Writing The Big Damn Hero: 3 Heroic Tropes That Never Age

Saturday 3 August 2019

You might not be familiar with the term - but you definitely know what I'm referring to!

That moment when all hope is lost and then...BOOM! In walks our BIG DAMN HERO (or HEROINE) and saves the day in their usual badass style! Well in today's post, I'm talking about 3 particular BDH tropes, and with the examples of these tropes - I hope you can leave this post feeling inspired about writing some of your own BDH moments and characters.

P.s - I've also included the scripts for the following examples, so don't forget to check those out too. 

A Father To His Men

Example: Picard from Star Trek

A mentor. A leader. A legend to his team/men/group/followers/community. 

He is an equal, fair and honest trope - no man under his watch is ever 'left behind'. 

This trope provides a stable voice and environment, he is highly disciplined and has a strong moral compass.

Any losses this trope endures is felt deeply - usually resulting in a crisis of conscience where the trope will seriously consider their leadership skills.

If another character fails in the story, then this trope will be the one to deliver an Aesop.

This trope successfully motivates other characters to do and be better - their presence is even felt off screen and greatly impacts the overall narrative arc. 

Read STAR TREK: GENERATIONS Screenplay here!

Anti Hero/Broken Bird

Example: Sarah Connor from The Terminator Franchise

This character trope is usually the result of some cataclysmic event or having suffered a dark trauma in their past. 

Their cynicism and stoic personality can lead other characters to be under the false impression that the Broken Bird doesn't live up to their own hype.

How wrong they are!

The Broken Bird often becomes a mentor (usually unwilling) because of their vast experience, and by filling the mentor role - their softer side is discovered. 

Having been a hero once, the Broken Bird is able to rediscover her faith in herself along the narrative arc. 

Once she recovers, she is the ultimate force to be reckoned with.

Read THE TERMINATOR Screenplay here!

Ambiguous Disorder/Knight In Sour Armour

Example: Luke Skywalker from Star Wars

This trope started out with the best of intentions, but the world delivered them some cruel and brutal blows. 

However, instead of giving up - they (begrudgingly) decide to fight because it's the right thing to do!

Although they've experienced loss/guilt and disappointment - they still hold onto something from their former ideals/heroic life and believe in these strongly.

This trope does not take rule breaking lightly, and only bends the rules when absolutely necessary. 

Their attitude can be grumpy/stand-offish/ a general jerk but underneath there is a heart of gold that would do whatever it takes for the greater good. 

Read STAR WARS:  THE FORCE AWAKENS Screenplay here!

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