May 4 – Heroes

Today we’re focusing on the heart of any story: the characters. We often refer to the protagonist as the ‘hero’ whether or not he/she is heroic. Today, however, we’re going to take that word literally:

The Prompt

Write A Story With A Heroic Protagonist


  • A hero is not necessarily someone with a cape and superpowers. A hero can be someone who is exceptionally talented in one or more areas and who uses those talents.
  • A hero can be great at one thing and ordinary (or clueless) in other areas: Adrian Monk is  almost incapable of living a normal life, but his OCD and his fears make him an exceptional detective; Elizabeth Bennett is not rich or beautiful or titled, or any of the other things that mattered at the time, but Jane Austen’s famous heroine endures because she is witting and quick and funny; Slippery Jim in Harry Harrison’s Stainless Steel Rat is a rogue, but a charming rogue.
  • Think about characters you love from fiction. What is it that you like about them? Are they funny? Smart? Brave? Brooding? Tortured?
  • Think about characters you dislike. Why? Are they whiny? Angry? Glib? Uncaring?
  • What raises the feature you love about that character to the next level?
  • Think about people in your life that you love or abhor. What features and characteristics do they have that you envy/loathe?
  • How could you create a character that has a stand-out characteristic (one that you love) that shows the reader the best of humanity? That gives the reader something to aspire to?
  • What mannerisms will your character have? What expressions will they use? How will they talk?
  • What single adventure could this character have in a story that highlights their most heroic feature?


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6 thoughts on “May 4 – Heroes”

  1. I thought this would be difficult, but something struck me today, and I sat down and out it poured. Off to post it now.

  2. I found this quite challenging and ended up writing a rather goofy piece that needs much revision. Still I quite liked the idea of being dressed up, if not exactly like a hero, an anti-hero, while doing something heroic.

  3. So far so good! I’ve come up with (what I consider) a good opening. I need to work out how to finish it. What does my hero do to be heroic? It looks like I may need some of your square brackets and finish it June!

  4. Good morning from a very sunny Gloucester, England!
    OK. I found this subject really quite hard, because I don’t really relate to something as iconic as a hero (though I would quite like to be Jack Reacher, writing something like that seemed a bit cliched for this exercise).
    So I chose a little local and personal thing I personally did and whilst it wasn’t heroic on a grand scale of things, I think it was valuable to the society I live in and I did it without desire for recognition and in fact, it was about me too, for it solved a problem for me personally as well as society (albeit a small population of them) as a whole.
    I didn’t seek recognition, nor did I want or get any!
    What I am noticing already with these exercises is that a ‘theme’ is emerging in what I write (and I am defining ‘theme’ in my own interpretation, because I just read a writing book about ‘theme’ this morning and mine isn’t quite that, I don’t think).
    It’s about the underlying concept of thinking laterally about personal beliefs and attitudes that have people stuck in the wrong rut. It’s happened already and quite naturally in two of the four pieces of how a slight change can make all sorts of differences. Maybe that’s my genre, whatever you would call it! Interesting!

    1. “have people stuck in the wrong rut” – how neat, I like it, it happens so easily. A dancer who should be a painter, or a painter who should be a writer, all so close and yet so far away and elusive. Thank you Martin.
      Got relatives in Glos. by the way, in and around Drybrook.

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