Well, Selayna has exams this week, and so she’s taking a break from posting to focus on studying. However, she’s had a pretty good series going on how she writes and what she struggles with, and I wanted to add in my two cents. So, here is my confession: I really struggle to write heroes. I think anyone who reads my fiction can attest that I major in the darker side of fiction. The world of Avnul especially is not a happy place. It is a place where the strong prey on the weak, where ancient gods care little for their followers, and where good people die young more often than not. In Avnul heroes are lucky if they make it through a story alive and intact, and ‘winning’ generally means surviving to fight another day. I’m not going to go into the reasons for this, but I get dark fiction. If I do say so myself I can write some pretty great villains, and I’m pretty descent at writing anti-heroes and redeemed heroes. However, a hero that’s really just a genuinely good person… this is something I struggle with.
I think the only genuinely good hero I’ve written is Amet (from The Rise of the Neshelim being published as a serial by Lantern Hollow Press). Amet is far from perfect, but he is honestly a good person who wants to do what is right. He’s courageous, kind, compassionate, and strong, and he struggles under the burden of leadership. However, much as I love Amet, and understand him, I haven’t been able to replicate the character without… you know, replicating the character. Every other genuine hero that I’ve tried to write either comes out as Amet, or as some wonky walking cliche with a sword.
Don’t get me wrong, I love writing villains, and writing dark fiction, and I really love writing redemption stories, but every now and then I’d like to throw a clear hero into the mix. I know that for a lot of people heroes are hard to write, and right now flawed heroes and anti-heroes are very in, but some of my favorite characters in fiction are true heroes. David Eddings’ Sparhawk, comics Superman and Captain America, and Frank Herbert’s Leto Atreides, among other are character’s that I look at and honestly admire. They are simply virtuous. They aren’t boring, aren’t cliched or hackneyed, and they certainly are perfect, but they are faced with hard choices, and every time they take the high road. They decide, over and over, to do the right thing, even when it hurts them, and even when it’s hard, and I love this about them. I’ve heard too many times that good guys are boring, and I disagree! Cliches are boring, hackneyed perfection is boring, heroes who never really struggle are boring, but good guys, true heroes are anything but boring. They are, however, hard to write and hard to come by, but a genuinely good hero inspires and motivates us to be better than we are, to choose the right thing, and to inspire other’s with our example as they have inspired us with theirs. I’d really like to be able to write this someday, and maybe someday I will be.
Anyway, who else struggles with heroes? Does anyone have an easy time writing them? Anyone have any suggestions?