Tag Archives: Heroes

So You Want to be a Hero?

By M.A. Donovan

Heroes aren’t born, they are made. Society, relationships, and the way we live dictate whether or not we can become a hero to someone. In ancient times, you didn’t have to be completely honorable, loyal, or an upright citizen to become legendary. You just had to do something remarkable that people would talk about (and maybe write an epic) for years to come. For instance, Achilles, the Greeks’ greatest hero, tried to get out of fighting for his country and when that didn’t work, he sulked in his tent while his comrades were killed. But yet to die old and unsung would never do, so he stepped up and was remembered.

Today, heroes are defined by their values. Just doing something heroic isn’t enough; one must also live honorably, be healthy and strong within, learn humility, and have some redeeming qualities that someone will look up to.

Heroes can be almost anything – the shy kid living next door, the 89-year-old veteran in a wheelchair, or your accountant. Animals have been known to carry out great feats in stories as well as real life news events. When writing a hero into a tale, they can wear many hats and have varying dispositions, but they all have one thing in common: the need to aid someone who is in trouble. They needn’t be superheroes with special powers or physically strong; anyone can be a hero and sometimes, you’ll find them hiding in the last place you would look.  Do you have it in you to be a hero to someone?

In The Golden Horn, my wayward hero, Galen, is a combination of the ancient legends and the modern day hero. He is humble and refuses to title himself, but yet, his heart breaks at the thought of all the struggles the common villager has to suffer. Galen is no stranger to pain, coming from a broken home filled with evil, but he finds a way to survive and decides to do something important with his life. With his sword and companion mage, Olstek, they travel the land, doing good whenever possible. He becomes the Hero of Shandor, even though he feels he’s not worthy to be called that.

The Golden Horn is available at amazon.com or createspace.com. Want to win a free signed copy along with a special gift from me? Enter my “Letter to a Hero” contest. Simply craft a genius letter to your special hero (can be a fictional character or a real person) and send to me at kariah@donovanfantasyauthor.com with “Letter to a Hero” in the subject. I’ll select a winner at the end of my virtual book tour, on or around March 1, 2013. Please make sure to include your name, mailing address, and email in your letter.

Visit M.A. Donovan online at https://www.donovanfantasyauthor.com or check out her blog at https://www.freethewriterinside.com.

Read an excerpt at https://getshorturl.com/17  .

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by Michael A. Ventrella


Jeremy Wembley grabbed the broom by the handle.  He took forceful steps toward the back of the room where Patrick stood unaware.   Patrick paid no notice as Jeremy shortened the distance between them, and seemed completely oblivious to Jeremy’s presence.

Jeremy raised the broom just as Patrick turned around.

“I’ll sweep the stockroom now, Mr. Brenner,” he said.

Jeremy knew that if he continued to impress his boss, it would not be long before he could get that promotion—and soon after, get the real reward he desired:  night manager of the Fredricksburg 7-11 on West Norton Avenue.

Unless his arch-nemesis, that kiss-up Eric Stoher got there first…

All the elements are there.  There is a goal the main character wishes to reach, and an obstacle that can prevent him.  There is character development and conflict.

But, you know, who gives a flying you-know-what?

The fact of the matter is that we want to read stories about people and events that are larger than life.  We want to read about heroes to do great things, make clever comments, overcome great odds.

This is nothing new.  The ancient Greeks didn’t do plays about the guy who cleaned the stables.

And I am no exception.  My books have been about wars and world-shaping events and the heroes whose presence made a difference.

However, at the same time, I have consciously avoided the standard hero that is a mainstay of much of fiction (and especially fantasy).   You know the type – the Chosen One from Prophecy who is the seventh son of the seventh son who is the only one who can wield the magic sword Noonah because he has surplus midichlorians and blah blah blah.   Maybe this hero starts off the book as a nobody, but he or she ends up as the World’s Greatest Swordsman or Most Powerful Wizard by the end and thus, being superior to us lowly humans, saves the day.

In my two published novels (ARCH ENEMIES and THE AXES OF EVIL) and in a short story in the soon-to-be-released anthology TALES OF FORTANNIS:  A BARD’S EYE VIEW, my main character is a teenager named Terin.   His problem is that, thanks to a mistake, everyone thinks he’s the Chosen One Who Can Save The Day.

By the end of ARCH ENEMIES, Terin is still running when a fight breaks out and still can barely cast a minor spell.  So what makes him the hero?

To me, what makes a real hero is someone who doesn’t have all those skills and yet, through bravery and intelligence, rises above what is expected and does the extraordinary.   Terin is the hero because he figures out a solution – he finds a way to solve the problem that is more than merely “hitting the bad guy with the weapon until he falls down.”

I like these kinds of heroes because they remind us that we all can be heroes sometimes.

Oh, I don’t mean to knock down the more traditional heroes:  I love Batman and Luke Skywalker as much as the next fan.  But when I create a hero for my stories, they tend to be average people put into extraordinary circumstances who must then find something special within themselves to make things right.

In the sequel THE AXES OF EVIL, people are now thoroughly convinced that Terin has wondrous powers, even though he doesn’t.  Now he’s confronted with a trio of barbarian prophecies which, he later discovers, contradict each other.  On top of this, his liege wants him to get all the barbarians off his land, and a bunch of silly goblins think Terin’s the one who will lead them to victory over the evil humans who oppress them.

These are problems that cannot be resolved by being the biggest fighter.  Terin solves them all by the end of the book through his cleverness and resourcefulness, and by being brave and willing to risk it all.

That, to me, is very admirable.  It’s what I admire about my real life heroes (Benjamin Franklin and Martin Luther King, to name two).   And it’s the kind of hero I like writing about, because I can identify with him and understand his fears and worries.




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