[Prompt] May 29 – Make Your Hero Heroic

Congratulations. You’ve been writing stories all month. You’ve written more short stories this month than most writers write in a decade [1. This is not a scientific fact. But doesn’t it seem likely, doesn’t it, what with the elves slacking off?].

My guess is you’re getting pretty good at this by now. Sure some of your stories will be ragged urchins hanging around the door making you feel guilty — with their unfinished clothes and dirty faces. Some will remind you of those relatives you never talk about because…well. But some, oh, some will be your new best friend, shiny and guaranteed to make you feel a flutter inside every time you think of them: grateful they are here, amazed they came to you, flattered that their attractiveness somehow rubs off on you now.

And more than this, you have learned a ton about your own strengths and abilities; your favorite styles; the things you never tried before; the ways you can present a character; and, hopefully, that other people love your stories even in their rough-and-ready StoryADay form.

If you’re still writing at this stage, you’ve already figured out how to not be scared of writing, how to sit down every day and do it, and you’re pretty confident that you can squeeze out three more stories and bask in the warm June glow of victory.

So I’d like you to make things just a little harder for yourself today.

Don’t just write a story.

Write a story with a real, compelling, heroic main character.

Take some time to think about how you will present your main character.

  • Is she more compelling than anyone you meet on an average day? Is she funnier? Weaker? Stronger? More scared? Required to be braver?
  • How will you highlight his strengths and weaknesses? Through inner-monologue? Other people’s reactions to him? Other people’s conversations about him?
  • How will you put your main character through the mill? What flaws will that reveal,  and how will you make the readers still your hero?

Give the world a new hero today.


2 thoughts on “[Prompt] May 29 – Make Your Hero Heroic”

  1. I don’t know whether Ruth qualifies as a heroine for this assignment, but in my books, she is definitely a heroine.

    May 29 THE RESCUE

    It was 1964. Ruth took report before her 3-11 shift in the children’s unit. There was a new child in room 4 and a notice from the campus police to call them if Sharon’s father came to visit. He was wanted for questioning by the State Patrol.
    Interesting, she thought. She made her rounds of the 16 bed unit, greeted the kids who had been there the day before , and welcomed the new child and his parents. When she entered Sharon’s room, there was a man sitting beside the child’s bed.
    “Hello, I’m Miss Kelly. Are you Sharon’s father?”
    “Yes, I am.”
    “I know Sharon is glad to see you. Make yourself at home.”
    Ruth left the room, walked to the nurse’s station, and called the campus police.
    A few minutes later, they escorted the man from the unit.
    “I’ll sue you. You just wait.”
    Ruth was concerned, but she knew she had done as she was directed. A few minutes later one of the parents from room 2 came to her.
    “Miss Kelly, there is a white boy threatening the parents of the little black girl in our room. I think you had better come.”
    Ruth hurried to the room. A ten year old boy, the new child on the unit was yelling at the black parents and shaking his fist in their faces. Fortunately, the black adults were calm and not provoking him.
    Ruth was a small person, only five feet tall and weighed only 97 pounds. She told Tim, the new boy, to come with her. He didn’t move, nor did he stop his threatening talk nor gestures. There was neither an orderly on the unit nor any aides bigger than she. She thought for a minute and then took action, as her brother had taken action against her when she was younger.
    She took hold of Tim’s upraised arm, bent it behind his back, and, using her knee, pushed him from the room. As she “escorted” him to the treatment room, she asked the ward secretary to call the on-call doctor.
    When she and Tim got to the treatment room, she sat on the treatment table, and asked Tim to sit beside her.
    “Tim, you are upset, but we need to talk. You cannot threaten other patients or their parents while you are on this unit. Can you tell me what happened?”
    “They’re n……. My dad says n……..are no good. They shouldn’t be in the same hospital as white folks.”
    “Tim, I understand you have been taught that, but in this hospital, black folks and white folks are treated the same. I cannot allow you to threaten anyone.”
    Tim frowned and turned away. She remembered a book she had read recently by Louisa May Alcott. In it, the heroine had talked with her siblings about what hands should be used for.
    She took Tim’s hand in hers. “Tim, you have strong hands. What are hands for?”
    “I dunno. Hitting?”
    “That’s one possibility. What does your mom do with her hands?”
    Tim ducked his head, and smiled. She makes real good cookies.”
    “What else?”
    “Sometimes, she pats my head or gives me a hug.”
    When the on-call doctor arrived, Tim was sitting in Ruth’s lap and they were continuing their conversation about how hands can be used in loving ways
    The doctor was surprised at what he saw, but felt that Tim needed to be transferred to a behavioral disorders unit for the safety of the other patients.
    Ruth was sorry to see Tim go, but breathed a sigh of relief that he would be in a place where his behavior could be addressed in a more continuous way.
    When Ruth returned to the nurse’s station, Sharon’s father was waiting for her. He apologized for his outburst and explained that he was Sharon’s stepfather. The person wanted for questioning was her natural father. Ruth also apologized for the error, and they shook hands before he returned to Sharon’s room.
    Caring for patient’s medical issues is only one part of the equation. Nursing is a stressful occupation, a daily challenge, and pure joy.

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