I just finished my 4th novel, The Chronicles of Nuclear Fist, 1-Darksoul and sent it off for some critiquing. My son inspired me to write it. The idea came rather quickly, but it put into perspective the vast potential of creative backgrounds heroes are created in.
In my first novel, Relics of Nanthara: Secrets Revealed, the hero is a sheltered adolescent cleric oblivious to how the real world is. Gullible, somewhat timid, and lacks street savvy. But in the end, he gains boldness, courage, and a real world intelligence seasoned by his experiences. On the other hand, we have Malachi, my teen superhero in Darksoul. The youth comes from a very wealthy Christian background which goes sour due to his parents. His abilities come from a freak accident.
Okay, fine. How are these two guys similar? How do they relate to other characters? Do heroes have to have unique powers and abilities? Nope. Can they be quirky, goofy, and introverted? Yep. A hero does not have to perform flawless acrobatic skills in order to make a book exciting. You can have a timid teenage babysitter fight off an intruder and jump out a window with child to save both of them. A hero does not have to look like Conan the Barbarian, either. Courtar, my nerdy cleric, is a thin built adolescent with little combat skill, less street smarts, but he has desire and ambition. If he puts his mind to it, he's doing it.
Can heroes be more than one? Absolutely. Folks like cool characters to follow. And creating heroes that may have conflict creates an even juicier plot. Malachi starts off alone, but soon gains the friendship of some street kids...and then the fun begins. Courtar starts off alone, but soon gains a following of like-minded individuals which help form 'the chosen ones', those prophesied to destroy evil.
Can heroes be super? Yep. They can range from an elderly man all the way to the unique creation of the Fantastic 4. The neat thing about writing...do what you want! Experiment, create, shape, breakdown, and redo. Like a clump of clay, your hero doesn't have any form until you work on it. And don't be afraid to conjure up something odd. You never know how it will turn out.
Nick G. Giannaras