Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Hero's Journey #4

Creating a Hero - Healing The Flaw

In the real world, love can’t fix everything--but we eternally hopeful romance authors believe that love makes a person strong enough to deal with anything. That includes flaws, both real and fictional. Now that he’s known the love of his good woman, your hero will be able to heal, or at least come to terms with, the flaw that he started with in your book.

The end of a book is much more satisfying to the reader if she can see that your characters are in a better place now than where they began. In romance, you must guarantee the happy ending of your hero and heroine. That hopeful message is why we keep reading romances ... and why we keep writing them!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Hero's Journey #3

Creating a Hero - It Just Ain’t Enough

At some point on your hero’s journey--usually the turning point of your book--he’s going to realize that what he has now isn’t enough to satisfy him anymore. In romance, this means he becomes willing to forsake what went before, for the love of a good woman.

For instance, let’s say your hero is a hard-nosed guy who likes to party all night, and he believes that is enough to fill the social holes in his life. Then he meets Miss Right, and over the course of your novel he becomes more and more involved with her. Eventually, the dance club loses its shine, or the bar is too crowded, or he can’t stand his buddies at the Elks Lodge anymore.

This “not enough” point is what drives your hero to change, which sets things up nicely for your happy ending.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Hero's Journey #2

Creating a Hero - Make Him Pay For It

Whatever your character gains, whether it be advantages or insights great and small, make him pay a price for them. The greater the prize, the greater the cost. When you up the stakes toward a hero’s gain, the end result becomes that much more important to your character ... and your reader. She’ll feel like she worked to win that advantage right beside him.

You’ve heard the saying that nothing in life is free. To make your novel as realistic as possible, keep that adage in the back of your mind as you write. Great rewards should come with great sacrifices, or they won’t seem worth the time it took to get them.

(BTW, Happy Valentine's Day - smooch your sweetie, or kick back with some chocolate and a romantic movie!)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Hero's Journey #1

This month, I will discuss a few of the major points in a hero’s journey. These are the things that make a great hero great. While I address the hero in your novel, these things can also be applied to the heroine.

Creating a Hero - Make Him Fallible

Nobody likes Mr. Perfect. Your readers will want to read about someone who is flawed, human, and therefore, approachable. This is what the editors mean when they call a character “sympathetic.” He inspires us to care or identify with him in some way.

When your hero starts upon a journey that will forever change him, he needs to begin with a serious flaw that in some way impedes his ability to connect with your heroine. For maximum conflict, this flaw may contrast directly with your heroine’s goals and/or ideals. A hero with a flaw has the room to grow and change over the course of your novel. Your reader will keep reading to see if, and how, he overcomes his flaws.