Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I Need A Hero...I'm Holding Out For A Hero...

Where have all the good men gone
And where are all the gods?
Where's the street-wise Hercules
To fight the rising odds?
Isn't there a white knight upon a fiery steed?
Late at night I toss and I turn and I dream
of what I need

[Chorus]

I need a hero
I'm holding out for a hero 'til the end of the night
He's gotta be strong
And he's gotta be fast
And he's gotta be fresh from the fight
I need a hero
I'm holding out for a hero 'til the morning light
He's gotta be sure
And it's gotta be soon
And he's gotta be larger than life

Thanks to Bonnie Tyler for the inspiration for this post...and possibly the inspiration for my hero* after all!


 
So I've been working on the new story and the original snippet of the idea started with my heroine. I was sitting in Debra Dixon workshop at RWA Nationals in Orlando and she challenged us to write an opening line for a story. Out of the blue a heroine came to me almost fully formed. 

Likewise, the path she would need to undertake to grow came around not long after. I can see her story in my mind and know how she should begin and end. The plot too has been swirling around in various forms.
 
What I don't have is my hero. 

I've been drawing a big goose egg when trying to flesh him out. Who he is and how exactly their stories come together just isn't coming to me. 

I even forced myself this weekend to write the meeting scene between them. And you know what? The guy who appeared was flat. Also, totally not the type of guy I'd been thinking my heroine needed. 

He wasn't an alpha. 

Can you do a non-alpha hero in a paranormal? LOL! Scratch that question. I'll try to stay on one topic first. :)
 
So I have...a beta hero I can now see rising up to alpha status when the story calls for it. 

But he still feels flat. 

So my dear crew, my questions for you today are: 
 
When you've fully formed your protagonist, how do you manage to make the love interest equally compelling? What happens when the character that starts to write themselves isn't what you had in mind at all? Besides character worksheets (because we all know I'll never get past filling them out in order to actually write) do you have any suggestions for rounding  out my poor flat hero? 

*Note - This song came to my mind for this post, but after listening to it again and looking up the lyrics I think it might have totally inspired me.




 

32 comments:

quantum said...

I hope that Bonnie finds that hero ... she sounds pretty desperate!

I don't think you can really flesh out the hero in isolation. The heroine must flesh him out. As love takes root both hero and heroine will resonate at a deep level and just as two close frequencies in the physical world will shift into sync, so the hero and heroine will change each other as they spiral deeper and deeper into love.

It's really easy. Your job is just to make sure that they are made for each other! LOL

PS
Sabrina, I totally agree with your comment on Kleypas yesterday (The Hathaways are wonderful) and with the Bosun's. Hellie should be confined to cabin for the week .... IMO!

Terri Osburn said...

Whozit what? Did I say Hellie should be confined? Don't be getting me in trouble, Q. LOL! Or throwing me under the ship as the case may be.

Thank you for sticking this song in my brain! But I don't mind when it's this song. I would suggest sitting down with your hero for a chat. An interview of sorts. I always find asking the right questions can work miracles.

Let me find those 3 key questions you should ask all characters before starting. *googles* *plays zamboni game on Google*

Sorry, got distracted. Here it is! I used these questions on my characters before this current WIP and was amazed at how much fell into place.

http://storyfix.com/3-questions-you-must-ask-your-characters-a-guest-post-by-c-s-lakin

Sabrina Shields (Scapegoat) said...

Q - So glad someone loves the Hathaways as much as I do and thank you for the reminder that the heroine needs to help flesh out the hero. And vice versa. I need to remember that even though I had her all figured out, I didn't have planned yet how the hero would mold and shape her growth as well. Thanks!

Sabrina Shields (Scapegoat) said...

Terri - Sorry to spread the ear worm! *evil grin*

I like these 3 questions and unlike the character sheets I don't think it will bog me down with organization and details.

MsHellion said...

What did I say that gets me confined to the cabin for the week? Wait, do I get to sleep? Sure, Q, I'll be confined for the week. Bye, ya'll!

Yes, usually one of the characters shows up first...and ends up being "bigger" than the other character. For me, though, it's usually the hero...I'm sexist and usually care more about hero's journey than the woman's. (I'm also not a huge fan of "alpha" females in the sense they have weapons and they're deadly weapons...and kill without compunction, which seems to be what certain TV writers think Alpha Females mean. OR they team up an alpha soccer mom female and give her a dumbass of a spouse--drives me NUTS. I wish they could develop alpha heroes and heroines who aren't stupid. *LOL*)

Yes, I think a "beta" can be a hero to an alpha female--because I think of Jeff Goldblum from INDEPENDENCE DAY. He's smart as hell, loves his ex-wife, and is put in circumstances where he's more than willing to do whatever he can to save his wife, et al...so a beta who rises to the alpha occasion...

MsHellion said...

By the way, this was like my FAVORITE song in the 80s. I remember singing into my hairbrush, dancing on my bed, and totally rocking out to this song...

Terri Osburn said...

Sabrina - Not sure if you've joined RWA yet, but there's a great class coming up on RWA-U about letting your characters write your plot. The classes are free to members and there are several others offered all the time. Might be a good time to take the plunge.

Marnee Bailey said...

This book, when I started writing, my characters changed a lot. I think it happens to me all the time. This time, it happened with both the hero and the heroine. My heroine toughened up, became more pragmatic and not as much of a victim. My hero became less romantic and more of a... well, a stereotypical guy.

I think this usually happens for me at the midpoint, as Hellie discussed on Monday. At least that's when I realize it.

I wish there was a way to ensure that the hero and heroine were made for each other before you get all that effort in. I just find that it takes me a while to find out who is made for what. Just like in real life. LOL

P. Kirby said...

My iPod has a sense of humor. Whenever it plays Tyler's "I Need a Hero," it frequently plays Tina Turner's "We Don't Need Another Hero" right after. Extra funny because, even though the 80s were my formative era, the iPod doesn't have much music from that time on it.


Heroes? I love, love, love betas. But then, I hate gender stereotypes. I know some women love big, over-muscled manly men alpha types who communicate in grunts, sexy, but they ick me out.

My heroines are usually strong willed, opinionated women. In that way, I 'spose, they are alphas, although, I also hate the idea that a strong heroine means bitter, angry warrior type with a chip on her shoulder. (Often the archetype in urban fantasy, ugh.)

Guess my point is, I love it when the heroine is the "hero" so to speak. Also, I think it's perfectly reasonable for the male to be the emotionally available person in the relationship (my husband is) and the female, the one who's lock up tighter than Alcatraz (me).

But again, I don't believe in gender stereotypes. They're too limiting.

P. Kirby said...

"I know some women think big, over-muscled manly men alpha types who communicate in grunts are sexy, but they ick me out"

Because...typos, that's why.

Boss keeps wandering into the office and I have to switch back and forth to Quickbooks and pretend to be doing tax stuff.

Janga said...

Sabrina, I find Donald Maas's advice practically helpful (as opposed to generally inspiring). I discovered how helpful he can be when I had the reverse of your problem. I had an alpha who was supposed to be a secondary character who insisted on becoming the hero of another book. I didn't like him very much and was struggling to make him work as hero. Maas showed me how to do that. Now I use one or more of his exercises whenever I'm having problems with character. I recommend his books, but his stuff is all over the web. Here, for example:

http://blog.karenwoodward.org/2012/11/donald-maass-talks-about-how-to-make-your-readers-care-about-your-characters.html

Sabrina Shields (Scapegoat) said...

Hellie - My female is really a beta cloaked in alpha outerwear for the world. So...I thought my hero would need to be pretty hard core to balance her. It's not starting that way. Which is interesting and confusing!

Sabrina Shields (Scapegoat) said...

Terri - I haven't joined RWA yet. I want to so badly but set some goals I needed to reach first. Then life's financial issues got in the way. Hubby is now officially out of work. My 1st paycheck of the year is lower than it was before my last raise because of gov. decisions...I'm trying to man up and do it but I'm hating to put the money out there right now.

I appreciate the reminder though!

MsHellion said...

I don't think he needs to be "hard core" to balance the hero. Look at Suzanne Collins' HUNGER GAMES. Peeta is the "hero" role, but he's beta and he is never anything but beta really--but he balances Katniss and she appreciates it, even though she technically has more in common with the alpha boyfriend back home, Gale. (Oh, sure THESE names I remember--and I can't remember Kleypas? Really?)

Sorry--my point--I think you can have a Peeta beta character and he be truly heroic.

MsHellion said...

Okay, and I officially LOVE the link Janga put out there!

Terri Osburn said...

I agree with Hellie, you don't necessarily need a hero to balance out the heroine. But then my characters just show up and tell me their story. I've never gotten one character and had to "create" their counterpart. We're writing love stories. Love is not always logical or a perfect fit. Let him be who he is and then see how they can fit together and compliment each other as you go along.

Off to check the link Janga left.

Sabrina Shields (Scapegoat) said...

Marnee - Good to know your characters do that. I could see this happening in my case too.

Pat - I'm not a fan of stereotypes for characters based on sex either. But I'm also not fan of stereotypes by genre either. This has an urban fantasy type feel to it even though it's a paranormal romance. Urban fantasy heroines are normally hard core alphas. Not so in this case.

Sabrina Shields (Scapegoat) said...

Thanks Janga! I'm going to bookmark that to read when I get home tonight.

MsHellion said...

Love is not always logical or a perfect fit. Let him be who he is and then see how they can fit together and compliment each other as you go along.

GREAT advice!

P. Kirby said...

"Peeta is the "hero" role, but he's beta and he is never anything but beta really..."

Spoiler for Hunger Games series, in case one hasn't read the books....
...
...
...
...
...
...

I adore Peeta but the funny thing is, a younger me would have been disappointed with the ending, because I probably would have been team Gale. But...Peeta is my husband, so to speak. The little thing he does at the end when he plants the primroses by her house? It utterly slayed me. Totally something my husband would do; little gesture that says so fucking much.

And ultimately, what Katniss, the girl who'd been the "hero," needed was a nurturer, not another hero.

Sabrina Shields (Scapegoat) said...

It is great advice Hellie!

Pat - I haven't read those books but I did see the movie and I was torn as to who should be her hero.

MsHellion said...

P. Kirby, I totally agree with your assessment about Peeta and Gale. I'm totally a Team Gale type of gal, but it's those little things he does, they slay me too. *LOL*

Maureen said...

There's a Zamboni game on google?

Sorry, I'm so late crew. I've been busy having my nervous breakdown. I'm all better now. (Lie)

As for the beta hero and the alpha heroine... Personally, I like it when they switch it up. You know, people aren't one dimensional and sometimes the beta guy can be an alpha when the situation calls for it. And vice versa.

So, my advice is this...write him as he wants to be written. Don't try to force either character into a mold and see how it turns out.

Hels, I love your Ipod.

And maybe Q thought you wrote yesterdays irreverence???

MsHellion said...

That's funny if Q thought that, because I'm pretty sure I've reviewed and commented about those 3 books as well--and I got the titles just fine and adored them. *LOL*

MsHellion said...

Hels, I love your Ipod.

What iPod?

Terri Osburn said...

I think she meant to say Pat. LOL!

MsHellion said...

Oh, yeah, the sarcastic iPod...that was a funny story.

Maureen said...

Crap...yeah the iPod with a sense of humor. That was Pat?

See, it isn't just book titles, it's stuff I read seconds ago!

quantum said...

That's funny if Q thought that, because I'm pretty sure I've reviewed and commented about those 3 books as well--and I got the titles just fine and adored them. *LOL*

Sorry Helli, I did think it was your post. Isn't Tuesday your spot?
Couldn't understand how you could change your mind like that, so assumed you had taken to the rum.

I should have known better
AND note I didn't suggest confinement sans Hotty .... I'm not that cruel LOL

MsHellion said...

Oh, okay, no I didn't re-nig on the books. *LOL* I just haven't caught up enough reading to do the reviews lately...so I conned Mo into it, just like I occasionally con Marn or Terri into it.

Confinement without a hottie--hahahahaha, you didn't suggest it because you knew there'd be mutiny! *LOL*

Maureen said...

But I liked the books! I really did! I just didn't cheat and look up titles and characters with Amazon. I led with my memory loss!

Janga said...

Pat, may I please have permission to quote your comment on the beta hero the next time I decide to post about them? Perfect!