H is for Hero (and Heroines)

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category: ,

Continuing on with the A-Z challenge, Day 8 is H so I'm going to talk about Heros and Heroines.

The key to making a realistic Hero(ine) is to give them flaws. I mean, no one is perfect right? So why would your heros be?

Flaws can come in many forms, and I thought up a few for this post here.

Internal Flaws

  • Mental deficiency (like a learning disability)

  • Emotional problems

  • Social problems I include this on this list since phychologists do have a thing called "Social Anxiety Disorder", (I suffer from this by the way.) that makes it hard for the person with the disorder to talk to others, be in a crowd, or other social types of activities without having an anxiety - or in my case a panic attack.

External Flaws

  • Physical disabilities like a missing limb or other types of permanent injuries from a long ago accident can prevent the hero from always being able to do what they need to.

  • Baggage - and I don't meant the emotional kind here. I mean heros or heroines that say, are married to a total evil person intent on bringing them down, something tangible and physical that haunts them now, not just emotional baggage inside their head/heart sort of thing. This can also include single parents, as children can often prevent or delay the "quest" of the hero/ine because they must be cared for first. So, this aspect isn't always negative, perse.


I put magic in it's own sort of category here, because depending on your world and how you write, magic can be internal or external for the hero. Sure, magic can help your hero but it can also be a huge burden for them, if you happen to give them a power they can't control (yet or ever), a power that doesn't seem to help them on their journey, or a power that conflicts with say the power of their companions.

These are just generalization of course. I hope to put together a more detailed explanation of these things in the future.

What sort of flaws do you put into your hero/ine to make them more realistic? Do you decide this based on the plot - or on the character themselves?

4 Responses to "H is for Hero (and Heroines)"

Laura Josephsen Says :
April 9, 2011 at 12:18 PM

My plot is usually shaped around my characters. I'm very much a character author, and I know who the characters are, and work the plot around that.

I have a lot of novels with sooo many characters with sooo many flaws. In my current novel, my "hero" was of the very reluctant sort--total dorky bookworm who would rather be holed up inside reading than interacting with people. I loved writing him through his flaws and seeing him go from "I don't know what to do!" to "I don't know what to do, but I'm going to try something anyway." My other protagonist is a girl who has many flaws--external and internal--but does well at hiding them. At least at first. Her back story shaped the premise for the whole book.

Flaws are so, so important. I can't stand perfect characters. Even characters that look perfect through on person's POV might turn out to be very, very different from someone else's POV. (Exploring perspectives in characters and seeing how one person perceives another is so intriguing to me.)

Dawn Embers Says :
April 9, 2011 at 6:09 PM

So true. My last bf was really into rp chat online, in particular with his vampire or jedi type characters. But he was all for the super powerful, can do whatever they want types. And I never understood it. If the guy can do anything he wants, read minds, change thoughts, or the gazillion other things he was an expert in now then what is the point? It's so boring.

I hope my characters are appropriately flawed. I like to think they are.

Anonymous Says :
April 10, 2011 at 11:09 AM

It depends. Sometimes I think of the character first and work the plot around him/her or the plot comes to me and I have to fit the characters around it.

Great post about flaws.

Anastasia V. Pergakis Says :
April 10, 2011 at 9:29 PM

Laura: I am very character driven myself. It is fun to see a character through other characters' POV. We are going to make posts like that on another blog my characters write, the Character Cafe. Sure to be fun times.

Dawn: I agree. I think even if a character knows a lot or can do a lot of different skills, they have to have something they can't do, just to make them more real.

Medeia: Thanks!

Post a Comment