FWIS: How To Make A Hero

2 May

FWIS (From Where I Stand) is a monthly piece I’m collaborating on with Abby Mumford & Jessica Corra… all three of us are YA writers in different places in our journeys. Check out their links for this months FWIS from their point of view!


Everyone loves a hero. I mean, seriously – who doesn’t? Women love to swoon. Guys love to fist-bump over some hero’ish move. Kids plaster posters on their walls. Old men talk about the heroes who shaped them.

But, writing one? That’s another story.

You see, something I learned right away (well, right away from readers) was that, your hero can betooperfect. I think as women, we often go that route. We create what (to us) is the perfect man. Even the “flawed hero” is often times too perfect. His flaw even adds to that.

So, let’s take a look at a couple things you may need to consider to make your hero truer (that’s a word. seriously. it is.)

ONE: Perfection!

Come on. We’ve all done it. We’ve created the perfect guy to be our hero. Only, a hero who is perfect is not a perfect hero.

The perfect hero is someone we believe could be real. He’s wonderful because there’s a chance -not matter how slim- that he could walk through that door at any second.

*glances at the door*

Ok, well… Maybe tomorrow.

A real guy doesn’t do all the right things. He doesn’t show love in every way possible.

To break this (not so) vicious cycle, I implemented the TL3 (Two Love Languages Law). If you don’t have the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, you need to pick it up. At this point, there are so many copies out there in the world, you can grab it for a buck or two at most used bookstores.

And then, pick two. If you pick Gifts and Words of Affirmation, every time your hero does an Act of Service, delete it. If your hero is to perfect, don’t replace it with something else. Just delete it.

Trust me. I’m not kidding. It works.

Let’s just say, in my first book, the hero drugs and kidnaps and underage girl (he’s just of age, she’s just under) and all my readers thought this was acceptable because he was So Great. No. Don’t lose your powerful moments and chances for redemption because your heroes romantic actions outweigh his life actions.

TWO: What’s the Problem, Joe?

The hero needs a problem. (I mean, any protag needs a problem, but really. The hero needs one.)

How many times have you read a romance and the heroine was  a complete mess and the hero was perfect. No issues. No problems with her mess. Handled everything perfectly.

That’s not a good read. That’s annoying. At the end of those books I wonder why he’s with her. The problem has got to come out soon because no guy is going to put up with all that crap. I’ll admit, I’m sick to death of the heroine being unemployed, stupid, confused, lost in life, having family issues, in debt, living out of her car, etc and this wealthy, successful, handsome, kind, generous, funny, smart, rescues-kittens-from-trees on his way to a business meeting hero is like, OH! Yes! HER! The woman who can’t even drive to the grocery story without having an emotional breakdown. I’ll take her.

There needs to be some balance. Make sure both sides of the relationship have something to over come.

To me, the formula should be: (Hero + His issues) + (Heroine + Her Issues) + Something They Over Come collectively = Strong Romance.

THREE: He’s Hot

Some of my favorite heroes are hot in surprising ways. It’s not how they look, it’s how they are. You know that saying, “Beauty is skin deep” – well, make sure with your hero hot goes all the way through.

FOUR: Growth

All of those add up to a hero who comes out better ont he other side. If he doesn’t, you need to go back and look at the first two. He needs to grow. He needs to be more than just the prize.

Hey, women don’t want to be the prize, they want to be a partner. Don’t flip the stereotype. Keep your hero on an upward momentum of awesomeness. Keep the challenges coming (and him overcoming) and keep the heroine forcing him to stay on his toes.

There you go, you just deleted all the cookie-cutter stuff and made a hero who will win hearts.


6 Responses to “FWIS: How To Make A Hero”

  1. abby mumford May 2, 2012 at 10:24 am #

    now this is an interesting (and very different) take on the topic from what jess and i wrote, but everything you said is valid and important to keep in mind when crafting a hero(ine)!

  2. Bria Quinlan May 2, 2012 at 10:25 am #

    Wow, you’re fast! I’m just heading over to read yours! LOL

  3. sharonccooper May 2, 2012 at 10:29 am #

    Nice post, and good suggestions!

  4. Bria Quinlan May 2, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    Thanks Sharon. I’m a big believer in write him awesome and back it out LOL

  5. jessicacorra May 2, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

    FABULOUS post. I’m SO glad I miscommunicated the topic so we could get these great tips. The love language thing … you know I have issues with Xianity but this is actually one take-away I think nails it. (I am SO words of affirmation. like, irrevocably forever and ever amen. even if I KNOW two plus two is four, sometimes I just want someone else to tell me, hey, yeah, four.)

  6. Bria Quinlan May 2, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

    Don’t worry. It’s four 😉

    On the upside, I no longer struggle with overly perfect heroes 😉

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