It's a bird, it's a plane, it's...a blue guy in red tights? Here are 10 character writing prompts based on heroes. While Superman may be losing his red tights in the upcoming movie adaptation, you can't take the hero out of this classic character. There have been a lot fewer heroes in movie and books as of late because they've moved to the side for the much more popular anti-hero. Heroes are as much mocked as they are revered for being steadfastly opposed to evil and cynicism in a world where many have negativity as their only defense mechanism. Let's not forget the heroes by including one in our stories: even as a side character.
Free Character Writing Prompts #1: Heroes
1. Upon hearing screams, you look up into the air and see a man falling to his death from a rooftop tour. All of a sudden, a bulky man in a camouflage jumpsuit swoops in, grabs the man and parachutes them both to safety. You catch up with the man afterward and it turns out he's part of a secret project to protect citizens. This hero joined the Army shortly after a terrorist attack, hoping he could make a difference. He spends time away from his family while on assignment but he has a deep love for his wife, treating her with respect and appreciation. Why does he feel so compelled to help people he barely knows?
2. With his country in ruins, a second-tier baron in a monarchy peacefully assumes control of his nation with peaceful rhetoric. He prevents a near civil war by granting rights to the commoners of both sides and within a decade of his rule, the kingdom is flourishing economically after a long period of darkness. It was his father's steady hand and great sense of compromise that taught him the secrets to governing and he is extremely thankful daily. He does not look like a king, clean-shaven, a large nose and bright green eyes make him appear more like an elf, but as soon as he opens his mouth you realize the power he wields. What goals does a man like this seek for his name in posterity?
3. She quickly rose through the ranks of the large city's police department to become the youngest superintendant and the first woman of the position. In a place and career hounded by corruption, she was able to weed out those who were exploiting their power within a few months. By removing the bad seeds, she was able to reduce crime and the department's budget during her tenure. She works hard and has had a difficult time keeping in touch with family. Her demeanor warms some and intimidates others. What is a typical day like for this high-ranking cop?
4. An accident with medication quickly left this mid-ranking civil servant blind at the age of 30. She wallowed in misery for nearly a year before coming to terms with her ailment. An absolute beauty who loved seeing the world around her, she determined that if she would never be able to look at herself again, she would make her life as wonderful as possible instead. That would be the beauty she could see. She founded an organization to help those in her situation to cope with their condition and rehabilitate their lives. Just twenty years after her accident she was a loving mother to three and a beacon of hope to thousands. What's the next step in the life of a woman who has done so much?
5. You attend a workshop led by a man who seems too good to be true. At the age of 25, he wrote a book that changed the world and has since been giving seminars to change people's lives. He looks more like an NFL linebacker than a transformational coach, but when you finally get a chance to meet him face to face he warms your heart and invigorates your soul. It's something about the way he connects with you. You are fortunate enough to sit down with him at a coffee shop after the workshop. What is the first question you ask him?
6. A war has broken out between a large country and its colony. One man steps forward to lead the colony in a battle that nearly seems impossible. This leader came from humble beginnings and despite this sense of humility he is able to command the attention of everyone he comes into contact with. His personal life may be the only aspect of his life that is not commendable as his luck with the ladies is far below his battle acumen. What is the outcome of this war and does it help his social life?
7. She had been on the job for about nine months when she noticed the accounting error. It had been two weeks since her boss told her to ignore the issue and a week since the accounting issue mysteriously disappeared. It turned out her company had been essentially stealing from the Medicare program and even though it might cost her job, she scheduled a meeting with her state attorney general. She was incredibly torn because since she moved to the city, she'd had few friends and all of them were at work. She stuck to her guns, however, and though she lost her job and her friends, she received a percentage of the state's settlement agreement. What will she do with the money and what is the next step for her?
8. As you wait in the emergency room for a friend to be treated for a minor injury, you notice several gurneys entering into the hospital at lighting speed carrying gunshot victims. One doctor at the hospital takes charge of the situation quickly. She commands respect with a deeper than normal voice and authority that can't be trumped. At the same time, however, she seems to reassure the patients with true compassion. Later on, as your friend is checking out, you see the doctor joking with a co-worker provoking a laugh. You approach her and ask if everyone is OK. Not only are the gunshot victims going to survive, but the doctor asks about your friend by name. What has made this woman as strong-willed and perceptive as she is today?
9. In his stage life, he was a professional wrestler who was loved by the masses. The people upstairs never dared turn him into a villain, especially because he was such a cash cow as a hero. To continue in this lifestyle, he was away from home most of the year and his personal life suffered. Despite how tired he was on a day-to-day basis, he still stopped by local charities and made as many appearances as possible to boost awareness for important causes. Between charity, travel and wrestling, he didn't have much time for friends but kept a positive attitude nonetheless. Why does he work so hard on his career and charitable causes and what will he do when his wrestling career ends?
10. She was bullied throughout high school because of her sexual orientation, but she never stopped joking around with her friends and teachers, making her one of the most revered kids in school. When she went to college, she began a campaign to prevent such bullying in high school and she became a national sensation. Despite her ability to coast on account of her rapport with people and her blond, cheerleader looks, she determined early on that she would follow a higher calling. How does she react upon hearing that her girlfriend from high school has been assaulted and what does she do next?
Bryan Cohen is the author of more than 30 books, many of which focus on creative writing and blasting through that pesky writer's block. His books have sold more than 20,000 copies. You can find him on Google+ and Facebook.