1. GH0ST

    GH0ST Member

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    A reason for character to become a hero.

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by GH0ST, Jul 11, 2017.

    Let's say you have a hero that focuses not on punishing criminals but on saving people. What kind of motivation would he need to keep doing that? Why he started doing that in the first place? Emotional breakdown? Loss? Anger? I wrote a similar thread, but I hope you can help me with this one aswell.
     
  2. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    He's just a general nice guy. It's the default setting of the human race, to co-operate and help others.

    But a general nice guy will be perceived as bland. The fashion is for the tortured hero, the one who does good despite himself and the challenges he's had to face.

    Emotional breakdown, loss and anger are more likely to change him and give him a desire to hurt others. And if he can depersonalise them as criminals, he can hurt them AND feel self-righteous about it.
     
  3. Ivana

    Ivana Senior Member

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    I think a hero never really wants to become a hero. He is usually forced into it. And you watch him struggle with the concept all along.
     
  4. Walking Dog

    Walking Dog Active Member

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    Transcending the normal human perspective requires contemplation, otherwise you are talking about a neurosis or some other mental condition causing the behavior. Case in point: I commute to work on a busy highway. I realized a tendency within myself to judge other drivers as either inconsiderate or incompetent, and I get a little nasty in my thoughts. I'm otherwise a nice fellow. I believe this driving behavior is caused by fear or paranoia that others don't respect or like me, hence, a neurosis. In reality, we are all basically the same, just trying to get to work or go home. This later idea of reality is objective thinking. To combat this neurotic tendency of mine while driving, I developed a practice of being aware of my emotional state while driving, as well as the thoughts running through my mind. When I recognize the elevation of anxiety, I focus more on my breathing and relaxing, rather than the crazy idiots around me. I'm basically meditating while driving. As a result, I'm far more tolerant and observant, and far less stressed while commuting. You're character is either suffering from some sort of mental condition causing this level of hero extremism, or the character has transcended beyond any self-interest and thinks only of others. I think the former is more interesting, because this means your hero is complicated, and probably mentally ill. A hero thinking of others rather than self is more god-like, perhaps still mentally ill because there should be some balance. The problem with a god-like character is the lack of favoritism; everybody will be in need of protection and help, including the criminal. If you want to kick some ass, then we are talking about a mentally ill hero. Think of your hero as flawed. What mental baggage is being carried around? Batman witnessed the senseless murder of his parents. Spiderman was a nerdy little kid who couldn't get a girlfriend. Superman was a god-like hero, when he wasn't mad.

    What are some things that bother you? Inconsiderate drivers? Thieves? Political or religious fanatics? We all have a neurosis because we all fear something. What is your hero afraid of?
     
  5. Partridge

    Partridge Senior Member

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    Guilt.
    Maybe he survived a disaster and has survivors guilt?
    Maybe he killed someone when he was in a gang, or by accident?

    Or he could be deeply religious and has lead a sinful life, and is faced (for any reason you want to give) with his own mortality, and the fear of going to hell motivates him to override the bad he has done in life with good.
     
  6. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    Atonement for something is a common trope. Killing someone, or allowing someone to die by not intervening usually weighs on a hero. If Spiderman had stopped that mugger, Uncle Ben wouldn't have died.

    Vigilantism is another. Something horrible happened to the hero, and he wants to make sure it never happens to anyone else, while at the same time hunting the culprit. Batman is this type of hero.

    Then there is the genuinely nice guy, they usually have some strong moral sense from either patriotism or religion. A war hero has likely already risked their lives for the greater good, so has less reservations about doing it in other situations. The usually have jobs like cop, fireman, military, doctor, social worker...
     
  7. GH0ST

    GH0ST Member

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    I am not sure yet. I think it would be cool to make him feel fear when innocents are in danger. Some sort of trauma or guilt. From all the heroes who punish and serve justice, he would be the one to save innocent bystanders by serving peace and hope.
     
  8. GH0ST

    GH0ST Member

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    I understand that. But what thing could force him to become a hero?
     
  9. Thundair

    Thundair Contributor Contributor

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    I would think if the opportunity presented itself a lot of us would do the heroic thing.
    What might work is if he was conscripted by a lover or friend, also he could also be coerced by the king.
    My main character in the piece I'm working on, lived a life with a silver spoon. He intercepted a letter that defined how an origination would be killed and he subsequently changed his life to stop the killers. With his life now dedicated to helping people he reflects on his past lack of empathy, and so on.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2017
  10. Hervey_Copeland

    Hervey_Copeland Member

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    I believe it was Ray Bradbury who once said that you should throw a couple of 'obstacles' in the path of the protagonist, so he really has to struggle. Then sit back and watch him overcome these 'setbacks'.


    This creates sympathy with the readers, and I guess a protagonist they can identify with.


    When you think about it, that's what it's like for most of us. Life is a constant battle against various obstacles.
     
  11. GH0ST

    GH0ST Member

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    Easier said than done, my friend. It is a bit hard to figure out what kind of obstacles should I throw in.
     
  12. Hervey_Copeland

    Hervey_Copeland Member

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    Then it sounds to me like you've got a mild case of writers block.

    Keep at it and you'll figure it out eventually

    H.
     
  13. Elven Candy

    Elven Candy Pay no attention to the foot in my mouth Contributor

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    If I suddenly gained super powers, I'd probably save people because of I'm overly sensitive. When I was a child I'd cry over the silliest deaths in movies and books. I mean, Mufassa dying in The Lion King bothered me. For years. It was ridiculous. I've spent the better part of fifteen years trying to overcome my oversensitivity, but I still struggle with it and that makes it hard to enjoy movies and books with death in them. If someone dies a needless death, I get mad because it hurts that much worse inside.

    If your hero has similar issues, he might save people just to protect himself from heartache and guilt, and struggle with fighting his sensitivity so that he can actually get a life outside of hero work. Maybe he works himself to exhaustion all the time because if someone dies while he could save them, he feels so much pain inside that they died, he can't stand it. And he doesn't even know these people; he has no obligation to them whatsoever, yet he feels the pain and guilt as if he were their best friend and the cause of their death.

    It'd be different, anyway.
     
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  14. GH0ST

    GH0ST Member

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    That... Sounds amazing! I think I will go with this one. Big Thanks!
     
  15. Elven Candy

    Elven Candy Pay no attention to the foot in my mouth Contributor

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    Happy to help :-D
     
  16. ladyserenity

    ladyserenity Member

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    You could give him deep religious/spiritual motivations for 'doing the right thing' and that'd make him interesting. Too many people write tortured antiheroes these days.
     

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