Next to the Hero, the most important character in the heroic journey, the foundational form of all storytelling, is the evil one. The Nemesis. The bad guy. The villain. The character who keeps the Hero from getting what the Hero needs.
It’s one of the strongest rules of writing: Your story is only as good as your Nemesis is bad.
Do you know the definition of “formula writing?” No? Neither did I. I’d heard of the term and held a vaguely uneasy prejudice against it. Still, it surprised me when an Essay I student’s mother accused me of teaching it.
Another fairly common trait in Hero’s Journey stories is the inner journey of the Hero, analogous to the outer journey he undertakes.
The Hero starts out with an outer “want” and an inner “need.” He might not be conscious, even, of the inner need, but it’s clear to the reader.
We’ve discussed the Hero’s goals and how you can get the reader to identify and sympathize with the Hero. So who, exactly, is the Hero?
He’s an extreme, larger than life, slightly neurotic, driven type. He stands out in a crowd. He should be just a little bit better than the average guy – stronger, wittier, more beautiful, but not excessively so.