Let’s talk a little bit about our fictional heroes.
First and foremost, your hero has to be heroic. I know this sounds pretty obvious, but it might not be.
What does it mean for your hero to be heroic? After all, if he’s the hero, then the story revolves around him and he’s the one we’re rooting for and so on. Right?
However, if he doesn’t act like a hero, will we still root for him? Maybe, but don’t we need or deserve more? Surely our heroine does.
Recently, I worked on a story for Crescent Moon Press that will be released soon, but it had a problem with the hero. Since it’s been fixed and the book is wonderful, I think I can tell you a little about it without revealing too much of the story.
In a nutshell, the heroine’s life is in danger from the hero’s brother. The brother literally tries to kill her a couple of times, and while she’s been able to get out of danger, the villain escapes each time.
At one point she tells the hero they have to do something. They have to kill the villain, to which the hero says no, and he gives her a talk about how murder damages your soul and turns you toward being totally evil (there’s a paranormal/demon/witch element to the book). He says he can’t kill someone because his soul will be irreparably harmed. Although it would clearly be self-defense, that doesn’t seem to change his mind.
The heroine asks him what they can do, given that the villain won’t stop until they’re both dead, and the hero tells her they will run. Run and keep running, moving around so the villain can’t find them.
At the end of that version of the story, the hero and heroine are, indeed, on the run.
Clearly, this is not the way a hero should respond to this threat. A hero needs to step up to protect the heroine’s life, and even his own. The idea of a “heroic sacrifice” is an important concept.
Your hero has to be willing to sacrifice even his own life, if need be, to protect the heroine, or even other characters. A real hero would never offer the heroine, the woman he loves, a life of moving around from one motel to another, for the rest of her life.
As I said, the author of this book fixed the problem and the book has a much more satisfying story line now. When the book is released, I’ll make sure you all know it because it’s a wonderful story.
Heroes need to be heroes. They might not be super heroes, Conan clones, or the strong silent types, but they need to be worthy of the heroine or at least, the title “Hero.”
Beta males are heroes, too. They might not have to kill someone to save the heroine’s life, but they still need to be willing to step up and prove they are the man she needs.
Make sure to give your reader a man she can fall in love with, whether he’s an ex-mercenary or a high school science teacher. Your readers will thank you!