Three Hero Essentials

Writers get
story ideas from all kinds of crazy places. Snippets of overheard conversations.
A phrase from a fortune cookie. The back of a milk carton.
What attracted
my interest as an author recently was an old London newspaper advertisement from
the late 1700’s. It encouraged the public to send a note to Bow Street as soon
as any serious crime occurred so that “a
set of brave fellows could immediately be dispatched in pursuit of the
I wondered about
those “brave fellows” and what kind of villains they might come up against, and
thus was born Nicholas Brentwood—a hero who’s a little rough around the edges,
colorful as a Dickens character, and observant enough to be a forerunner of
Sherlock. Shameless plug: check out BRENTWOOD’S
for more of Nicholas Brentwood.
The thing about heroes, though, is that most are
too good to be true. The best are unpredictable, someone who’s not necessarily
safe to be around but always has his
loved one’s interests at heart—a man who will put his head on the chopping
block to save them if need be. But that’s just one aspect of a great hero. Here
are a few others . . .
Perfect characters make readers want to punch
them in the head. Nobody is flawless, so make sure your super stud isn’t
either. This can be something as small as an inability to balance a checkbook,
or maybe it’s a fear. Indiana Jones was afraid of snakes but that didn’t make
him any less heroic.
Yo, buddy. Step a little closer. I’ve got a
juicy secret to tell you. Are you leaning toward the screen? That’s because you
want to know what I’ve got hidden. Secrets are like big, plump nightcrawlers
wriggling on a hook, irresistible to literary fish. Heroes with a secret reel
in a reader.
Everybody wants
something. A brand-spanking-new Tesla. A mutton lettuce tomato sandwich. The
stupid hangnail on your thumb to go away. Your hero wants something as well, or
at least he should. Make that clear to your reader.
these traits into the crafting of your next hero and you’ll have readers
begging for more.
See if you can
match wits with my recent hero—an experienced lawman—as he tracks down a
dangerous criminal in BRENTWOOD’S WARD.
There’s none better than NICHOLAS
BRENTWOOD at catching the felons who ravage London’s streets, and there’s
nothing he loves more than seeing justice carried out—but this time he’s met
his match. Beautiful and beguiling EMILY PAYNE is more treacherous than a city
full of miscreants and thugs, for she’s a thief of the highest order…she’s
stolen his heart.
in paperback, ebook, and audiobook formats at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine
About the Author
Michelle Griep’s been writing since
she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She seeks to glorify God in all that
she writes—except for that graffiti phase she went through as a teenager.
She resides in the frozen tundra of
Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high
school co-op. An Anglophile at heart, she runs away to England every chance she
gets, under the guise of research. Really, though, she’s eating excessive
amounts of scones.
Follow her adventures at her blog WRITER OFF THE LEASH or visit, and don’t forget the usual
haunts of
Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter.