Creating a hero takes work. Literary agent and author of eBook The Fire in Fiction Donald Maass says that protagonists need to be believable. In a panel at Thrillerfest today, he said that heros should have relatable characteristics such as insecurity about their looks or have an inability to parallel park. This helps make them realistic to readers.
Maass said that antiheros can be very attractive. Think vampires and tattooed bartenders.
The hero also has to be active. Maass complained that too many manuscripts did not have enough action. For Maass, the way to create action is through problems. He said to create the main problem of the story. Then add a new problem that makes things worse. Then make it even worse.
“Hate your protagonist,” he said. “Get in touch with your inner sadist.”