I love renegades. In movies, in books, in songs. The underdog who goes against impossible odds to save the world, save the day, save the girl (or guy). Heck, I even like the renegade who isn’t saving anything but the high school prom, and that’s saying something since my prom experiences were just plain embarrassing.
To borrow the words of Bonnie Tyler’s Holding Out For A Hero, he’s gotta be strong, and he’s gotta be fast, and he’s gotta be fresh from the fight.
Whenever I hear that song, I think of Sam and Dean on Supernatural. (Yeah, I know it’s a Footloose song, but I’ll get to that in a minute.) Bigger than life characters with a heart of gold, giving everything they’ve got, even though they don’t stand a chance in Hades of beating the bad guys, or in this case demons. Love ’em.
On the other end of the spectrum are the renegades like Kevin Bacon’s character Ren McCormack in Footloose. He’s just your average guy – albeit he can dance like the devil – fighting against nothing more than the town’s ban on music and dancing. He takes on the local preacher and town council, causing his peers to rebel and getting himself into some nasty fights. Still in the end, if he fails, the worst that will happen is no dance. Fighting repression and standing up for freedom of expression, however, is something many of us relate to. We like to cheer for those who speak out against intolerance.
I like to write renegades too. Discovering what makes them tick is fun, but it can be tricky to write a renegade and still make him sympathetic. He’s breaking the rules and sometimes he’s unlikable, plain and simple. How does an author make readers fall in love with a renegade? I always give my renegades a moral dilemma and try to base their going-against-the-system actions in plain, old fashioned love. Like Bonnie mentioned in her Hero song, it’s gonna take a superman to sweep any of us off our feet. Creating a bad boy isn’t enough. He has to have some pretty convincing redeeming qualities.
So tell me, is there a renegade you love, be it in books, movies or music? What makes him a hero in your opinion?