Sunday, January 15, 2012

Heroic Qualities

What are the qualities readers appreciate in their favorite characters? 
This is a question I recently pondered as I participate in a writer’s workshop. The book used for this workshop is the highly rated, “Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook” by Donald Maass. If you have read his book by this title, I highly recommend purchasing the workbook and following the exercises. A lesson regarding heroic qualities inspired me to write this blog post.

All characters have heroic qualities as well as flaws. In my character Joey’s case, her qualities can also at times be a seen as a flaw or hindrance in her growth as a person, though fictional as she is.  Fortitude, resiliency, conviction, creativeness, patience, with a touch of vulnerability are the obvious qualities admired by most readers. Though this is a purely fictional character, in order to define her personality, I thought of two  women I admire and in the process learned facts about them I did not know.

Margaret Thatcher was originally denied entry into a chemistry program, but yet she was excepted when someone else dropped out and went on the graduate with a degree in not only chemistry but law as well.  The qualities I admire in her are her perseverance, the fact that she became the first woman prime minister, she was not born into a peerage but she earned her title.  

Ida Lupino was a talented actress who became the only female director in Hollywood in the late 1940’s. She addressed social issues in her films and took charge of her career by not only producing and directing but by determining the message of the screen play as well.

There are many more strong women who stood up for their convictions, ideals and social issues.  Some of those women are well known and have been immortalized in books and movies, but I am sure each of us knows someone who embodies heroic qualities and leads a quietly normal life. 

Though my grandmother has passed away, her sense of humor, confidence and concern for others will live on through the character of Joey Tallmadge. Please leave a comment with your favorite qualities!

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