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26 June 2006 @ 08:08 am
A Strong Hero (1 of 2)  
I was thinking about how do you build that feeling in a story of someone being the guy we love who we know will sacrifice for someone else, who will fight and die for them. Without actually saying it. How to sneaky build it in little things before the big daring rescue or finale at the end of the story.

I came up with two sets of questions to ask myself as I was writing a story which actually sparked my muse to help fill in little extra character moments here and there.

(Set I)

1. How does he show his two sides?

Show the contrast in him. This could be done by having the tough guy go gentle for a moment. Or, the gentle guy go tough.

General Example - (Firefly)

Mal, is tough and tumble, and yet he gently covers Kaylee with the blanket when she's shot in the infirmary (during the Pilot of the series) even as he's saying he's a "mean old man" and complaining.

Gentle Simon, who is willing, despite being a doctor, to stand tough in Mal's face and not help Kaylee (when she was shot) unless Mal agrees to help him rescue his sister, because his sister matters that much to him.

Jayne, big, tough, guy who would murder his own crew mates for money on some days, and yet we see in a little side moment that he writes home to his mother and loves the knitted hat she sends him.

2. How does he show sacrifice?

Example - (Supernatural)

This is like that moment when even though you know little Dean as a kid wants the fruit loops and it's the last bowl he gives it to his younger brother who he can see wants it more. (Note - this is not the main point of the story, it's a flashback even, and yet, it tells us more about the character of Dean and how there's good at the heart of him.)

3. How does he show competency?

The quick and efficient cleaning of guns. The smooth almost effortless cover story that pops out of his mouth on a dime. The negligently hitting the bullseye on the dart board over and over again despite being drunk.

Example - (Stargate)

The scene where Daniel just walks up to the chalkboard and corrects the translation there, then looks over at the others to talk about it like it's no big deal. Even though we know that it took those other archeologists weeks to translate it, the fact that Daniel just glances over, reads the hieroglyphs like you or I would read a cereal box, and doesn't think anything of it--is an incredible show of competence without ego.

4. How does he show self-control?

Example -

The hero is really, really upset but doesn't show it, he calmly, evenly, puts his shades on and says he's "fine" when you know he's not.


He's actually worried about his hurt brother-teammate-partner, but manages to banter and be joking, even as he keeps a wary eye on him.


He's dead tired, hasn't slept or ate for days kind of tired, and yet he keeps pushing on because people are counting on him.

Just thinking about how to insert these in little moments during my story...(a few more to come)...
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