Leo's Angel Oak Tree

Monday, April 11, 2011

I IS FOR INACTIVE HERO

I  stands for an INACTIVE HERO!


Blake Snyder said in "Save the Cat" that a common mistake found in most rough drafts is the problem of the inactive hero. I would have to agree. Sometimes I will be reading a manuscript and the main character seems to be dragged through the story. Sure, the main character shows up but is lacking in purpose.

What's the remedy? A PROACTIVE hero. If he/she isn't proactive, he/she isn't the hero!

Here's a simple checklist you could use to discover if you're having this issue in your manuscript.

1. Is your hero's goal clearly stated in the set-up of the novel?
2. Does your character seek out clues or do they just come to him/her?
3. Is your character active or passive?
4. Do other characters tell your character what to do or does he/she tell them?

Some examples of very proactive heroes:

1. Harry Potter: "The Harry Potter Series"
2. Jace Wayland/Morgenstern/Lightwood (To me, he's just Jace!): "The Mortal Instruments"
3. Katniss Everdeen: The Hunger Games
4. Bianca Piper: The DUFF
5. Alex Fuentes: Perfect Chemistry
6. Patch: Hush, Hush

How does your hero stand up to these? Is he/she proactive or inactive?

5 comments:

  1. This is a good post. My hero tries to be inactive, to not do anything with his powers because he doesn't want to be used as a weapon but he doesn't succeed at that. He acts more often than he would like because he has good reason to act.

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  2. This is a great post. Often I think all of us are guilty of forgetting to make our heroes proactive.

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  3. My one character is somewhat passive in the beginning as she has conditioned herself to let everything move by without touching her. Luckily I have plenty of active characters to compensate.

    :-)

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  4. I really need to remember this! My MC has things happen to her, which throws her off-course so bad that she (and her creator) kinda forgets her original goal ...

    I'm also writing YA, though contemporary with a bit of a paranormal element that is the MC's father, who is a ghost.

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