No book, no matter how well written, will be enjoyable when you’re running alongside a bland hero. Put some serious thought into your protagonist. Get to know him. After all, who wouldn’t want to meet the guy who saves the day?
If your looking to create a hero who rocks your socks, here are several different types of heroes I’ve read or written about.
And remember, your hero can be a combination of any of these, and you don’t have to restrict your book to just one hero.
Lets start this list off with my favorite type. This hero does all the bad things, has bad values and lacks morals, but winds up serving humanity in the end.
This hero is a trick to write. At what point do all the bad deeds become too much to justify by doing one huge good deed? It may be a more thought-provoking choice, but if you get the balance right, your hero will jump from the pages and could possibly be one of the most powerful types of heroes.
Other Antiheroes: Severus Snape-Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Jay Gatsby-The Great Gatsby, Roland Deschain-Gunslinger, Peter Hayes-Insurgent
This hero has little or no friends, finds himself apart from society and usually lives in his own mind. There are few similarities to be found between this type of hero and normal folks.
This hero speaks to us on a deep level because we can all relate to being an outcast in some way. An immediate emotional attachment is formed between reader and hero, and is a solid choice for a character driven novel.
Other Loner Heroes: Harry potter-Harry Potter Series, Thomas Odd-The Odd Thomas Series, Jace Lightwood-The Mortal Instruments Series
This hero is the “Been there, done that” guy who typically pairs well with ‘The One’ hero. He shares his hard earned wisdom, educating both the hero and reader. He can help mold your hero into one of the other hero types.
Other Veteran Heroes: Brom Holcombsson-Inheritance Cycle , Gandalf-Lord of the Rings, Carlisle Cullen-Twilight Series
The Average Joe
This guy is just a normal shmoe with no otherworldly powers and no especially expert talents. He’s ordinary.
The Average Joe invokes a desire to compare lives between reader and protagonist, leading to a psychological connection, where the reader imagines themselves as the hero. This is the type of hero you choose when you want to send your reader on a hell-ride.
If the hero bleeds, the reader bleeds. When the hero grows and evolves, so does the reader.
Other Average Joes: Bilbo Baggins-The Hobbit, Peeta Melark-The Hunger Games Series
The tough girl equally appeals to both the male and female reader. The girls want to be her, and the guys want to be with her.
Heroines have their own wide-sweeping array of categories. She doesn’t have to be tough as nails, she could just be extraordinarily determined. Classy or jaded, entitled or selfless, bold or timid.
But she must always be capable. Otherwise, she’s no heroine.
Other Heroines: Katniss Everdeen- The Hunger Games Series, Hermione Granger-Harry Potter Series, Clarissa Morgenstern-The Mortal Instruments Series
This hero catches a lot of flak from writers, editors, publishers…basically everyone. BUT it’s because being born with epic gifts seems a bit like a copout. We are unlikely to root for someone who is born awesome. We want to see someone learn and grow and struggle.
Go ahead and give your hero the gifts he needs to save the world. But make him earn them.
Having a young hero in your story sometimes warrants the need to gift peculiar talents, especially when their maturity level is too low to handle anything but forced-upon talents. But they can still earn these talents through tragedy, necessity or something similar.
Other ‘The One’ Heroes: Percy Jackson-Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Paul Atreides-Dune
Ooooo we love this guy. Why? Because this hero has qualities we adore, and it kills us to see him suffer. He’s poked at and prodded to the point any normal human would give up, but this hero keeps on keepin’ on-a glutton for punishment.
Because the odds are stacked against him, when something goes RIGHT, we readers are genuinely moved, because we can’t stand to see another bad thing happen to this hero.
It’s a Tortoise vs. Hare, David and Goliath kind of story. Who doesn’t love an underdog?
Other Underdogs: Captain Yossarian- Catch22, Pi- Life of Pi, Chief Bromden- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
So, tell me… What kind of hero is your favorite?