Heroes Aren’t All That Super

A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a young boy’s shoulders to let him know that the world hadn’t ended.

Yep, I was watching Batman again. Surprise! I finished The Dark Knight Rises last night about 10:30 ish. I hadn’t been paying attention the first time when I watched it several months ago, so didn’t think it was all that great. But then I watched it again and wanted to push replay.

But I want to focus on the quote above. “A hero can be anyone.” Why does the world think we need some man or woman in a mask and cape to save us? We don’t. We need the broken to stand up and be beautiful so others know that they can rise to that level no matter how many pieces have been chiseled away.

I think people are like blocks of stone. We crack. We break. Pieces fall off. But I think God allows those things to happen so that we can be His beautiful sculpture in the end. Regardless of your religious beliefs, you would probably agree with me that hard things make people better.

We step out of our comfort zones to grow.

Recently (I think the last year or so), I’ve decided to start complimenting random strangers. You wouldn’t believe how amazing it makes me feel and sometimes they’ll let you know how much of an impact those kind words had on them.

> Hey, that shirt looks great on you!

> Oh, my gosh, that color really goes well with your skin tone.

> Not to be a total creeper, but you are flipping gorgeous.

> Hey, um, I just wanted to let you know that I think you are so pretty — not to be a weirdo or anything.

> You have such a lovely personality! I feel like you’d be a fun person to have as a friend.

> You have such a nice face. I just had to let you know.

> Your eyes are so pretty!

Most of the time, people just smile, laugh, and say thanks or maybe they don’t care. But sometimes, they’ll just kind of laugh quietly and stare at you, touched. Then they’ll say, “I needed that so much right now. Thank you.” Or, “Aw, that made my day!”

And that’s one of the most rewarding experiences ever. It makes me so happy inside.

It makes me wonder if I was their personal Batman, you know? Maybe I was their hero for that day, that moment. Maybe later in their lives, they’ll look back and be happy again because of those kind words. Maybe I gave them hope. Not all the teenagers these days are thugs. 😛

It doesn’t take much to take two steps to the side or go running down an aisle, chase down some random customer, and tell them you think they’re gorgeous. Just a few seconds of courage and adrenaline (although the latter is optional). And who cares what they think of you? You did your part.

Batman wasn’t always loved for the good things he did. People believed lies about him and that’s okay. He did the right thing. He did what he had to do. Whether the citizens cared or not, loved him or not, believed him or not, he was their hero. Also, keep in mind that Batman wasn’t perfect. He made mistakes. But he learned from them and grew. It’s the same with all superheroes. Except Superman. Superman’s perfect. *cringe*

Go out and be someone’s hero today. Help someone across the street, do the dishes for your mom (or give Alfred the day off 😉 ), compliment a stranger.

Go ahead. Be a hero. Ditch the mask and cape. We’ve already got enough of them. Being a hero is doing the small, good things in life. You don’t need to change the whole world to be one.

God bless!

Rana

Character Development (Part 1) and What Can We Learn From Batman?

As promised a few posts ago, I’d write something up on character development. This is the first in a seven-part series on developing your characters. 🙂

Today, we’ll just focus on a character’s journey and progression as the hero, but if you want to check out a post on ideals, vices, virtues, etc., click here.

What is character development & why is it important?Character Development (Part 1) and What Can We Learn from Batman?

It’s essentially the way your hero matures and grows throughout the novel. It’s essential to the story. Every good book begins with one person and ends with another.

Every single one of us grows a little with every mistake, experience, and action. Fiction reflects that. So it’s essential to have your hero grow throughout the novel. We need to see a bit of ourselves in every character in order to fall in love with them. We need to see that we can grow to be better and we do through characters that develop. 🙂

And anyone who knows me knows that I love Batman. There’s a reason behind that too. Below, we’ll examine how Batman/Bruce Wayne started out and see how and why he changed into what he is known for: being awesome. Oh, and fighting crime effectively, being a hero, etc. 😉

Disclaimer: I do not own the copyright and intend no infringement upon thatblahblahblah.

WARNING: THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN BATMAN BEGINS (at least!), GO WATCH IT, THEN COME BACK. Or not. Whichever. 

Bruce Wayne started out as a rich little boy. He had a friend, a wonderful family, and a British butler. He had a fear of bats, due to an incident you’d know about if you watched the film, and never would have needed to worry about his future until both his parents got shot by a desperate man outside the opera house.

That day, he learned that there were bad people in the world. He wanted to fight them. He wanted justice — or so he thought.

During a conversation with his friend Rachel, he realized that the grudge he’d carried against that man who murdered his parents had been allowed to grow into a thirst for revenge, not justice.

Several different factors led to Bruce becoming Batman. The whole film, Batman Begins, is about that transformation. So, what can we learn from Batman and what changed him?

1) He’s not perfect. We see this when he messes up, picks fights. We see this when the camera drops to a gun in his hand at the trial of the man who murdered his parents. But he doesn’t let his imperfections define him. He overcomes them.

2) His friend and trainer ended up being involved in an organization that required murder as a sort of initiation action. Bruce refused to do that and lost his “friend(s).” He lost a lot all over again and went back home. But he took the lessons he learned and applied them to the life he wanted to live.

3) He made mistakes as he learned how to be Batman. He figured out what worked and didn’t work.

4) Don’t forget the fact that he was orphaned. 😛 We got see how his life was before, to how it changed for the worse, then for the better. We sympathized with Bruce. No one wants to see a child witness the murder of their parents left to stand crying for help in an ally at night. We were filled with righteous anger at his plight. From the start, we had something to care about.

All of this led to creating a man who went from being a broken, scared, and vengeful man to a hero (though misunderstood sometimes) who sought justice and goodness selflessly.

THIS is the journey your hero should take. They need to go from some lower state of being to a higher state by the end of the book. They need to learn lessons, fail, and learn some more. Teach the reader through the hero.

I think the fact that we can identify with Batman is one reason why so many love him. Superman stinks. He’s perfect. He doesn’t really make  mistakes. He saves the world. What do we have to root for? Not much. Unless the villain is worse than the hero, in movies like that, I’m voting for the bad guy! We can’t really relate to Superman. He’s entertaining. That’s it.

There should be flaws. There should be failures. There should be lessons learned.

I think that’s it. I’m sitting here, knowing I left out a lot, but unable to think of it all.

The following posts will include:

Quirks

Why your hero needs to believe a lie

Readers should get to know your hero gradually

Personality types and why you should identify your characters’

Uniqueness

Why your character should have secrets.

God bless!

Rana