Thursday, March 28, 2013

Feet of Clay

How important is it that your hero have "feet of clay"? 

For me it's not just important, it's crucial if I want my heroes to be believable. Some of the best advice I ever got about writing comes from Chuck Dixon, and it has served me well throughout my career: Give your villain a likeable trait, and give your hero a dislikeable trait. Those aren't his exact words, but that's the gist of it.

Give your hero feet of clay. Make them struggle with something, and for my money, why not a moral issue?

Case in point,  in my SHOW ME A HERO collection, the Grandstander is a flamboyant and arrogant jackass who's only super power is that he knows the exact moment of his death and has a sort of carte blanche with his actions until that day happens, and he abuses his "power" to impress people. But not without ultimately doing the right thing.

I prefer to write my characters along a continuum rather than a clear line in the sand. My bad guys can be a little good, and my good guys have to be a little bad, or they're just not that interesting to me as a reader or as a writer.

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