I’ve never liked goody-goody heroes. I don’t find it interesting to see a perfect person do perfect things saving schmoes like me from the problems and troubles we find ourselves.
I prefer my heroes to be relatable. I want them to have dents, bangs and scratches from real life. I want them to be tempted to do what’s easy, to go for revenge, or to be self-serving. Sometimes I want a hero to act not necessarily from noble motivation but do what’s expedient. C’mon the rest of us do that would a hero at least be tempted? at least dismiss those thoughts?
I’m a fan of the reluctant hero. The one that rises to the occasion because there is no one else to do so. The one that doesn’t want to be there and if Superman or Captain America swooped in to take over my hero would gladly let them. Yet since the goody-goodies aren’t there and my hero is, they do the best they can to do the right thing even if they regret it the whole time. The old “why did I get involved” or in Die Hard John McClane’s “come to the west coast…” line.
I can relate to a hero like that. I can’t relate to a hero that doesn’t have a devil on their shoulder. One that isn’t always doing the right thing. I guess that’s why I loved Batman first. Yep my first word in this life was Batman. Tell me I wasn’t destined for the darker heroes and to read comics. I still like Bruce Wayne but I’ve fallen hard for James “Logan” Howlett aka Wolverine. Heck I like Josey Wales, ” I ain’t got nothin’ better to do.”
As a writer I know good characters aren’t one dimensional but multidimensional. I strive to make my villains be antagonists not purely evil but the one my lead character is struggling against. I want the reader to sympathize with both characters but their loyalties ultimately fall with my lead character, the hero, the protagonist. Now my lead won’t always do the right thing he’ll have flaws because those are challenges to his growth in the piece as is the confrontation with the antagonist. He has to deal with himself to deal with his opponent and that to me is not only interesting but more realistic. In the end neither my protagonist or antagonist are the same people they were at the beginning. If they were confronted with the same situation again they’d act differently because of the experiences in my story. To me those are good characters, they grow, they change. A story is getting a big change in their lives but if I read another story later down the timeline I can see they are changed from their experiences. That keeps me reading. Goody-goodies don’t change they just go about doing good for good sake.
Perfection bores me. I won’t read it very long. It’s predictable. It’s something I’ll never be. BUT I’d like to think if I was forced into the right situation despite my wishes to be rescued I’d do the right thing until someone more qualified or better at it came along. Then like John McClane I’d kiss their dalmatian for saving me. I can relate to having to rise to the circumstances, or doing what’s right despite the desire not to do it. I’m just human and that’s what I want my heroes to be at heart- human.
You are going to get tired of reading this but as always I’d love to chat with you. Tell me what you think and you are welcome to disagree (politely). You can comment here, it’ll show up when I get it. You can reach out to me on Google+, Flickr, or Twitter (@marylouiseklund). You can e-mail me at marylouiseelund @ (with two e’s unlike Twitter) gmail.com or yahoo.com.
Until next time!