Writing Heroes 3 – Symbolic Heroes

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We’re continuing our look at heroes in storytelling with author Benjamin T Collier. Symbolic Heroes are a difficult bunch to portray, as Benjamin explains in part 3 of Writing Heroes from his book, ‘The Storyteller’s Handbook.’

Symbolic Heroes by Benjamin T Collier

“Symbolic Heroes can be among the most difficult types of heroes to write, at least in a way that makes them likeable, and I personally avoid them like the plague. The reason is because these characters are intended to represent or symbolize a particular thing by their actions, powers, strength of character and so on. When a character represents something they therefore don’t have permission to do anything that goes against whatever it is they represent. The common results are characters who have no personality. They have no flaws. They make no mistakes. They have no bad days. In other words – they’re unrelatable.

The biggest examples of these kinds of heroes are types like Superman, Captain America and Wonder Woman. In recent films, Captain America has been given a lot more room to be himself (himself being Steve Rogers) but back in the day he wasn’t allowed to make mistakes. Superman has had this issue throughout his whole career.”…read more on Benjamin’s blog.

You can find Benjamin’s book, ‘The Storyteller’s Handbook’ on Amazon.

Cover of The Storyteller's Handbook by Benjamin T Collier
The Storyteller’s Handbook by Benjamin T. Collier

I hope Benjamin’s blog has helped you decide if a Symbolic hero is right for your story.

Happy writing, everyone!

~ Lynne