Day 15 – Why We Love the Antihero

31 Days to Plan Your Novel

An antihero is a character who lacks one or more of the ‘heroic’ qualities – like altruism, nobility, or courage. If a hero is a larger-than-life, and a better person that the reader, the antihero is typically created to be less than their audience in some way – in social conscience, for example.

An antihero may have the appearance of a villain, but it’s more complicated than that. Usually their villainous behaviour comes from pure motivations – think Severus Snape or Dexter.

And we all love a good antihero, perhaps because their characters are more complex. Yesterday I wrote a bit about adding layers of complexity to your villain to make him more believable. Using an antihero as a protagonist builds that complexity right in with the character, and the audience gets to see the internal struggle of a character desperately trying to be good, but falling just short because people just don’t understand why he’s doing all these awful things.

There is a universal appeal to the ‘bad boy with a heart of gold,’ and they are characters with endurance – think Heathcliff, Mr Rochester or the Count of Monte Cristo. They spice up storylines, and leave people craving more long after the book has closed.

31 Days to Plan Your Novel
Every October, hundreds of bloggers gather at The Nesting Place to write for 31 days straight on a variety of different topics, teaching and encouraging and offering tips and tricks to make life easier.


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