Question: I really enjoy writing anti-hero characters. ones that are so cynical and evil you cant help but love them but I'm not sure I'm doing it right.

Answer: I don't think of most anti-heroes as evil. I think of them as having a strong moral sense.

Often, they are characters who have become jaded for one of two reasons.

a) They discovered their leaders were corrupt or incompetent. They feel betrayed by their community, so their response is to reject the community, live as outcasts, and in some cases seek revenge on the community. (A TV example: Malcolm Reynolds of Firefly. His side lost the war, and rather than accept that he backed the wrong horse and adjust to the new reality, he rejects civilization (Alliance) and lives on the fringe of the 'Verse.)

b) They were forced into situations where holding to their strict values didn't work, so they compromised and now are in the position of trying to do moral things by immoral methods. (A TV example: Detective Gordon on Gotham.)

In either case, these people are bitter over the fact that the world did not live up to their ideals -- ideals which they are unwilling to surrender.

In many cases, one could debate whether the ideals held by such heroes are really correct, and whether it would be more rational for them to let go and make peace with their communities. But what makes them admirable is their dedication to holding those ideals.

It feeds into most people's secret desire to be proven right.

Of course, there are some anti-heroes who skirt pretty close to the edge of evil. I'm thinking here of Rorschach from The Watchmen. His saving grace is that the people he wrecks violence on are mostly hardened criminals and sexual predators. Nonetheless, there's no nuance in his view, no room for redemption or mercy. He is as bloodthirsty and ruthless as the villains he fights.

So, another way of describing the anti-hero is that he has too big an ego. He believes he alone is right and the rest of the world is wrong, which is an unlikely scenario in the real world, no matter how smart a person is.

Of course, many of us have experienced being disillusioned by people or groups we trusted. So we get a certain gratification from watching an individual triumph over such a group.

Click here to post comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Character Invite.

search this site the web
search engine by freefind

Celebrating our 2nd year as one of the...

 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook

NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles

"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards

"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero