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To continue, my next topic is the hero of a story. To my way of thinking, he should not be a superman either. A good hero isn’t someone who is excessively brave or gifted, he is just someone who doesn’t let his fear stop him from doing what he knows he is the only one to can do whatever is needed. A good hero has flaws, and as was said last time, he is only as good as the villain is bad. A good hero has his good days and his bad days, but it is his emotional value system that is his biggest strength. He has a sense of duty, not just to the job at hand, but to what he knows is right, that is the source of his major conflict within himself. He is often put into situations where he has to decide which ‘right’ is the more ‘right’ in a moral sense, and then try to balance that with what he is supposed to do for the benefit of all. If that sounds confusing, it is. And it is that confusion which makes the ‘hero’ the hero. He has to decide what the right ‘right’ is, because as everyone knows, what is ‘right’; often depends on where you stand and on what day you are standing there.
A major complication for any hero are the loyalties he has to his friends or a cause. These loyalties are often complicated by the value system of the friend or cause which is in a direct or semi-direct conflict with what the hero believes to be the moral high ground. These friends bring the hero both support and stress, as he must try to help them while at the same time not put them in danger. And of course, it is their desire to help him with his mission that puts them in danger, complicating even further his choices and narrowing his options.
But through all of this, they should not be treated as simply comic relief. In a comedy, or even a drama, people are not comedy relief. Only in a sit-com do they act that way. In a story that you want your readers to take seriously, the behavior of the supporting players should always be rational and a natural flow of their thinking. This brings me back to the need to have a complete back story for each character in your story. So before you put your hero in a predicament, make sure you know who you’re talking to.
Next up, the supporting characters.