5 Heroic Traits

February 5, 2010 at 5:29 am (Character, Thoughts on Writing) (, , , , , )

Okay, heroes come in all shapes and sizes but when we just think the word hero there are certain things we do think of instantly. This is my list of 5 heroic traits (though just because I associate them with heroes does not mean my heroic characters exhibit them):

  1. Totally selfless – this is kind of a nasty one because we all want someone to selflessly help us but people who don’t have a sense of self are kind of boring. It is the selfish nature and little hang-ups a person has that makes them interesting and yet that isn’t what we want from a hero. That must be contrary human nature.
  2. Brave – Should go without saying. You can’t be a hero if you are hiding under the table but brave does not mean fearless. People without fear are unimaginative.
  3. Strong – No point being brave if you can’t do anything. Strong is definitely something we all want our real life heroes to have.
  4. Smart – Maybe not on everybody’s list of heroic traits but it is definitely on mine. I would like to believe that heroes can think their way out of¬† trouble as easily as into it.
  5. Flawed – Forgetting everything in 1 – 4 a hero has to be flawed in some way. Otherwise they are untouchable and a little unbelievable. There have to be flaws.

What is on your list of heroic traits and how much fun is it to create heroes with few to none of them?



  1. Elizabeth Spann Craig said,

    The flaw is my favorite part!

    Great list…I’m tweeting.


  2. Paul Greci said,

    I like your list. I might add conflicted to it but maybe you’ve covered that under flawed.

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      Conflicted is definitely a trait an interesting hero should have. Thanks for the comment.

  3. AlexJ said,

    You nailed it with brave – it means doing the right thing despite one’s fear.
    I guess inventive, creative, and crafty would all fall under smart.

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      True, but they are great traits and could have stand alone. Thanks for the comment.

  4. Carol Kilgore said,

    Smart and flawed, followed closely by brave. Those are my top three. I hope I cover those. Sometimes I’m not sure.

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      I think bravery is a trait a lot of my heroic characters lack. I might want to work on that.

  5. Jemi Fraser said,

    Good list! Honest and loyal would probably make my list too.

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      Loyalty should definitely have been on the list. Thanks for the add.

  6. lawrenceez said,

    Flawed….that’s my first choice.

  7. Dennis Martin said,

    I would add generosity to the list. maybe not in the top five but on the list just the same.

  8. bwlight said,

    Great list. “Flawed” is my #1 and if “quirky” is considered a flaw, then that’s the one I like the best!


  9. Karen said,

    This is a nice layout of what constitutes a hero. Am reminded of folklore heroes (and heroines). Every one of them has the above mentioned traits; especially the flaw that he/she ultimately overcomes or conquers…
    The beauty is that these heroes are people; often common folk qualify for hero status. I sure hope others use this list as a prompt when writing!

  10. uberVU - social comments said,

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by darkened_jade: 5 heroic traits for characters: https://cassandrajade.wordpress.com/2010/02/05/5-heroic-traits/

  11. Pierette said,

    Thanks for writing about heroes. Lord knows we need to identify, acknowledge and revere them!

  12. Ann Elise said,

    My protagonist has all of these, in some form or another. He’s selfless, within reason. He still looks after himself when he absolutely has to, but he hates seeing others suffer.

    He’s definitely brave, though he does have his moments of fear. He’s not physically strong when compared to two other major characters, but he can run like hell and hold his own in a fight. Outside of a fight, he tends to avoid thinking about anything that would crack his armor.

    He’s incredibly intelligent, but still fallible like everyone else. I’m worried he mightn’t be flawed enough, though, even though he can’t stand gore, refuses to talk about certain things that have happened in his past, his magic doesn’t work quite the way it should, and he has some serious self-confidence issues. Actually, that looks like a lot when put on paper. Maybe he’s okay. I hope he’s okay. Please, PLEASE be okay!

    *ends melodrama, snaps back to a grin*

    Thanks for the tweet, however long ago it was. I was googling my blog to see where it came in, and there it was!

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