One problem that I have in creating a proper hero is taking, oh, let’s say a young Brendan Fraser and stuffing him into a suit of armor, and then devising a plot for him. It is a tough job, but someone has to do it.
The story: four muscle-bound hunks strap on their swords, get on their horses and ride off to save the world. Well that is a bit simplified, but basically that is it.
What sort of mayhem are they capable of? And how much madcap merriment is necessary to keep the plot moving forward?
As I said before, it is hard work, but I really do feel that I am up to it. First I decide their names, and ethnic origin. Then I assign them their personalities. That is the fun part, because the different personalities are where the mayhem and merriment really begin.
Of course, once you stick Brendan in a suit of armor, the muscles are a moot point, but we know they are there. Ooh, baby! And there will be moments when the armor is off the hero, and his sword-belt is hanging on the back of the chair. Again, I say ‘Ooh, baby!”
Having a good visualization of what my characters look like is essential to me, and I make notes for even the minor characters so that the reactions and responses within the story remain true to the tale. I always notice when, in a book that I am reading, a hero acts out of character even briefly and it ruins the flow of the story for me.
There are many opportunities for that to happen during the times when the author is ‘winging’ it, and lately I have read a few tales where that has happened, so that has been foremost in my mind when I am trying to take my ferociously sexy heroes to the conclusion of their adventure. It wouldn’t do for the suave philosopher to suddenly begin speaking like the fiery weapons-master and vice-versa, unless he is in the mood to mock the poor man; which does occasionally happen:
“What?” Jules didn’t follow Rall’s spate of words.
“I could speak in monosyllables if it would aid your comprehension,” offered Rall, irritated. “Food!” he pointed at the roasting quail. “Eat!”
“Thanks, awfully,” replied Jules. “I would enjoy a bite, since you seem to be done burning it.” Spearing one with his knife, he proceeded to devour it, wiping his fingers on his sleeves.
So, keeping in mind who is speaking, and how they think goes hand in hand with what they look like and their personal history. Once I have all of that perfectly cemented in my mind, I can begin to just let the story flow out of my mind and through the ends of my fingers and onto the screen.
There is nothing like 180lbs of muscle-bound mayhem multiplied by four riding off on some absurd quest to keep the creativity flowing!