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Archives for : July2018

Want to Captivate a Reader? Tips in Creating a Hero or Heroine

Typewriter Photo by Florian Klauer on Unsplash

I don’t know about you, but I read fiction for the characters and the adventure those characters go through. Like most readers, I want vivid heroes who draw me into their situations and, often when I don’t get into the main character, I put the book aside. But how do writers create those attention-grabbing heroes?

Here’s what some of my favorite writing experts have to say.

  1. First, don’t create a wimp. Follow Jack Bickham’s advice from 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes. “Fiction writers too often forget that interesting characters are almost always characters who are active—risk takers—highly motivated toward a goal. Many a story has been wrecked at the outset because the writers chose to write about the wrong kind of person—a character of the type we sometimes call a wimp.”
  2. In The Key: How to Write Damn Good Fiction Using the Power of Myth, James N. Frey, a writing instructor and author, suggests that heroes have certain qualities that attract readers. Main characters must have courage. Either they start with it or they develop it along the way.
  3. Fictional heroes need to be clever and resourceful.
  4. Also, a compelling hero or heroine has a special talent. Something he or she can do better than anyone else in the story. We’re attracted to competence. We tend to pick doctors, mechanics, restaurant chefs and, yes, even fictional heroes because they perform a skill or set of skills exceptionally well.
  5. Like the previous examples, the heroine in our novels might use her unique talent to make a living and be proficient at her calling.
  6. An appealing hero is also a person who lives by his own rules. He strives to do what’s right in his mind even if others in the story don’t understand him.
  7. An effective main character is the focus of the action and the story. She must take the lead in whatever case she embraces.
  8. In Thanks, but This Isn’t For Us, Jessica Page Morrell, a best-selling author of many books on writing craft, echoes this. She says, “Heroes take charge, take responsibility, and take risks … they’re people of action who speak their minds, kick ass and take names, and, most important, who act when in real life we’d be cowering, or wetting our pants, or scrambling for an exit.”
  9. Further, she goes on to state, “Heroes dare to be wrong.”
  10. Equally important the large-and-in-charge heroine—at the center of the story, should be flawed. She or he has been wounded in the past. Perhaps he’s lost a loved one, been injured or lost his faith. He’s vulnerable and in need of healing. He has an event or a series of events in his past he’s got to work through. This brokenness fuels his current goals, makes him human and enables readers to identify with him.
  11. The hero has to grow and change throughout the story. Often, he strives to become less selfish or self-centered.
  12. She may even sacrifice herself for the good of others. Frey believes that the most compelling heroines motivated by idealism at some point in the story.
  13. Lastly, Frey suggests that the hero should be sexually potent. As Frey puts it, “Creating a mythic character without sexual energy is like bringing the burgers, the buns, and the charcoal to the barbecue, and leaving the matches at home.”

 

I love reading stories that feature intriguing characters and I hope these tips will help you when you write your next tale. Also, if you’ve found the suggestions useful, I hope you’ll consider checking out the resources quoted in this article for further study.

 

Sources

Bickham, Jack M. 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes. Writers Digest Bks., U.S., 1998.

Frey, James N. The Key: How to Write Damn Good Fiction Using the Power of Myth. St. Martins Griffin, 2002.

Morrell, Jessica Page. Thanks, but This Isn’t for Us. Jeremy P. Tarcher, 2009.

FYI: I wrote this post for the Wisconsin Romance Writers. You can check it out at this link.

Creating a Hero or Heroine that Captivates Readers

The Divine Dungeon Series- Dungeon Born, Dungeon Madness and Dungeon Calamity -A Goodreads Book Review-

Dungeon Calamity (The Divine Dungeon, #3)Dungeon Calamity by Dakota Krout
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Disclaimer-This series was the first LitRPG story I believe I’ve ever read. Originally, I started it to please my son. I was planning on just skimming the first book Dungeon Born, but I got drawn in.

The series is basically a life story, a fantastic biography. Cal is a sentient dungeon core, but he’s so much more. He’s funny, interesting, and surprisingly human for a supposedly inanimate object. He’s got a good personality, is fond of puns, and is likable as he grows from being self-absorbed to caring for the community living over him.

Also, I love his creations. They’re original and explained well enough that a non-RPG reader like me understood them and their actions, but my favorite part of this series is being in Cal’s head while he strategizes and pines for Dani, his companion/love interest, a wisp that necromancers have kidnapped. He is so desperate to rescue her, he learns to fly. Yep, he becomes a flying dungeon.

Then there’s the awesome supporting cast of dungeon-goers! Starting with Dale. He buys the mountain the dungeon is on and ends up trying to level up and train while dealing with the colorful townies. Most of the residents are eccentric and delightfully frustrating to Dale.
Some of my favorites are: Frank, the guild master, Hans, the ex-assassin, Rose, the chaos-archer, Bob, the goblin researcher, and James the rude portal mage who keeps getting banished.

I am impressed at how the story comes full circle. Everything’s explained and makes sense in this well-plotted tale. One caution-this series might not be for people who follow Stephen King’s no adverb rule, but if you’re looking for something different to read and you like stories with swords, spells and Lord-of-the-Rings type creatures, consider giving this series a try.

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Throne of Glass-A Goodreads Review

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Prince Dorian offers eighteen-year-old assassin, Celeana a chance to compete for position of champion for the tyrannical King, who killed her parents, she reluctantly agrees, thinking anything must be better than the salt mines of Endovier. She’s wrong. Ghosts haunt her. The King and his courtiers plot her doom and summoned demons hunt her through secret passages. She struggles to survive combat, poisonings, and dress fittings while the Prince and the Captain of the guard via for her attention and mysteries unfold.

It’s pretty much everything a reader like me wants in a fantasy romance. If you like badass femme fatales, swordplay mixed with royal balls, and lots of cheeky banter between paramours, you’ll enjoy this novel.

FYI- I bought a copy of this book from Audible.

View all my reviews