The Perfect Hero/Heroine
The protagonist of a story is so important to the success of the story that good character development can make the difference between a good story and a great one. On the flip side, character creation blunders can be a detriment to what might otherwise be a good story. One thing I would consider a “character creation blunder” is the perfect hero or heroine.
What is a “perfect hero”? A perfect hero is impossibly good-looking; possesses many well-honed talents; is admired and almost celebrated by the rest of the story’s characters; and is the object of the affections of all characters of the opposite gender. A perfect hero always seems to know how to act and react, and can do no wrong. Perfect heros have seemingly no flaws.
I call the perfect hero a “character creation blunder” because he not only leaves no room for improvement or character development, but he is like a perfect person. And as we all know, there are no perfect people. In spite of this knowledge, I’ve read many stories, published or unpublished, which feature a perfect hero. These perfect heros are portrayed as your ordinary person – you’re supposed to relate to them, like them, want them to succeed, etc. The problem is that a perfect person could not possibly be ordinary, as we are all imperfect and our imperfections are part of what makes us real. In other words, perfect heros do not equate to ordinary people.
That being said, it is true that an “ordinary” person could be impossibly good-looking. Many real people are multi-talented or well admired. Some “ordinary” people are great in social situations, like your perfect hero. But even these beautiful, talented, well-rounded people have something that perfect heros don’t – flaws.
Protagonists need personality flaws. All characters, in fact, need flaws. A flawed protagonist has room for character development, for change. Flaws make a protagonist more interesting and more real to readers. Your hero’s flaws make him less perfect and better equated to an “ordinary” person.