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A Hero with Flaws

I’m a Star Wars geek. Rogue One rivals A New Hope for my favorite movie of the franchise. Part of the reason is the flaws within the heroes. Cassian Andor is not a saint. Jyn Erso has trust issues.

Flawless heroes are boring, bubble gum, and unrelatable.

My first novel is in the books (literally). You can find it at Barnes and Noble and on Amazon.

As I’ve been putting the final touches on book two, I’ve spent a good deal of time looking at the flaws of my main characters. Arthur is prejudice against maji. Antonia suffers from self-esteem problems.

Flaws create characters that are real.

I try to focus on issues everyone deals with in everyday life. You might not be able to relate to, “my brother is trying to kill me so he can take over the family.” But you probably can relate to, “I have this really important job to do and I’m pretty sure I’m failing.”

Over time, the characters become real. In one of my past blogs, I mentioned that characters grow a mind of their own. I can do everything in my power to make Stephanie a bad guy in Retribution. (Trust me, I tried.) But it’s not in her. And to force the issue would have made the character, and therefore the book, unbelievable.

As those characters become real, their issues become part of the fabric of their being. Zartan is never going to question his own self-confidence. That’s just who he is. But he might have issues with being over-confident.

Now back to Star Wars. Han Solo is my favorite character from the original movies. Why? He’s got issues. I never liked Luke. Daddy issue aside, he doesn’t have the depth of character. At the end of the third movie, he’s a very flat character. No emotions, all problems solved, the hero of the universe. (Yes, I realize I’ll probably get hate mail for this blog.)

My dad and I have gone back and forth about Luke. He thinks Luke is the ultimate hero. Secretly, I hope you find out Luke has a secret life and family somewhere – giving him some depth of character and a taste of the dark side. Honestly, who hasn’t tried a drink from the liquor cabinet in high school?

I understand he’s the archetype of a hero. It’s a mold as old as storytellers have been spinning yarns.

Now, let’s go break the mold.

(Please note, I think Star Wars is an incredibly written story. My comments about Luke are simply a reflection of my personal relationship to the archetype. The cynical anti-hero is simply more appealing to me.)

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