10 April 2009


*cues Shrek music*

Seriously, don’t we all? But the question is: What makes a hero? Must he be tall? Have claws, paws, and teeth? Be darkly handsome and edgy? Is he the strong, supportive compliment to that spunky heroine or the take-charge alpha that steps in and sets the world to rights?

Or, here’s a twist – is he the geeky Charlie from Numbers with his own unique twist on how to use his attributes to win the day?

As a writer, the heroic elements of human nature fascinate me. We each bring something new to the discussion, but the truth is…while heroic archetypal elements remain the same, our own personal version of our hero filters into our work.

This is an ongoing discussion among me and my Cookie Monster friends. When I was single, I actually had a list of requirements – written and publicly debated by my friends – about what the perfect man was. But doesn’t every single woman?

One of my friends has a height requirement and freely admits that while she has dated men shorter than her ideal and liked them well enough, it’s hard for her to see an “ever after.” For her, it’s a deal breaker. Being a writer herself, she also admits that while she doesn’t necessarily base her heroes on her personal ideal, they always seem to come out tall.

It made me start thinking…

As writers, how many of us do that? Those few elements of our personal ideal that we just can’t shake? One of the things that is consistent in my own fictional heroes is that yes, they are tall (and no, my husband is not) and they all have the strong supportive streaks. My heroes take charge when it’s needed, but they generally compliment the heroine.

Does that make me a control freak? Do I cast myself as the heroine in my books? Well, maybe if it means I get to fantasize about the hero a little…

What about you? What makes YOUR personal hero?
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