Writing for Comics

Characters – Hero

I Need a Hero!

Don’t we all! That wonderful guy that’s up to the task of making everyone fall in love with him. He’s a part of the story along with the heroine. That means he’s rounded and grows into a fully developed character along with her (or possibly him).

I’m going to keep it simple for this post compared to the much longer heroine post. Not to say that heroes don’t have as many facets in the archetype field. I just know they are talked about lots and there are many views on what way to categorize them. Maybe I will give them a longer post of their comparative archetypes later. Personally, I create my heroine once I have an idea of the story I want to tell. Then, the hero if created to counter her in several areas. They have to have issues that can be fixed or solved by the other and doing it this way makes a clear layout of what they are.

For this set of notes, I kept it simple and used the Alpha and Beta hero archetypes.

Alpha Hero

Everyone knows this hero. Although he is based on the long ago debunked alpha wolf studies from long ago, he holds dear in the heart of many romance readers. He’s the man in charge who can get things done. Usually having a way with the ladies, he wants for not when it comes down to them vying for his affections. This guy is intelligent, decisive, self-confident and irresistibly attractive. Successful with plenty of swag, he’s at the top of his game. Or, so we think. Inside, there is something underneath all of that bravado and only the heroine can help bring it to the surface. This part of his character is what keeps our heroine there after the initial physical attraction.

Kind of ‘normal’ for a hero isn’t he? Maybe this is too blanket of a description. Let’s get a bit specific in this category with two of my favorite kinds of alphas.

1. Bad Boy: This rebel is mean and tough, the kind of sexy guy that you love to hate. Defined as trouble from his introduction, the bad boy deals in the dangerous, but we want to delve deep into his world. Everyone is always pushed to do the moral thing, to do what is right for the community, but he doesn’t care about any of that. No one comes before him in his eyes and he is content with his selfish ways. He won’t be doing anything considered chivalrous unless it’s over the top just to get on the heroine’s nerves and make her scrunch her nose in that cute way that he likes. It will be things like that that will get him to turn from his old bad ways and get the heroine to only do things like that in jest. He will, at some point, want her to be in his circle, to know that he can care about things outside of himself. The heroine would have to realize that it truly takes a special person to get into that said circle and be willing to stay there.

2. Humans need not apply: This dark and lustful personality exudes amorality while still being the most sought after body to be bedded by women. Tending to be a bit bad himself, his behavior can be attributed to his inhumanity and he normally enjoys his indulgences to achieve maximum satisfaction. Although he denies any good has come from or could come from him, the heroine can see it clear as day. It will take her to help him bring out a bit of humanity (at least the good parts) and overcome any obstacles that stunted his growth as a person.

Beta Hero

Love me tender! The Beta isn’t the spotlight gifted or highly visual kind of hero. A wealth of character is what drives the heroine towards him, not good looks or financial wealth for that matter.  Although he isn’t the macho man, there’s a point where someone or something she loves is threatened and he will fight for it.

His easy going personality and a keen sense of humor will make him easy to befriend and loved my many. The beta can be considered truer to life than the alpha by many standards. He would also be a viable candidate for a long relationship.

There is such a thing as a blended hero.  Attributes from both the Alpha and the Beta can create a complex and loveable character.

The rule of thumb is that a hero must have three things to be great:

Be Active: He has to do something. He has to be the one to move his hate into the direction of the heroine. If everything just comes in a happenstance way, he wouldn’t have the ability to learn from his journey. How could he be worthy of our heroine by the end of the story?

Act with Integrity: Will he do what is right, even when no one is looking? We don’t need a Dudley Do-Right because that would be boring. He should be caring and honest. Self-sacrifice doesn’t come hard to him when someone he loves is threatened.

Has to have a Flaw: If he’s perfect, he is doomed to be boring and nobody wants that. Giving him a flaw, quirk or fear makes him more human, which is great! Since, you know, humans will be reading your story. This issue should also lead to conflict, which has to be overcome to reach a true Happily Ever After also. Note – The flaw has to be redeemable. If the hero is a compulsive liar just because he wants to, he has to go. But, if he is a spy and has to lie to the heroine because it’s a life or death situation from a covert mission, he will be forgiven.

What type of hero do you like to see with your heroines?

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