Interviewing the hero is a good start, if that works for you. If not, I’m going to give you some guidelines about what a hero should–and shouldn’t be, and how he might act.
Remember, writing doesn’t have a lot of “rules” per se, but if you want your hero to be likable, you will at least consider the following things:
- Heroes are strong people, not only physically, but emotionally. They don’t hold other people to blame for every misfortune in their lives, but they do hold the people in their lives accountable. So if your heroine makes a promise or a commitment to the hero, he expects the promise to be kept.
- Heroes have an excellent sense of humor. They do not make jokes in poor taste or at the expense of the weaker characters, but they often exercise a dry wit, and they know how and when to be able to laugh at themselves.
- During social encounters heroes are aware of their surroundings, and are not likely to be the center of attention, but are aware of the tensions in the room or situation. They are often the person who will diffuse a tense situation or control activities which have the potential to get “out of hand”.
- They do not wear flashy clothes or make odd or awkward fashion statements, but have a classic, quiet, dignity which is always in style.
- While the hero is often aware of what others think of him, his actions, his choices, the opinion of others has no effect on the hero’s behavior.
- True heroes know the art of romance. They always treat women like ladies, regardless of age or station in life. This behavior towards women is what starts the ordinary man down the path to true hero.
- Heroes don’t typically seek out others to help them. They like to resolve their difficulties alone, but are strong and secure enough to ask for help when they need it.
- Heroes know how to say no. The have mastered the art of saying no rather than the art of apology. No means no.
- Heroes know what they want and are focused on getting what they want. They pursue their desires by doing what is necessary to achieve their goals.
- Heroes are decisive, not reactive. No knee jerk reactions. No panic. Again, heroes know what they want and focus on making their desires their reality.
- Heroes command respect. Others follow the hero because his is to be admired, not feared. He earns the respect of others by demonstrating the qualities of a true hero. Not by instilling fear into the weaker of the species.
- Heroes are problem solvers. The others in their social circle, friends and family know they can count on the hero in their time of need. Heroes are reliable.
- Heroes exhibit a calm and serene dignity. The trick to this is not to react, but rather to collect all the available information before making a decision, whether it is personal or advice to a friend or loved one. A calm and serene demeanor is the face a true hero shows the world.
- Heroes do not hesitate when a decision is needed. They assess the situation, and make a decision based on the need at that moment in time. They do not hesitate. They are not afraid of failure.
- Heroes command the attention of everyone when they enter a room. The exhibit excellent posture, make eye contact, give a firm handshake when introduced to others and always exhibit confidence. Their body language–confident, competent–tells everyone who they are as soon as they arrive in a room.
- Heroes know the secret of good communication. They speak less and listen more.
- Heroes assume the leaders role rather than wait for others to offer it to him. He is not a jerk, and is not aggressive, but he will stand up for what is right. Every time.