The Anti-Hero We are living in a time where escaping the confines of our home is what we want to do more than anything. Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, etc. can only provide so much entertainment. The plots become predictable, the characters lose their shine…yada, yada. You know the drill. My favorite stories, both on the screen and between the pages, are the ones following the “most loved” character wrestle their moral high ground, and ultimately fail. These characters feel real. I feel like I know them, have met them in my day-to-day life. Truth is: I probably have and so have you. Instead of listing off characters you can base your own character off of, how about we talk about making your character unique to you?
BACKSTORY IS VITAL Backstory to characters who strive for the ultimate good makes sense. But what about the characters who are angry? Or who are evil? Do not forget one of the more important things in writing: evil can be created. Explore that. Whatever was done to this character can introduce so many more things about them, such as personality traits, nervous ticks, complex behaviors, and beliefs. Your reader doesn’t need to know this information right away, too. Write it out on a new document on your computer and in your notebook before you begin your tale. Uncovering the backstory as the story progresses is the best part about the antihero.
ANGRY OR NOT; THE OUTCOME OF THEIR ACTIONS ARE… Good! For them, at least. It’s a satisfaction for them to do the things they do, because they feel it’s right. They may hurt some people along the way, mentally or physically, but they have a goal in mind. This character could be ruthless. This is what sets them apart from your regular hero. It’s also what sets them apart from being a total villain. They don’t want good for everyone, they want good for them. Which, once their background seeps into the story, sympathy will be created for them by the reader (if they have heart, that is.)
REDEEMING QUALITIES BUILD SYMPATHY Okay, so what if the character in question likes to kill people. Simply because they like to do that doesn’t mean they don’t have a soft spot for Grandma or Grandpa who raised them through their chaotic upbringing. They’ll always make it home for dinner every night, so they don’t upset them. See that? That’s a redeeming quality. Piling up the negative can be emotionally exhausting. Not everyone is as terrible as that. I can think of a few, but we won’t go there. Overall, if the character has a laundry list of negative qualities and zero good ones and they still win in the end, that’s going to be one upsetting story and you’re going to have a laundry list of unhappy readers. Give them traits to make them likable. You’ll have your readers’ hearts in your hands.
YOUR ANTIHERO IS HUMAN (OR CLOSE TO IT) Point is, we are flawed. You and me. Your antihero should be too. Lean towards realism. They have their own moral code, their own inner conflict, and they will always face difficult decisions to meet their end goal. Don’t we all? That’s what makes us each unique in our own personal journey so why not give that to your antihero as well. We aren’t all terrible…right?
So, get to it! We’re done here. Nothing more, nothing less. Antiheroes are far more fun than regular heroes. It’s nice to see a good two-shoes every once in awhile, but I like characters who commit heinous acts (to a certain degree!) and have purpose to their wrongdoings. Who are some of your favorite antiheroes in the literary world? My all-time favorite will always be Dexter Morgan. Not because of Michael C. Hall’s adaptation (although, major plus, albeit), but because of Jeff Lindsay’s creation of him. A serial killer with conscience? Absolutely brilliant.
A tip from one of the great horror, science fiction writers of our time! If you are in the process, or think you want to write a novel of this kind, take this into consideration. Let the reader feel for the monsters then show them who they really are! It is a great way to keep them engaged.
Our biggest advice to writers is simply to write. As elementary as that sounds it is the best way to warm up your brain. Just as athletes need to get warmed up before a game or even practise we encourage writers to write freely before thinking about their next chapter or book they want to start.
You need to fill the page with as many ideas and thoughts as possible in order to find the best ones!
Transcribe your thoughts to words faster by prepping your brain to prepare for writing. The purpose is not to create publishable material, but to get yourself ready for it!
The best way to start is to have no judgement or expectation of the outcome. You are writing to write more, which in turn will lead to writing better!
Write more —-> write better —-> write more
It is a beautiful circle of writing!
Now, in terms of the warm ups there are millions of prepared prompts and questions that you can search with a click of a button. Some other things you can do are write letters, write comments back to your viewers, or write about your life!
What do you do to warm up your writer’s brain? Share your favorites in the comments!
Who wouldn’t love a fun arts and crafts project that will also help you achieve your goals? Increase your motivation, confidence, and performance with the help of an awesome vision board! Celebrities such as Reese Witherspoon and Oprah will surely back this up.
First and foremost, do some self reflection and see what matters to you most and then go from there. Then, think about if you want it to be digital or print. Print is pretty straight forward, grab some scrap cardboard or construction paper and browse the internet or magazines for pictures or any sort of clippings you like! For digital, my favorite tool is canva. A website that can do everything and more when it comes to digital art. To start, choose the dimensions you want and they have a ton of free photos for you to add along with text of your choice, or you can search for photos and paste them right on!
The best part…it’s completely customizable! If you want inspiration for your new novel pop on some pictures or quotes about what you’re envisioning for your story. Your story will come to life before your eyes and should make the writing process a bit easier- at least to start!
Here is a board I created on canva using pinterest photos! I set it as my screensaver just to make me smile. This is more of a life mood board which you can create as well!
Here are some more vision boards for inspiration…
Put it somewhere you will see it everyday as a helpful reminder!
Take 60 seconds out of your day to reflect positivity.
Start a gratitude journal.
It can be in a journal you already write in, or one dedicated to your gratitude list, but make it your own. Find one that compels you to want to write in it everyday. And put it in a place where you will see it, as a friendly reminder to pick it up.
Keep it simple.
You don’t have to explore the deep depth of your mind just yet. Keep it simple with gratitude such as “I ate today”, “I have a place to sleep” or “I am in love.” With time your list will grow and bring positivity to your life.
Soon your routine will be created. This is your journal, so make sure you are using it to your best ability. Enjoy your favorite cup of coffee or tea in the morning with a furry friend or a cozy blanket and reflect on the positivity in your life. Watch your mind change and grow as your routine sinks in.
This is a perfect time to step away from technology for a little bit and just grab a pencil. Put your thoughts on paper the old fashioned way and really feel what you are writing down.
The world is changing at our feet. But that doesn’t mean we can’t incorporate some fun into our daily lives!
This gives ‘your nose is always stuck in a book’ a new meaning! If you have to wear a mask, at least make it something worth putting on. These also make for a great back to school accessory for kids or if you work in education.
Stephen King said it best…when writing don’t forget to think about the reader. They are the ones you want to read the book after all. You must create the idea, but as it grows the reader has taken over and made it their own. Leave room for their imagination to grow.
How do you interpret this quote? Share with us below!