Writer’s Block implies that our creative well has dried up. When creating an epic hero, be certain to dip into your creative well and create a hero that is relatable. If main characters have depth and fallacies, readers will more easily connect. How can we create depth?
Ensure that your hero has fallacies and makes mistakes. Norwegian author, Jo Nesbo, created an award-winning series of crime fiction novels revolving around a detective named Harry Hole. Harry Hole asks probing questions, notices clues that others miss, and contains all the desired aspects of a great investigator. However, Hole is an alcoholic. He sabotages his own romantic relationships. He smokes, he makes mistakes, he struggles with depressive thoughts – in short, he is human. He is a hero, but he has depth.
Nesbo does not spend a lot of time describing Hole’s physical attributes, other than to say that he is tall and has blue eyes which are frequently bloodshot. If a writer spends too much time describing a character, the writer will be accused of self-insertion. Let the reader fill in some of the gaps of physical details, and the reader will subconsciously insert himself and get hooked.
A “Mary Sue” is a character that is simply too good to be true. Roger Moore’s portrayal of James Bond is certainly a “Mary Sue.” He gets the girl, kills the villain, saves the day, and still has fantastic-looking hair. (He had fantastic hair in the television series “The Saint” as well!) I am an admitted Bondophile, and own all of the Bond books. The books are much better than the movies because the author, Ian Flemming, created a hero who often made mistakes. In the novel Casino Royale, Bond questions whether he himself is the bad guy, realizing that a Russian spy would perceive Bond as an arch enemy. Bond is unsure of his mission in life and considers leaving the service. He doesn’t have perfect Roger Moore hair. His hair is described as dark, forming a “cruel comma” above his brow. He often gets captured and is a victim of incredible torture, and the author takes us to the dark shadows in Bond’s mind. It is an interesting journey and a great study into character development.
In short, don’t make characters too perfect, too brilliant, or invincible, unless you’re Roger Moore, who is successful despite his perfect hair.
Keep writing and keep sharing! – Cronin Detzz