Today, I'm going to cover the next issue Dean Koontz's high school teacher taught him: "You need a hero or a heroine or both."
Can you imagine a story without a hero or heroine? What would that be? Boring! Jack London's novels "Call of the Wild," and "White Fang" had heros -- the dogs.
I suppose if you are writing in first person, the first person narrator would automatically be the hero/heroine. Or would it? I can imagine a first person narrator relating the story of someone else, probably from his memory of the circumstances that spawned the story. In that situation, the story is really being told in third person. Either way, you still need a hero or heroine. How do you decide who that is going to be?
In Bridgetown High, Mark is the first person we meet and the story pretty much follows his struggles through to the end. But there are other characters that we learn about as we read the novel. The main heroine in this book would have to be Genie. We watch her struggles too and care about what happens to her.
But Gary, Charisse, and even Jeff (the antagonist) have their stories that make us care for them as well. So, are they also heros or heroines? I purposely wrote a sub-plot for each of them that ties together with Mark's story in the end. So, while not being main characters, they still have their own stories and are heros or heroines in their own minds.
Does that make any sense? So, how can someone as despicable as Jeff be a hero? I went deep into his mind and found he has some deep-seated psycological issues brought on by his upbringing including an abusive father and hard working mother who never had time for him. Would you call him a hero? In his story, his actions are heroic in his mind.
For each of my main characters I've done the same, making them likable, or at least sympathetic. I think that is what made Bridgetown High the great story it is.