Tag Archive - characters

7 Tips to Creating the Perfect Antihero

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: Understanding the Truth about Character Arcs

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. Revealing the gradual transformation of a character from one scene to the next requires understand character arcs.

From The True Essence of Character:

 Persona vs. Essence

All of us are flawed. Over the years, since childhood, we have developed a “face” we present to the world. Often that face is formed by hurts we’ve suffered early on. We start out all innocent and sweet, and then after a few of life’s hard knocks, we hide behind a persona that feels safe. A true hero’s journey will show the process of the hero moving from his persona to his true essence by the end of the story. And this is a great model for novelists.

Almost all great stories show the protagonist at the start of the book in his normal world. This is the place in which he functions, interacts with others, and makes his way through life. But if you’re telling a rich story, there’s going to be something wrong with this picture. Even if this character seems happy, we can tell he’s really not. And it really doesn’t have to do with his visible goal established at the outset. Oh, they are interconnected, and the goal should be a vehicle for helping your character “find himself.” But reaching his visible goal isn’t the real thing that will make him truly happy. Every person who is not living in his or her true essence is going to be unhappy. Continue Reading…

Scene Structure and Character Arc

Novels are about characters—characters who undergo significant change. Or, at least the protagonist should. A novel in which the protagonist doesn’t learn, grow, or change is a stagnant novel.

We write novels to take readers on a journey. Usually that is some kind of transformational journey. Readers want to go through the struggles and challenges the character faces and witness this transformation.

What’s a Character Arc Really About?

What am I talking about? Does a character have to have some huge revelation at the climax? Does he need to change his life? Transformation doesn’t have to be huge, and the scope and type of transformation can be influenced by genre. However, even with genres that focus predominately on action—dynamic plot developments—it can be said that those types of books will be better stories if they include some character transformation. Continue Reading…

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