The world's most classic stories of romance and true love stem from the lovely princess falling for Prince Charming. Today, much of our literature has strayed from the traditional fairy princess/prince charming scenario. Our heroine's are warriors, business women, hand maidens,and average girls with extrodanary abilities. All of these characteristics fall into the character arc of 'fairy princess. Just as their flaws are equally royal. Some are spoiled, selfish,and focused on their appearance instead of their true value.
No matter what your heroine looks like, where she lives,or what she does, at her core she is a princess.
Are heroes are much the same. While the women have characteristics going from: warrioress to princess to queen. Our heroes go from: knight in shining armor to prince charming to king.
Let's take a look at each of these character arcs, its characteristics and its flaws.
-Knight In Shining Armor-
The knight is our most common character. He is rough, physically powerful, fearless, and willing to sacrifice his own life and well being to 'save 'the girl' and slay the dragon.
Emotionally, this character is distant, focused on the battle and unaware of the deeper wants, needs or desires of the other characters beyond swooping in to rescue them. He takes orders from superiors but often grudgingly and sees his actions in accomplishing the goals as being flexible according to what he perceives as truth.
Prince Charming is handsome, like the knight, he has battled and saved his kingdom before and doesn't hesitate to volunteer when a defense is needed. Unlike the knight who swoops in to save and then returns to distant and unattainable, Prince Charming does not go into battle up on the orders of others. He is contemplative, uses more strategy and allows his men to defend and save him. He is still a little spoiled, distant from the needs of the other characters and prone to selfishness, but he has to worry about more than just his own life at this point.
The king is wise, patient and has great perspective. He sees the well fare of his family, his warriors and his kingdom in one great realm. He is reluctant to rush into conflict, but is willing to fight for the good of everyone. He is stubborn, subversive, if necessary, and keeps his cards close to the chest. He doesn't answer all questions, respond to demands, or solve problems as much as he imparts wisdom. He can be vague, frustrating to the other characters, and aloof, but by the end of the story all his cryptic advice helps the development of the other characters and leaves him loved and respected.
In a trilogy or series, developing your hero's arc from knight through King can provide a road map for his growth from the beginning of his journey to the end of the series.
Look at your favorite books and see if you can find the character arc of your hero's and heroines. Keep in mind there are also helpers, antagonists, jesters, and High priests or priestesses. Your Main characters will have basic characteristics of the three we've looked at.
Your King doesn't need to wear a crown. Your Prince doesn't necessarily live in a castle. Your knight doesn't even have to polish his armor. A reluctant bad-boy motorcyclist can be both a prince and a knight. Your pirate can take on any of the afore mentioned characteristics. Don't confuse character and characteristics with the hero or heroine.
Just remember, readers want to see the story go from a kingdom of trouble, discontent, or boredom to a happily ever after with the royal family in control, protective and in charge. More importantly they want to feel like they're the rulers of their own world, or at the least in-love with Prince Charming.-
His loyalties have expanded and his sense of responsability weighs on him.