You’ve chosen a hero. Congratulations! Why this person?

It’s a fair question, because your task as author is to communicate your excitement about this figure. You want to hook your readers on your enthusiasm so they want to read your post.

But how?

There are several “ways in” to revealing your hero’s story. We recommend focusing on a specific event, project, belief, ambition, or achievement in your hero’s journey. Use that as your starting point, the root of your story, and build your post from there.

Keep in mind: We don’t need to know everything about your hero — we can find biographies elsewhere. On the History Hero BLAST, we’re dedicated to highlighting our #historyHeroes individual stories.

It all starts with research. Here are some tips…

 
 
  • We recommend consulting 3-6 sources, at least one should not be digital. That could mean a book, an oral history, an interview or speech, a book or magazine article from the past, etc.

  • Use Wikipedia as starting point only. And mostly for the source links at the bottom of the articles. While we can’t always know the validity of a Wikipedia article, if there are sources cited at the bottom, click on them. See where they lead you.

  • Verify facts. How? By finding that cool anecdote or specific date corroborated in more than one source. The more you can corroborate a fact, the better, but you’ll need to source it at least twice. If you can’t verify something, don’t use it.

  • Remember to always keep track of your sources so you can cite them and/or link to them in your post. Remember: the story you’re telling is short and specific, no more than 750 words. You want to inspire your reader to want to learn more. You can do this by inviting them to expand their knowledge with links to the video or speech that inspired you to write the post in the first place.

Finally, and most importantly:

  • Look for the root of your story. Some heroes did one simple amazing thing, like Sacheen Littlefeather, then faded from view. Others lived expansive lives and have many stories to tell, like Nelson Mandela or Gandhi. But if we include everything we know about these last two figures, we run the risk of writing a biography. And if we simply list times, dates, places, and events of a life, we’d be just another Wikipedia. Boring.

    So, while researching your hero, be on the look out for the achievement or action, belief or challenge they experienced that excites you most. What is it that slows your reading? What is it that causes you to “lean into” the material, click on a link, or type a new search term into google? What is it that tugs at your heartstrings or gets your heart beating just a little faster? What is it that pulls you in?

    That’s your story root.

 
 

As an example, let’s look at our post on Billie Jean King.

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Billie Jean is a world-class tennis player. She’s won so many world titles, she’s probably lost count.

She’s a woman. She’s a feminist.

Her tennis career took off at a time in history when the rules of the game favored men over women. In fact, her career was thwarted by them. And she didn’t like it.

True facts. Do they make an interesting story?

Not by themselves. But when you discover, through researching Billie Jean King, that she agreed to meet the then-reigning men’s tennis champion on the courts — and beat him! — thereby advancing the fight for women’s rights with her racquet…

Well, now you have a story! So, Billie Jean’s post begins with that central idea as its root:

How would you choose to smash the patriarchy if given the chance? Billie Jean King used her tennis racquet.

Ready to start writing? Click here for tips…