A common problem I see in my work with writers is misuse of a storytelling term I call, Hero Fact.
Hero Fact means the Protagonist in the story must always be the hero. No. Matter. What. And if he’s not the direct hero (like if you’ve got a hero and heroine situation in your story), he must still be the catalyst to the defeat of the Antagonist.
I guest posted about this over on StoryFix (Larry Brooks’ blog), and talked about how:
While it might seem nice to have a story where the protagonist (aka: hero) gets rescued by someone else, you can’t do it. Not if you want a story that’s publishable.
In a story that works, the hero must go on a journey.
First he’s just trudging along, enjoying (or not) life. But then something happens (the First Plot Point), and he’s thrust into a journey that’s conflicted and full of stakes. Now he must work through all the demons (inner and outer) in order to come to a resolution of some kind.
Pretty basic stuff, but you’d be amazed how often people get it wrong.
No matter what story you choose to deconstruct, you’ll always find the hero being heroic. He has to be. That’s what it means when Larry says the hero has to be the “Martyr” in part four of the story.
And even when you think the hero isn’t truly the hero, if you dig deeper you’ll see that he is.
[Read the rest of the article: What Every Writer Must Know About “Hero Fact“]
While it’s great to read all about how to use Hero Fact in your story, I find it’s a lot easier to execute if you have something to guide the process. For that reason, I created the Hero Fact Checklist. I’m offering it here for you, for free, because I want you to have the tools you need to write better stories: