires awe and loyalty—not just from the other characters, but from your reader as well.
Those are just a few. I’m sure you can think of more. Obviously, there is only one, Jesus, so there’s no way a ‘real life’ fictional character could embody all these traits and still be believable. Don’t overdo it, and keep in mind that your hero still needs to have a flaw or two.
There you have it. Now that your character is super on the inside, go ahead…slap on some bulging biceps, and you’re good to go.
So, what traits are you working on incorporating within your protagonist? Or, on a lighter note, who was your childhood hero/heroine?
And for the procrastinators among us, which superhero are you?