Is there a perfect hero? I don’t think so. I believe that every character has a crack. Throughout your story, you must make that crack bigger until it bursts. Then, it is up to the character to patch it back up. I mean, every character must have a flaw, right? Actually, I just wrote a scene in The Queen’s Messenger novel where Sawyer does something practically unheard of. She receives surprised stares and feels as if she failed. But you know what? She took the chance. I won’t spoil anything, but I will say this: Your character must do the unexpected to be the unexpected. If your character is perfect, he/she is not personable. I have flaws myself, why shouldn’t my characters?
The truth is, there is no perfect protagonist.
Trust me, Katniss Everdeen made MANY mistakes. Anastasia Knight struggles with her inner self. She has trouble pulling the trigger–literally!
So if there is no perfect protagonist, what can I do to make he/she an intriguing hero? You must pump your own flaws and emotions in your characters. Say you have trouble with putting your foot in your mouth. Make your character a loud mouth that gets him/her into major trouble. However, you should not always use your own flaws. Take inspiration from your friends and family (but don’t offend them! Make the character somewhat connected to a person in real life but do not take advantage of it!) Don’t forget, your characters are people too–make them act like them. You must dig into the raw emotions of a character’s soul. What makes them tick? What makes them cry? Anastasia Knight loves her friends… she could not bear to see anything happen to them. She discovers that she cannot protect everyone. Sawyer Princeton finds that she cannot please everyone, so she goes against the crowd, which causes many people to become angry with her and are put into danger because of her actions. As i have mentioned in “Do You Have Guts?”, your characters must take risks to keep the reader on the edge of his/her seat. Also, your characters must have good relationships. You can’t just have a protagonist and a villain. You must have a supporting group of characters and, perhaps, a love interest (or several, depending on the type of book). A good example is Roxanne Kosma in my Reformation Trilogy. Roxanne is spunky, loud, and witty. She is a memorable character not only for her personality but for her appearance:
“‘I’m so so sorry!’ Her blob of chin-length, curly auburn hair bounced as she raced toward them. Oddly, her hair was streaked with bright pink, and her cheeks appeared as if they withheld golf balls. Her freckled face was dripping with perspiration, and her exotic green eyes darted between Anastasia and Draco. Decked in a suit of black, she abruptly stopped in front of them. ‘I’m still working out the kinks.’ Her strident voice rang in Anastasia’s ears. Scooping up the disc behind Anastasia with her bright pink gloves, she placed it in the forth pocket on that sleeve. She seemed older than Anastasia, yet her height contradicted that assumption. Adjusting her tight leather jacket, her bright eyes stared at her. ‘You a new inventor?'”
See? Whenever Roxanne enters the scene, it is brought to life! She is one of my favorites because of how memorable she is. As the books continue, you peek into her past, but most is hidden to keep the reader questioning about this intriguing girl.
The plot of a story is the body, and the characters are the heart. Therefore, make sure your characters are believable, exciting, and unique. Otherwise, even if you have a good story to tell, your readers will not finish your book because the characters are lifeless.
Do you have a favorite character that you have written about or read about? Please, comment below!
Together, we can discover the key to being published. Share your thoughts in the comment section!
Until next time,
S. G. B.