. . . or Reluctant Heroes and Kick-Ass Heroines.
That last phrase might be a bit overused. What do you think?
I can't abide a whiny woman though--in real life or in a novel. So there you have it. I'm normally quite tolerant.
Truthfully I've read quite a few articles about "world building" but not so many about "character building." I'm of the opinion that you can create any story line, set it in any location, and throw any circumstances you want at your people--but you need to have good people. You need to start, continue and end with characters that matter. They need to matter to your reader from page one, and when your reader reaches the end, they need to close the book (or turn off the e-reader) with satisfaction but a bit of despair because they don't want to leave your people.
I like a reluctant hero. I like a guy that isn't walking around SEEKING the spotlight. I live near the Ft. Hood Military Base, largest military installation in the world, and we have a lot of what I'd call reluctant heroes. Guys who want to do their job. If they ever end up in the paper or on the news, they're a bit shy about it. You can tell they want the cameraman to hurry up already and move on. These type of men were my inspiration for Dean Dreiser, the lead character in The Cost of Love. He's a lone wolf. I so dig Dean, because he's based on real men that I respect.
Lucinda, my heroine for this book, is a different story. Lucy I have met and know personally. She's Hispanic, beautiful and very bright. Soft-spoken and on the petite side. A man's first response is to protect her. Probably not necessary. Lucy can take care of herself--and then some.
These two characters are what sold my story, The Cost of Love. Yeah--biological weapons, White Sands Missile Base, Roswell, UFOs, etc. helped. But it was the PEOPLE that sold the book. It's always the people.
Have fun building your characters. There's no other job quite like it.