Developing Heroes and Heroines

How Writers Developing Heroes and Heroines?

When writers ask me how I develop my heroes and heroines, I realize the process is instinctual now, not entirely conscious. I do remember how I began developing characters. In the first book I wrote, my heroine was completely perfect. In my second book, my heroine had too many problems to

count. And somehow through the years, I’ve realized heroes and heroines need flaws as well as the virtues that make them true heroes and heroines. So where do I begin?

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Start A Story

My story idea sometimes begins with the conflict. Usually my hero or heroine comes to life when I think about that conflict. Where does the conflict come from? Usually from the character’s past. What type of background will emphasize the conflict and give it the most punch? Your character’s background makes him/her think a certain way, act in a certain way, speak in a certain way. All are unique to that character because of their background.

If your hero was raised in an orphanage with no sense of belonging, he will probably not know how to love. Unless he remembers his mother’s love before she died. Unless a mentor taught him values. Unless a catastrophe changed the course of his life. I build a background step by step, considering future story events and the way I want my the characters to react to them. Motivation propels conflict which makes your romance strong. That motivation springs from your character’s background.

Character Writing

Some writers use a character chart to really get to know their characters. Eye color. Age. Favorite food. Schooling. Family background. Philosophy of life. From the simple to the complex. You can be as detailed as you need to be. The point of the exercise is to get to know your character–inside and out–so you can speak, think and act for him or her…you can be him or her.

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Once you have the first part of your couple, you work on the second half. What type of person will contrast the best or complement the best? What type of background will cause the most conflict between the two of them? What will keep them from their goals? What will eventually show them they are better together than apart? What can they teach each other? How can they heal each other? What is the one gift the hero can give the heroine that she will cherish the rest of her life and vice versa? Is it trust?

Compassion? Understanding? A home? A sense of belonging?

The most important point to remember is that your hero and herioine must come to understand that as a couple, they are invincible if they surrender to their love. Developing multi-dimensional characters will give your romance vibrant texture, intense conflict and a satisfying resolution. If

you build each aspect of their lives carefully, they will take over and write their own story, and you can sit back and enjoy what they become! 

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