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11:04 am: Rant on anti-heroes


Date:August 5th, 2010 07:11 am (UTC)

Anti-Heroes Rant Response

I actually think it's a mistake to go into a book having already categorized one's characters as "heroes" or "anti-heroes" or even "villains." I think it works better to design a group of people and let them take whatever route feels natural given the setting and events. This might result in people originally perceived as protagonists doing unforgivable things, as well as the converse, but I think it feels more believable. Otherwise, the focus becomes keeping someone a hero or an anti-hero or something of that nature. I think that's how you end up with shoehorned rape scenes and salvation for kittens stuck in trees. Eventually, the plot is forced to bolster characterizations instead of characterization falling naturally from the plot.

My current story has a central character (I wouldn't say "main" character, since to me that means something slightly different) who I think most people would call an "anti-hero." I'd object to that terminology, however, since I believe his level of heroism or villainy depends on whether or not you value the attributes he expresses, as well as whether you are evaluating him as a leader or as a personal friend. He's avaricious, narcissistic, condescending, savage, imperious, and ambitious. However, he's also evenhanded, humorous, clever, protective of his people, and respectful of the law. In keeping with his role, he has enemies, rivals, allies, conditional allies, friends, servants, and confidants who all view him differently, not only in terms of "good" and "evil" but also in terms of whether he's reliable, pitiable, or any number of other adjectives. (If nothing else, no one really trusts him.)

In retrospect, this seems in keeping with other things you've said, and this was a requested rant on the topic.... I'm probably just muttering to myself at this point!
Date:November 4th, 2011 08:02 am (UTC)

Re: Anti-Heroes Rant Response

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