I caught the matinee showing of The Avengers this weekend. I was glad to see the hype is well deserved and then some. Then again as a fan of Joss Whedon I had high hopes and figured I wouldn’t be let down. I don’t want to send this post going on about the movie. Instead I wanted to talk about superheroes and what we can learn about our own characters.
Heroes come in all shapes and sizes and we see them regularly in our day to day lives one some level or another. Is it any wonder that the superhero resonates so strongly? People have an innate sense of justice and a need to see wrongs righted. It’s just that suoerheroes do it with such flair. Whether you hang your tights in the DC or Marvel closets you can be sure your hero is always ready to dispense some justice. But there is another reason these characters entertain so much.
I often struggle with finding ways to make my characters more memorable. I do everything I can to make them appear real and human but at the same time I would like them to have that something different. It doesn’t have to be super powers, though those can be fun. What makes for a memorable character is what also makes a great superhero; flaws. Drama is what makes characters memorable and where there is drama there are flawed characters. As you learn to use those flaws, not for the story’s sake but for your readers’, you create memorable characters. Sure most people do not become hulking green monstrosities but everyone does know what it is like to have to keep one’s temper in check. No matter what your characters do in your story they will resonate the most with readers by their struggle to overcome their flaws. That is the lesson I have learned from superheroes.
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