I’ve been struggling with the essence of my second hero. and maybe the problem is that this character is closer to a buddy than a lead. at least for now. I don’t subscribe to the idea that best friends must be tropes and boring just to make the main hero all the more special. Both heroes have their own journeys, which happen to overlap and then align.
I’m wary of the over-special leads. I have read far too much fanfic and even published fic where the lead can strip and rebuild a landspeeder, slay a demon, have a vampire and Martian have the hots for them, pick up a double ended falchion they’ve never used before and use it to filet a dragon, all before they turn eighteen. Competence in a specific skill/knowledge, maybe two is believable, but too many leads can do it all, even if they bitch about their injuries when they recover with their many bedpartner(s). Stories are much more interesting and believable when it’s not easy. Writers and readers usually want the heroes to win, but too much ability and trivial opposition is boring, even aggravating to read.
What makes opposition more interesting is if it is not all from outside problems: fears of heights or blood, ignorance, overconfidence, or the more tricky cruel streak that loses allies as fast as they are gained. Now the one lead in my one story has flaws and problems, however the buddy has been partly created as not-X to the more complete hero. That means I’m missing that one essence to make the buddy real. The overall plot is there, but he’s boring. And why would a boring friend be valuable or necessary to the story? My buddy is not yet the right hero for the job. And my muse refuses to get started revising until I can answer that problem.
The saving grace is that I have until the end of the month to figure this out.
Image courtesy Carole Raddato