Give your hero or heroine huge and even insurmountable problems and then give them more. Make their journey harder and harder.
Where else in life are we given these instructions? Most of us want to help, as we have been taught. We want to make others’ lives better, especially for those we love or respect.
This attitude translates into our first fiction forays where we paint perfect people eminently qualified to be heroes or heroines in our books. The trouble is, perfection is annoying if not downright boring.
We are not perfect and we actually identify more readily with people who, like us, have flaws along with their good characteristics. And this drawing of imperfect heroes helps us believe we could be the heroic person at the center of a novel.
Want to interest the reader? Take a character the reader relates to and put that character in jeopardy. Heck, put them in double jeopardy. If the stakes are high and escalate, the reader will be bleary-eyed from lack of sleep, ensuring that they’ll tell others about your book. Donald Maass talks about the breakout premise, something which sets your storyline apart from the masses and makes it break out. Creating high stakes over and over will add so much to your novel, as to work hand in hand with the breakout premise.
So pamper yourself. Go have a spa day, buy yourself those amazing shoes or that expensive book, but don’t, I repeat, don’t pamper your heroes!
What hero do you remember whom you absolutely loved so much that you couldn’t get on with life for the need to read about her? Consider leaving a comment with your own formula for creating memorable heroes.