Hello, Beautiful (or Handsome)!
I’ve seen blog posts on lies heroes can believe, but always wondered why. Why should they believe a lie? Maybe you were wondering the same thing. Or maybe you’ve already got the answer. Either way, this post discusses why they need to believe a lie. 🙂
Because they need to change. They need to grow throughout the story (character development, remember?). They are developing as a character. In life, there’s always the law of cause and effect. One thing happens and another occurs as a result.
I was doing research to find a good answer to this and found Helping Writers Become Authors. K.M. Weiland has a ton of great stuff on her blog. In her post on Character’s Ghosts, she discussed why characters needed to believe lies. And I’m sitting here going, “ah, perfect!” And angels are singing in the background. If you want to see what she has to say (and I guarantee it’s more intelligent than anything that will come out of my mouth, or fingers in this case), head on over there. 😉
And keep in mind that your whole novel is focused on that character’s journey. They have to grow. Otherwise, there’s not going to be much, if any, reason for your reader to enjoy the story. We have to relate to the hero and know there’s hope for us. If they can overcome their struggle, I might be able to overcome mine.
Also, because the lie is something created from the MC’s past, it can add suspense and mystery to your story. Characters are like people. You don’t know all about them on the first page. You get to know the gradually. Everyone’s got some secret that would break your heart and that’s the one we discover bit by bit throughout the story. The lie can keep it going.
Examples (I saw Spider-Man 2 last night, so SPOILERS!):
1) Harry Osborn from Spider-Man 2: He felt that his father didn’t love him. As a result, he felt thrown away which made him sensitive to others. He believed Spider-Man could save him, and, when Spidey didn’t, he felt betrayed.
2) Norman Osborn from Spider-Man 2: He thought he was doing what was right for Harry by sending him away and sacrificing the boy’s childhood. This screwed up Harry’s mind to turn him into the Green Goblin.
3) Bruce Wayne from Batman: Bruce thought that killing his parents’ murderer would make him feel better. He believed that justice and revenge sometimes the same. This fueled his anger, which he later channeled into creating the Batman which would fight crime.
4) Rapunzel from Tangled: She believed that Gothel was her mother and really did only want what was best for her. When she ran away with Flynn, however, she realized that the world wasn’t as bad as Gothel had scared her into believing and had really been robbed of her childhood.
5) Many people from planet earth: A lot of us, whenever we’re in a rut, tend to think, “this is it. It’s never going to get better.” And then it does get better with time. Everything always works out. So, we get in a rut and think we’re depressed. We start believing we messed up, we’re not good enough, we did something horrible to deserve this awful time, but the thing is: we didn’t. Life really stinks sometimes and that’s not your fault. We’re a fallen race. The only place to go is up. Hopefully that’s the lesson we learn and we can take our experiences to give others hope.
So hopefully you can see the cause -> effect in each of those and all the lies one can believe and how it affects the story. 🙂
Hope this helps. ❤