I am a geek girl, through and through. I loved comics, computers, and chess as a high schooler...the three C's of social oblivion.
As a writer though, I KNOW that loving the epic struggles and sacrifices of my comic book *cough* graphic novel, heroes has served me well as an author.
Think of your favorite super hero and break down why you love them. Be it movie or magazine, the elements will inevitably be the same. And you can apply those points to your writing to construct riveting heroes your readers with love.
- There are always TWO types of struggle going on. The external, public stakes type of struggle. Be it aliens or mad men, there is something on the outside of the hero causing conflict. But there is always...ALWAYS, some sort of inner struggle that pulls the audience in. Betrayal by a brother, loss of family, the ache for vengeance, a secret shame...something makes the hero the way he or she is.
- There is a clear path for them. We know that the hero must defeat the villain. We know that all cannot be lost. We just don't quite know how he will get there, just that he HAS to for the good guys to win. Clear change. Definite Goal.
- It is their soul not their strength that inspires us. We may not have special powers or super speed, but we can have an unbreakable spirit and that is what a great hero makes us aspire to. Someone that never gives up, does the honorable thing despite the cost, and lives for something real and noble.
- Tension and conflict are integral to the story. They fight with people that love them, they are betrayed, they suffer crushing blows to their confidence and still keep going. Comics provide a great blue print for compelling stories. Good books are more than action scenes and bullet caliber descriptions. They are gripping because of the personal stakes.
- The struggle resonates. Great stories of adventure and thrills all have a human core that readers can identify with. Sure we may not all have billions of dollars and cool gadgets, but we've lost people we love and felt helpless. Not all of us have magic hardware, but we've all felt the pain of failing expectations and hurt from loved ones. Human emotions are the core of any good story.
Take a moment to think about your main character. Be it hero or heroine. Do you like them or are they falling a little flat? They may be missing an element that makes them human....even if they come to reader by way of Mars.
Until next time...Go Write!