- The unlikely hero/heroine must be humble. Arrogant sods do not make good hero material.
- The unlikely hero/heroine is likely to be the youngest of three or an ill-treated step-child.
- The unlikely hero/heroine must have no obvious skills (or they'd use them to get out of their predicament).
- It is quite likely our person of the moment here has a history they themselves are not aware of (see Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars films for a classic example of this).
- They always have what seems to them at least one unattainable dream.
- They are always kind to animals. (This pays dividends in the magical world as it always goes down well with fairy godmothers and the like. Sometimes the animal they're kind to is a magical being in disguise).
- Our hero/heroine is usually carrying out some dreary task when we first meet them so you know at once their story will not end there. Things are going to get better from this moment. The intriguing thing is in finding out how.
- Our hero/heroine has at least one person who is phenomenally jealous of them (and is usually guilty of the ill-treatment) because that person knows they're nowhere near as nice. Instead of doing the obvious thing of becoming a better person, they take their inadequacies out on our hero/heroine.
- Our hero/heroine isn't greedy or self seeking.
- Our hero/heroine can be from a privileged background who has fallen on hard times. See Cinderella, Snow White etc for examples of this.
The worlds of fantasy and science fiction are full of unlikely heroes and heroines. Fairytales in general would simply not be what they are without them. Classic signs to look out for include:-
I'm Allison Symes and I write novels, short stories as well as some scripts and poems. I love setting my work in my magical world, the Fairy Kingdom, and my favourite character is Eileen, who believes hypocrisy is something that happens to other people without caring that statement is hypocritical in itself! Eileen is huge fun to write for and about.