I Need a Hero – Courage

by | Mar 14, 2010 | Fiction Book Reviews | 7 comments

Hero: definition – the bread or roll used in making a hero sandwich.

Oops, wrong one. Sounds good though. 😉

Hero: definition – a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.

 Hmm…who doesn’t like a hero. If you’re a reader of any type of fiction or a lover of movies, you’re very aware of a hero. In fact, there’s a television show out with just that title: Heroes.

For the next few weeks, we’re going to discuss the characteristics that make up a hero. Authors from Christian fiction have given me their top three character traits of a hero and I’m going to pick out various elements to help us learn how to make memorable heroes in our novels.

Now, be prepared. I hope to alternate between a writing tip day and a discussion of the heroic attributes of Christ day – just as a reminder J

Let’s get to some HEROES – shall we?

 Indiana Jones. Doesn’t get more adventurous or more…flawed than that 🙂 Who doesn’t like a guy in a Stetson with a whip, covered in dust from a millennia ago.

Jack Cavanaugh has been publishing exciting, historical novels for years. His historical American Family Portrait Series, bring heroes from one family throughout major historical events, such as the Revolutionary War, World War I & II.

Read more about his amazing books here: http://www.jackcavanaugh.com/ 

If we look at author Jack Cavanaugh’s top 3 hero character traits, Indiana Jones fits the bill:

Top 3 hero characteristics –

 1.       The hero acts courageously in his/her world.

2.       The hero is flawed and that flaw is tested.

3.       The hero is clever and resourceful

 Courage? Check. Anyone who chooses to go inside a creepy cave and sift through decapitating booby traps or snake pits either has courage or a mental disorder.

 Weaknesses? The poor guy has two that pop to mind. Snakes and women. But somehow he always manages to jump, stumble, or catapult to victory in the end. Isn’t that what we love about heroes? The victory.

 Clever? Resourceful? Oh yeah, knowing to keep his eyes closed when the Ark of the Covenant is opened. Picking the right grail to drink from. His fashion. Definitely clever 😉

Just for fun here are some memorable quotes from the famous Indy.

Marion: You’re not the man I knew ten years ago.
Indiana: It’s not the years, honey, it’s the mileage

Indiana Jones: “Get back to Cairo, get us some transport to England. Boat, plane, anything… Meet me at Omar’s. Be ready for me; I’m going after that truck.”
John Rhys-Davies as Sallah: “How?”
Indiana Jones: “I don’t know. I’m making this up as I go.”

Julian Glover as Walter Donovan: “We’re only one step away.”
Indiana Jones: “That’s usually when the ground falls out from beneath your feet.”

Today, let’s talk about COURAGE.

 “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”  ~Ambrose Redmoon

 All heroes have courage, whether it’s an external goal – like finding a lost relic or an internal goal – like forgiving someone from his past.

 Courage can come in small or large increments. Something as seemingly insignificant as entering a magical wardrobe or as outstanding as running up the shores of WWII-torn Normandy.

 Is giving a glass of water courageous? It can be if your character knows there is not other source of drink for the next two days.

 Is buying a pair of shoes courageous? It is if it’s a child’s only money and he’s purchasing those shoes for his dying mother (as in The Christmas Shoes)

 Courage is relevant to the characters.

An act of courage will look different depending on the character. Each hero will be tried by different things. Hugh Jackman in Australia may not care a lot if he falls in a pit of snakes, but it’s something that Indiana Jones really doesn’t want to face. “Snakes, why does it always have to be snakes.”

 What does your hero have to overcome to get to the end of the book?

What is the large test of his/her courage?What are some small tests of his/her courage along the way?

 Remember, your hero may be pretty wonderful in the beginning of the book, but they also have to grow. Many times this growth is shown through overcoming trials. Showing their small acts of courage until the BIG choice at the pinnacle of the story.

 So – remember, one of the hallmark features of a hero is someone who ‘acts courageously in his or her world.”


  1. Tina Pinson

    One of my heroes Devlin from In the Manor of the Ghost has to overcome the fear if sharing his heritage part Indian/Black. Small tests take him through his past and whether he can trust anyone with his future
    if that makes sense.
    Another hero, Marcus, wonders whether he’s actually human or a clone. He has to face this fear even as he tracks down clones and tries to build his marriage with a genuine (or human.)

    • Pepper

      That sounds like a great story. Isn’t that the one that’s coming out soon?

      • Tina Pinson

        what a good memory you have. Devlin is the hero in the book In the Manor of the Ghost that comes out in June through Desert Breeze Publishers. I kind of like him. He’s given up on God because of circumstances but realizes that God is the only one that can get rid of the ghosts that haunt him.

  2. Casey

    I absolutely agree. My hero starts out trusting God and leaning on him. But when his wife and daughter are kidnapped, he walks away from his faith. Through the course of the novel, he has to grow back into that trust of God, and learn that nothing is possible on his own. Great post BTW. 🙂

    • Pepper

      Sounds like another great hero, Casey. I love writing good heroes. In one of my contemps, my hero has to show courage by confessing a sin of his past that the woman he loves despises. It’s a ‘trust’ issue & courage.

  3. Laura Frantz

    Wonderful post, Pepper! I love hero talk and it’s good to learn about what makes a hero tick. The Indy referencesa are great! I’ll be back:)

    • Pepper

      Oh Laura,
      And you’re one to know about heroes 🙂 After your last post on seekerville – whew, let’s talk about heroes, shall we?

      Indiana Jones is one of my fav heroes, not just because he looks good in his hat, but because of the humor and determination of his character. Very courageous!


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