Creating Heroes and Villains
Class is still in session with Dan Brown and Writing Thrillers. You have an idea for a story and you start creating your storyboard for your characters. The collage you create has few colors and photos of people you that appeal to you but you need more detail as a writer.
Dan shared more tips on creating your Hero and Villain. He suggests that you start with your Villain because they define your hero. He went on to say that heroes are molded out of the pressure the Villain applies. Your job as a writer is to create a worthy opponent for your hero.
When you can combine a character that’s not 100% evil but lives in a moral gray area, then you have a more believable story. Villains are motivated by personal reasons that led them in a different direction than your hero. Dan also said that money is boring. Maybe your Villain even had the same problem as your hero but they made a different choice, the wrong choice that hurts other people but they believe they’re doing the right thing.
Once you decide on the defining characteristics of your Villain, you can move onto introducing them to your audience. Dan said that you can have them in a moral gray area but you should let your audience know who the Villain is. When you get the creeps from your Villain, so should your audience.
Figuring out your Hero should be easier once you have your Villain down on paper because your Hero’s reactions create them. They way your Hero reacts to the challenges thrown their way makes them the hero of the story. From the MasterClass, giving your Hero human flaws makes them more interesting and relatable. Your audience can connect with them and see themselves as the Hero. They should be able to believe they could be a Hero.
The last piece of today’s lesson with Dan made me laugh. He said that your audience will be more forgiving of the villain because they’re held to different standards than your hero. They won’t allow you to be easy on the Hero. Solutions don’t magically appear at the right time in life. Why would your hero suddenly find the secret password by a guess? If you’re too easy on your hero, your audience will think it’s too easy and it’s less believable.
I hope this gets you out of your writer blues and into your characters this week!
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