Writing Humanity in Heroes
I write anti-heroes.
Think The Punisher and Batman, not Patrick Bateman or Jon Goldberg. Anti-heroes are often the unexpected 'chosen one' of the story because they don't embrace the characteristics of the traditional hero.
I go into more detail about anti-heroes in another post. What I find important and wanted to reflect on here is that anti-heroes, or any protagonist really, need to have some form of humanity to them.
When I'm writing a character, no matter how dark their inner dialogue, they have to carry a sense of human decency otherwise they are just the same as the villains.
Whether that means giving them their own moral code, the care of a loved one, or something else it's important to draw that part of their character out so the reader can relate to them. When writing A Time of Dragons fantasy adventure my lead character starts off only caring about herself.
As the story goes on, I peel back the layers of her character by putting her in certain situations and seeing how she reacts. That's where her humanity comes in - reacting to a difficult choice. It's the catalyst to the entire series but one I continue to explore throughout each book.
Her relationships draw out the inner humanity she has been hiding for so many years. It's finding the heartbeat of the character and helps move the story forwards. Each actions begets a reaction which usually conflicts with the villains main goal. This is how the best stories unfold!