I couldn't think of as many reasons to be a hero as I could to be a villain, so this isn't so great. Can anyone think of something I've missed? Please?
Cranberry no Miko and "Light" Emotions!
Well, here I am again, killing some time, so I decided to write up a companion piece to the "dark" emotions guide. This should help with writing heroic characters. It'll probably be shorter than the "dark" emotions guide, because frankly I find bad guys more interesting than good guys. ^.^ In any case, here's hoping this helps.
This one is tricky, because most people feel jealous or possessive of people they love. Heroes in general have it harder than villains, because heroes have to keep from giving in to human weaknesses. This makes writing a perfect hero near-impossible, and if you manage to make them convincing, people will hate them. A character without flaws is dull and easy to disbelieve or dislike. A hero in love should be protective, and willing to do anything to keep their loved one safe. They have to be pretty good to begin with, so it shouldn't be too hard to do.
On the topic of general goodness, make sure (as always) that your character has motivation to be good. I doubt many people wake up in the morning and say to themselves, "Gee, I feel like saving the world today!" I certainly don't. My thoughts usually run along the lines of, "Please don't tell me it's morning already, I need more sleep!" Something in the hero's past has to have made them heroic, and they have to have a certain mentality for it to effect them that way. Take two people who were abused as a child. One grows up to be bitter and continues the abusive cycle, while the other grows up fighting to protect people from abuse. Why? It's their basic personality. Keep that in mind when writing characters. The hero and the villain could have led identical lives, except they reacted in different ways to the same events.
This one is not going to be a good motivator for the average heroic character. Sure, if someone is really happy they want other people to be happy too, but who's going to go fight an all-powerful evil villain in a fit of joy? This emotion is just not inspiring to heroic action, unless you're writing about an overly happy magical school girl who's just too happy not to go save the world. If you want to try, go for it, but good luck making it convincing without making your hero a complete flake.
Sense of justice or right/wrong
How many times (especially in teen movies) have you heard someone whine, "It's not fair!" A lot. Now, how many times has someone gone and done something about the unfairness? Not very many. It's easy for people to notice when things aren't fair in the world, or that they have been wronged, but it takes a fairly mature person to get off their butt and do something about it. A hero that works because of a sense of justice is either very mature or very naive. The mature type will understand that they can't right every wrong or bring justice to everyone, but they can help some, and that is what they do. The naive type is out to bring justice to the world, and can be pretty shocked when their oblivious bubble is popped. Either way, it makes for a fairly interesting personality.
Desire for peace
A pacifist hero can have some serious problems when confronted with a violent villain. If they're not willing to fight, they won't defeat the villain easily. If they choose to fight, they've just compromised their values and will be fighting with themselves. Some pacifists will "fight for peace," but I believe that a true pacifist would not fight, rendering them useless as a hero. Of course, you can make a pacifistic hero who chooses to fight and then wrestles with moral confusion.
This one ranks very high on the "makes interesting characters" scale. A hero who is working not out of some sense of a greater good, but because of personal desires is fascinating. The best example of this is are bounty hunter or assassin type characters. They will be on your side as long as your money holds out. You're broke and the villain has money? Well, unless they've suddenly become moral, you're screwed. This type of "good guy" (and I use the term loosely) makes for very good plot twists and complications.
This is a bit overused. Either they are the descendant of a long line of heroes, or they are chosen by some mystical being, and now they have to save the planet. Well, if I woke up one morning and someone told me, "Good morning, you're a destined hero, get out of here and go save the planet," I'd be asking them who spiked their coffee. Not a lot of people are going to risk their lives without a very good reason, and being told they have to isn't going to cut it. A fun twist on the "destined hero" stereotype is a hero that decides they don't want to be a hero anymore and runs off to help the villain. This is more likely if the villain wants to rule the world rather than destroy it. In any case, don't just have your hero be heroic because fate pointed a finger and him and said, "Okay, you be a hero. Now." It's not very interesting.
If the hero is carrying on a family tradition, that's a different story, especially if they've been raised expecting to be a hero. They can feel obligated to follow in their family's footsteps, or they've been force fed heroism so they don't have much of a choice. Again, this type of hero is more likely to switch sides or just throw up their hands and say, "Screw it! I don't care!"
Well, that's all I can think of for now. I might add to this later, but I'm tired of heroism for now. Villainy is so much more interesting.
Helpful? Funny? Stupid? Too long, too short? I demand feedback! Hmm... I should add greed onto my villainy list.