Continuing on the vein of applying my likes and dislikes to my own work, I’ll take a look at the hero in the story I’m working on.
In Crowned Prince, the calculatingly practical hero fall in love with a slave girl and has to choose between his elaborate plans to take the throne or happiness with the woman he loves.
1. Does he brood? – Very little. He is cold, ruthless and practical. Brooding does nothing to forward his plans, so he doesn’t indulge in it.
2. No arrogant jerks- He can be a touch arrogant. He is a prince used to getting his way. But, he listens to the heroine’s advice, and he will do everything in his power to protect her and make her happy.
3. Indecisive – He has a moment of indecision when he realizes he’s in love, but he doesn’t lie to himself and he knows he’s not a man to deny himself. Once the decision is reached, he never looks back and all of his actions forward are to take what he wants with as little political fallout as possible.
I think I succeeded pretty well on these counts. The hero in this story is a more traditional alpha male, so it was easier to fly past brooding and indecisive. I also worked hard as I was writing not to let him be too much of a jerk. He’s cold and calculating, but for very good reasons, but not too over-the-top.
So, do I give him the characteristics needed to like him?
1. Competence – the hero is competent. He can carry his own in a fight, and he’s good at machinating and reading people. A bit Machiavellian, but goes with the strong alpha male.
2. Protector – he may not have been much a protector before the start of the story, but we see what lengths he’ll go to in an effort to protect the heroine.
3. Honorable Leader – the hero is already a leader of men, and the head of a plot to put himself on the thrown. He is not chivalrous or terribly honorable at the beginning of the story, but that changes by the end as he’s come to see why it’s important.
Interestingly, this hero started out as a villain in a different story but was too interesting to “throw away”. He got a story of his own, and I found him surprisingly easy to fit into the alpha male role. A thought to ponder in another post.