Sounds Great, in Fiction

Here’s a handy list of things for the hero of a story to try. (Note: This is my attempt at sarcasm. DO NOT try any of this in real life.)

Have some romantic tension, including kidnapping.
Being kidnapped is so romantic. So is fighting with a significant other. Conflict is what makes the heart grow fond, or maybe just keeps the reader turning the pages.

Try love at first sight, or at the very least, kissing within the week.
When the course of the story is only a few days, how else is an author supposed to get the couple together, especially if the couple is in the middle of action?

Unstable families are such fun.
Because having two parents who aren’t trying to murder the hero can get boring. If the parents are decent people who are still alive, chances are at least one kid turned to the Dark Side. After all, what kind of family would it be without drama?

Kids should be in charge of everything.
album_film22-290x300Teenagers don’t want to read about some middle-aged general, so why not stick a kid in charge of the military, or maybe the entire country? After all, what could go wrong? A teenage hero is a much better choice than some stuffy old veteran who actually knows what he’s doing.

They’re also the best option for solving murder cases.
Real cops with guns? Na, those are useless. Send a teenage girl or pair of boys. They’ll somehow be able to catch the murderer without getting killed.

Go tame that spirited horse, or whatever people ride in this universe.
Of course the hero can ride the killer horse/dragon/gryphon within a few hours of seeing it, even if he/she has never been around animals before. Forget about the fact that experienced riders have been crippled trying to tame this monster. All it takes is the Power of Love.

Drugs, fortification, and alcohol, especially during the apocalypse or in a war zone
These are perfectly safe and never lead to complications such as pregnancy or death.

Giving someone a weapon and no training.
2a0f0c0575057a2b06ae5c019d39c67cThe hero will know how to handle complicated weapons, right? No way he’d ever do something stupid like point the dangerous end at his face.

Using cool weapons instead of practical ones.
Of course, Samurai swords are a perfectly reasonable thing to bring to a gun fight. After all, the hero can throw them at people with guns, right?

Not having appropriate weapons when they’d be really useful.
Walking into the dark forest or other dangerous places unarmed is so much more fun than taking a weapon along. After all, the kidnappers would have trouble kidnapping if the hero had a weapon.
Also, shooting the evil overlord dude never works. He must be fought in a “fair” fight that goes on for pages. Sniping him just won’t do. That would be like murder. Never mind that the hero who is worried about killing a mass murderer is normally perfectly fine with killing said mass murderer’s minions.

Setting up a powerful government.
As long as the main characters are in charge of the new government, of course things are going to be great. They won’t take any advantage of their newfound power, and they’re also going to be able to keep the local economy working just fine. It won’t matter that most of them are teens and have no idea how to run a business, let alone a country.

Betting on the underdog.
This is the perfect way to save the family farm. The underdog always wins, that’s why the odds are stacked against him/her.

guardians-galaxyComposing the heroic team of people who want to kill each other.
Surely, they’ll come together and use their diversity to save the galaxy, instead of fighting each other. No one will ever actually get killed when they fight.

Any other fun things to add to the list?


About Jessi L. Roberts

I live and work on my family’s cattle ranch in eastern Montana. I have a flock of chickens, a hyper golden retriever, some cows, and a few horses. I enjoy fantasy and science fiction and my head is full of wild sci-fi story ideas, some involving apocalypses and others involving aliens. I have been published twice in Havok Magazine, an imprint of Splickity.
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9 Responses to Sounds Great, in Fiction

  1. hannahrodriguezwriter says:

    These are all over used plots…… especially the romantic kidnapping.
    And the kids leading everything.


    • I read one book where the guy kidnapped the girl and she starts noticing he’s attractive. Maybe I’m weird, but if a guy is a threat to my life,I’d probably be thinking about escape instead of his chiseled jaw.
      I’ve seen the kids leading thing done poorly, especially in some Christian books. (Narnia would be one, but there are modern ones too.) Realistically, if a kid is the emperor/dragonrider/chosen one, they should at least have a general or something to tell them what sort of tactical decisions to make.


      • hannahrodriguezwriter says:

        Wow. yeah if someone was about to kill me I wouldn’t want to notice something like that.
        And yeah kids should have people like that helping.


      • Hann Remraf says:

        Okay, when I read this post, I didn’t see these comments. I agree that I wouldn’t focus on chiseled features (although I might notice them :P), I would focus on getting away/not dying.
        And yeah, children aren’t good leaders in their own. Wise counsel is always best . For anyone, really.


  2. T says:

    Oh! Do you know what also works? Trusting in pure luck! Or keeping your friends in the dark about vital plot elements!

    seriously now, your list is frame worthy. Sure, conflict is good in a book, but so is common sense.


    • Oh yes, or having some crazy battle plan that obviously won’t work, so the hero is only saved by some act of God, such as unexpected and unforshadowed allies showing up in the nick of time.


  3. Athelas Hale says:

    OH, yes. All of these.

    Also, stalker-love. Seriously, guys – if she says no, don’t follow her around all the time or spend the rest of your life in deep depression because she turned you down. Move on. Get a life.


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