7 Tips to Creating the Perfect Antihero

batman

Today’s guest post is by Stephanie Norman:

An antihero is the central protagonist in a literary piece, movie, or comic book who lacks the conventional attributes of a hero. Unlike a traditional hero, he is characterized with aggressiveness, clumsiness, dishonesty, or other terrible habits that make him more flawed and distasteful. Nevertheless, he is still the hero of the story because his magnificent traits make him more appealing than loathsome.

Antiheroes are flawed, just as all people are. The light and the dark sides are in a never-ending battle, and their souls are the battlegrounds. Of course, the good in them has to win at some point. Otherwise we would simply call them villains.

A traditional literary hero is the perfect role model. He is brave, strong, and focused. This character always does the right thing, no matter how tempting the situation is. He is Odysseus, Cyrano de Bergerac, and the Little Prince.

Idealistic heroes rarely work for contemporary readers though. The modern heroic qualities are somewhat similar to the traditional ones, but they gravitate towards the dark side too. Readers want to see complex characters that don’t always do the right thing but are heroes nonetheless. Continue Reading…

Scene Structure: Scene Beginnings and Magic Ingredients

mountains and clouds

For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we’re looking at excerpts from past posts on Live Write Thrive that tie in with our exploration on scene structure.

From Don’t Go Nowhere Fast:

Scenes must have a point to them or they shouldn’t be in your novel. I’ll repeat that. Scenes must have a point to them or they shouldn’t be in your novel. You need to find your “moment” and build to it, and the first scene really needs a kicker of a moment to hook the reader. Too many scenes are poorly structured, but there’s really an easy way to look at them.

Each Scene Is a Mini Novel

There it is—the basic structure. If you think about each scene as a mini novel, you can plan them out accordingly. Each scene, like a novel, needs a beginning, middle, and end. A scene needs to have a point. It needs to build to a high moment, and then resolve in some way (although with a scene, you can leave the reader hanging.

Okay, a lot of writers do this at the end of their novels too, to make you run out and buy the next installment, but I find that a bit annoying. I want a novel to end satisfactorily and wrap up the story). What you then have with your novel is a string of mini novels that all work as nice, tidy capsules put together to paint a big picture. Continue Reading…

First Pages of Best-Selling Novels: Leaving Time

Leaving Time cover

This week, in our examination of first pages of best-selling novels, we’re taking a look at a best-selling novel by Jodi Picoult called Leaving Time (2015). While this novel is categorized as a thriller, it’s really more Women’s Fiction.

We’re using my first-page checklist to go through each author’s first page to see why and how it effectively draws the reader quickly into the story. While novels don’t have to have every one of these checklist elements on the first page, usually the more they do have, the stronger the opening.

Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite authors. She has great characters, terrific themes and motifs, and usually gets right into action in her opening scenes, setting up her premise with characters in the middle of a difficult situation.

A terrific example of another powerful intro is found in My Sister’s Keeper, another of Picoult’s many runaway best sellers. As with Leaving Time, she starts off with a prologue (when you have time, read it by looking inside the book here on Amazon). And since prologues have been the topic of debate for years, before we look at this particular prologue, I want to talk a little about this structure. Continue Reading…

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