ANTIHEROES – Terrible Writing Advice



An anti hero is simply a protagonist who lacks
traditionally heroic qualities. This rather broad type of character has a
lot of subtypes from Byronic heroes to annoying YouTube personas, but we are going to focus
on a specific type of anti hero. You know the one. The cool one. Brooding, dark, alone, antiheroes are way
cooler than normal heroes because they possess a special power that the marketers desperately
seek; edginess! Being edgy is the secret to making a good
character. At least I think it is? It must be given how everyone keeps going
on about it. Regardless, anti heroes have a lot of other
perks. For one, they are really easy to write! So ready your best flat stare and prepare
to brood, or just read nearly any comic from the 90s and get ready to write an antihero! Now the first thing our antihero needs is
appropriate attire. Antiheros need darker colors to contrast them
with the heroes. Basically, have him break into the dark lord’s
closet and steal his black attire before shaving off the spikes. Don’t forget the scar that will only make
him look battle hardened rather than ugly as well as a permanent five o'clock shadow. Now that we have our anti hero looking the
part, we are basically done because most anti-heroes get like no characterization. I mean, of course they do, so long as that
characterization is brooding and laconic. Anti heroes speak a special language consisting
only of grunts and short sarcastic quips. In the rest of the scene he spends his time
with his back propped up against a wall and arms crossed. I mean don’t they ever get tired and need
to sit down? I guess being an roughish anti hero gives
them a special power to never get tired. Maybe their stoic glare recharges their energy
or something. What anti heroes lack in dialog, they make
up for in conflict. Specifically forced, contrived conflict. Do the heroes have a plan? Well our anti hero is going to tell his companions
all about how it isn’t going to work while offering no alternatives of his own. These constant attempts to undermine the leadership
of the heroes will always go unchallenged for fear of making our antihero look uncool. If fact, why the heroes tolerate such an abrasive
individual who constantly disrupts team cohesion should never be addressed. Our anti hero should never suffer any repercussions
for this antisocial behavior. Not that it would matter if they kicked him
out. Anti heroes tend to work best when they are
loners. He is his own man. In spite of his constant trash talking, other
characters should still respect the anti hero because he is beholden to no one yet still
like in every crossover team for some reason. The only people who treat our anti hero like
a pariah are those with authority because he is a loose cannon who doesn’t play by
the rules and should turn in his badge! He’s off the force which means our anti
hero will have to purse justice as a vigilante and go on a bloody, violence glamorizing killing
spree. Be sure to downplay the ‘justice’ part
of vigilante justice. He will mow down enough minions to fill an
entire army by himself faster than you can say “what’s due process?” Our antihero will not hesitate to kill or
torture people unlike those goody two shoes normal heroes who just don’t have what it
takes to get things done, even though larger systemic problems like crime are better combated
by organized teams and legal reform rather than punching people. Speaking of punching people, this is what
our antihero is really good at. In fact, the anti hero is one of the few characters
who we don’t need to give a ton of super awesome powers to. Our anti-hero is so cool he can be awesome
just by himself with superpowers being entirely optional. This will in no way be glaring when he is
surrounded by super powered companions and hyper powerful villains. He will win his fights through sheer grit
and massive authorial bias. No need to cleverly resolve the antihero’s
fights with guile and underhanded tactics that emphasize his pragmatic nature when compared
to the more idealized heroes. I mean, writing a cunning hero is like really
hard. Instead, he should hog the spotlight while
defeating his opponents with ease and brutality. However, if our antihero is the focus of the
story rather than a side character, then we need to go to the other extreme instead and
give him a slew of game breaking powers. He should slaughter all of his foes with relative
ease to the point where the only true challenge in the story is for the audience as they endure
the antihero’s increasingly terrible one liners. It helps to remember that all characters are
simply a collection of abilities and not like actual human beings with emotions. Don’t worry. I am sure the antihero’s innate coolness
will distract the audience from his complete lack of depth. Now adding depth to an anti hero is entirely
optional. I don’t really see how it could make him
any cooler, but I suppose it couldn’t hurt. Normally keeping our anti-hero’s backstory
a secret adds mystery, and not just because we are too lazy to give him a motive. However, adding subtle hints to his past can
be useful especially if we suggest a tragic youth full of emotional scars that can only
be healed in hurt comfort fics. The only motive to drive an anti hero is usually
revenge. Revenge could work as a motive for our anti-hero
because it acts a foil to the more heroic character’s ideals and creates a dark shadow
of the traditional portrayal of the impartial and objective pursuit of justice. But the real reason is so our anti hero can
drop cryptic hints about his bloody quest for vengeance that we will totally detail
and not forget to resolve by the end of the story. I mean, we really don’t have time to actually
make up a good reason our antihero is a bitter lone antisocial jerk so vengeance is a good
fallback. If we actually did resolve his vengeance plot
then how will our anti-hero brood? Brooding is a very important part of our anti-hero’s
coolness because it suggests that he is engaged in dark internal monologue allowing the audience
to imagine that he is struggling with his inner demons when he’s probably just thinking
about what he is going have for lunch. He probably isn’t thinking about the love
triangle with the main heroine either even though the anti-hero always wins the love
triangle in the end. And even if he ignores the love triangle completely
you can bet the fan-fiction writers wont. Nor will they ignore his rivalry with the
main hero. Is the antihero jealous of the main hero,
or is his interest something more? Well it doesn’t matter because slash fic
writers will ship him with the main hero regardless. Hmm… I wonder why? Could it be because the contrast between the
anti-hero and the traditional hero is the one of the reasons anti-heroes tend to resonate
with audiences? If that were the case, then perhaps a good
way to write an antihero would be showcase his vulnerability to maximize the contrast
with his strengths. Also adding a few genuinely heroic traits
could also help balance his character while still keeping his darker edge and even make
it stand out all the more. Moreover, it provides the author a prebuilt
character arc. Will our antihero become a tragic figure where
his character traits ultimately lead to his downfall or will the antihero open up to the
others over the course of the story and finally become a good person? Perhaps the antihero will overcome his deep
flaws and finally become a true hero! But he’s probably not going to have any
luck with the ladies after that though.

50 thoughts on “ANTIHEROES – Terrible Writing Advice

  1. For the record, Berserk is my favorite story and I think that Guts is an amazing protagonist and antihero. I love his design which I referenced when making the character for the antihero in the video along with drawing inspiration from Image comics and 80s action films.
    Unfortunately, success spawns imitators who often fail to imitate the deeper themes and elements that make Berserk such a great character driven story. So no, this video is not a dig at Berserk or Guts. Instead, the video proposes what such a character might be like if a less skilled author read Berserk and decided to try to write an antihero by essentially copying the surface elements and ignoring the deeper themes of the story and more subtle nuances of characterization Guts receives throughout the story.

  2. My history of writting heroes:
    1. Good guy, prince. He means no harm to anybody, he understands he has to do "bad things" hurt bad guys, but he finds no joy in that. Ends up dead, tragic ending. (Snif snif I was like 8)

    2. Sword for hire, badass, has no problem with killing, but also finds no joy in it. Cold and calculating, later we find out he is actually a good guy, kind, loving housband who cares about his family.
    3. Experienced battle-mage, but doesnt actually give a shit about anything. Later he finds out he has to interwere, or world is fucked. In the proces, he takes no sides, actually trying to make everyone cooperate and stop killing each other. Eventually finds love. (I was 16, have mercy)
    4. My "RomeoXJulliet" evil version. Main Character is a gleefull asshole. But he is good guy inside, he just doesnt try to fix everything. Despises killing, but sometimes it inevitable.
    Current stage:
    5. Ex-noble, Ruthless mercenary. Hard to tell if he is an antihero or just monster with bright moments. Has no problem with violence. He does not kill innocents DIRECTLY but has no problem with using one as a meatshield. Geralt of Rivia or Guts is like "good uncle Joe" compared to him. Has no problem with commiting crimes, murders, violence is his solution numero uno.
    His daughter has working tittle "Evil Ciri" he actually cares about her, trains her… so she becomes evil mercenary like him.
    (And yea, he bred her by fucking a whore)

  3. Vigilante? Garrus Vakarian tried to go down that route in Mass Effect 2. It didn't go well for him.

  4. Speaking of excessive super powers, my dad loves super man. Not because of his personality, and the idea of always staying positive in the face of danger. He loves Superman because he has super cool laser eyes and did you see him pick up that car?

    Yes, this does mean he isn’t a fan of Batman. I’ve tried to reform him, but every time I bring him to the movies he just falls asleep if no one has been punched in the last five minutes.

  5. Rincewind from discworld series is an anti-hero you don't usually see. He's a huge coward and he's a talentless and incompetent wizard who gets by due to having good communication skills and a general affability… basically the complete opposite of what most people think of as an anti-hero.

  6. A surprising amount of inner city crime was resolved by banning lead in gasoline.

    Batman should probably be doing that instead of beating up random thugs. It would be a better use of his millionaire dollars.

  7. In a story I'm writing one character who is the antihero in a super hero universe who unlike the "heroes" saves villains no matter how bad they are unlike the heroes who have full legal allowance to kill villains whom are to high of a risk but the antihero sees it as the villain should face justice in court even if they are a mad man who murders with no mercy resulting in the antihero having scars they cover with new pieces of his brightly colored costume to hide his scars from the public partially out of not wanting people to and also as he wants to instill hope in the people.

  8. Know I'm late but let me just say, I hate the term "Anti-Hero" I really really do. "Anti" as a term means to go against, or be opposite to. The opposite of a protagonist is an antagonist. The opposite of a hero is a villain. Anti-Hero, something that would be Anti Hero, would mean against heroic natures. What's against heroic natures? A Villainous Nature. So why do we use the term "Anti" to describe a hero that isn't heroic? Why can't we use a term that makes more sense like "A Maverick"? A Maverick is often known for being someone who's typically neutral in terms of abiding by the law, choosing to follow laws that follow their particular mindset while ignore all others that don't fit their desired criteria of rules and standards society should follow. They're not evil or villainous nor are they good and heroic. They are selfish, single minded in their desires, align with those who are of some use or have some sway over the character, forcing them to follow the demands of others which are all qualities an "Anti-Hero" has. It makes no sense to use that term and it bothers me to no end.

  9. I'm proud to say I once had the hero defeat a villain by startling him at dinner and he choked to death on a chickenbone. His anti hero partner was not happy about being one upped like that

  10. Your videos have helped me so much. My book does, however, have a love triangle…

    Please don't hurt me, Daddy!
    🙁

  11. so if the character is a protagonist who isn't good or a antagonist who isnt that bad… Does that just make him/her a "tagonist"?

  12. 0:21judging by that character that you are showing aren’t characters like Deadpool or The Mask(movie version).
    0:23 sadly I guessed right.

  13. I was scared my OC was about to be an anti hero but he’s sorta goofy so thank god!

  14. 6:21 Why do good girls like bad guys? I've had this question for a really long time

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