1. eg8hardcore
    Offline

    eg8hardcore Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2014
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Savannah GA

    Anti hero Vs Villain???

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by eg8hardcore, Sep 16, 2014.

    I'm having some trouble deciding which to use. A short synopsis to help you understand the context:

    A few hundred years in the future a disaster has occurred. The surface of the Earth is no longer livable and instead of venturing into space, humanity has taken to the waves. Some live in cities that coat the ocean floor. Others live in cities that float on the water.

    The cities are advanced and for the most part self sustaining. The rich travel by submarine, and the poor have nowhere to travel to. The hero is of semi high rank (I have yet to determine what type of command structure will be used; militant, bloodline, royalty, etc). He commands the only city that neither sits on the ocean floor, nor floats on the surface. It is mobile, swimming through the ocean.

    In another ocean not so far away we have either our villain or our antihero. I can't decide if I want a villain who knows he is bad and has a "no fucks given" kind of attitude. He is hell bent on taking over the world and doesn't care who he has to kill to do so. Nothing will stop him.

    OR

    I could have the antihero. He isn't really a villain, no. He has been through a lot, seeing how rough life can be under the ocean. He has witnessed family members die from the anarchy that has broken out under the ocean. He has acted with honor in the past, but at times does what is necessary to survive. He has moved from a mid level rank to a rather high rank and is the leader of a large house. Life events have changed him and he now sees that things must change. Unfortunately he becomes misguided in the ways things must change. As the story progresses he becomes more and more convinced that his way is the only way, and the only way to achieve this is to rule everything. He doesn't want to kill needlessly, but he will do whatever it takes in his mind to protect what he needs to. Eventually he becomes the real bad guy, but in his mind it's too late.

    I don't want to do anything that has been over played. Thoughts? Suggestions?
     
  2. Robert Klein II
    Offline

    Robert Klein II Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2014
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    12
    Well, villains with a "no **** given" attitude as you put it are pretty annoying unless they're insane or have an interesting aspect to them. I like the little story part much more. (Second one)

    I have... (Counts mentally) six "Villains" in my novel I'm writing I suppose. Although they all have pretty good purposes that won't get revealed for a while. There is one of the villains that is just a "no **** given, I'm amazing, I do what I want" kind of guy, although he's the main antagonist. (He's so main he's had about twenty five lines of page time)
     
  3. BayView
    Offline

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    5,591
    Likes Received:
    5,075
    I don't think you've really got the idea of 'antihero' right. An antihero is still the protagonist of the story, he's just one without traditional heroic virtues.

    I think what you're looking at is the distinction between a villain who's two dimensional and one who's three dimensional. Your first villain ,with no real motivation other than 'evil', is kind of simplistic. He could be useful if you're trying to write your story as a black-and-white, good-vs-evil story. But generally, a villain with more depth will be more satisfying to read, so I'd recommend trying for the three dimensional hero, if you think you're up to it.
     
    jazzabel, elynne and Robert Klein II like this.
  4. Robert Klein II
    Offline

    Robert Klein II Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2014
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    12
    By that saying, an anti-hero would be somebody like Light Yagami from Death Note. I don't expect you to know what that is though :p

    Although the term antihero does give away that it's an anti-protagonist... Can't believe I never knew...
     
    BayView likes this.
  5. elynne
    Offline

    elynne Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2011
    Messages:
    236
    Likes Received:
    140
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    although villains who are bad just because they genuinely do not have a single fuck to give can be fun (e.g. Hannibal Lecter), people who become villains by doing the wrong things for (what they think are) the right reasons are much more compelling characters.
     
  6. Devlin Blake
    Offline

    Devlin Blake Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2014
    Messages:
    83
    Likes Received:
    31
    There are two ways to handle this;

    Good vs. evil or Good vs. good

    Good vs. evil is the classic trope.

    Good vs. good is more like Les miserables. Javert was not evil, and neither was Valjean, but they were opposites in every other way. Good vs good is much more compelling.

    Of course, if you want a really compelling villain, check out Johan Liebert from Monster. Best villain ever.

    Dexter is more like an anti-hero, also very compelling.
     
  7. Robert Klein II
    Offline

    Robert Klein II Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2014
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    12
    Johan Liebert was an excellent villain. As for Dexter, I enjoyed that series. (The episodes I watched anyways)
    Also, you said Good vs. Good and Good vs. Evil. Although I think you've missed what I think could be pretty interesting, Evil vs. Evil
     
  8. Sifunkle
    Offline

    Sifunkle Dis Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2014
    Messages:
    481
    Likes Received:
    570
    I think what you're really trying to decide is how you want your work to explore morality: as 'black and white' (heroes vs villains) or in 'shades of grey' (antiheroes and antivillains). 'Good' and 'evil' depend on:

    1) The setting's general morality. Are there accepted codes of conduct (black/white) or is it dog-eat-dog (grey)? This can vary over time and space!

    2) The perceptions of the observer (including the reader). A nun views your antagonist as evil, while a megalomaniac sees them as normal.

    To make the reader consider the issue, you can explore the perceptions of various characters. Maybe your antagonist is evil by the black-and-white moral code of the hero, but his own view is that life is a struggle for survival where anything goes. If the reader agrees with the protagonist, you get a good hero and an evil villain; if they agree with the antagonist, you get a judgemental antihero and a sympathetic antivillain. Who they agree with may be influenced by their preconceptions, your other characters, the plot, the setting...

    The best option (black/white or greyscale) probably depends on the extent you want to probe an issue. Grey suits deeper exploration, while black/white ticks a box so you can move onto more interesting/important aspects of the story.

    If you're using your work to argue a particular stance, greyscale is probably best. Black/white makes it easy to get your contention across, but it may be too simplistic to be compelling. Either way, being too preachy often puts the reader off (...although it worked out alright for the world's most popular book...).
     
    jazzabel likes this.
  9. eg8hardcore
    Offline

    eg8hardcore Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2014
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Savannah GA
    Thanks for all the replies guys. Yes I suppose I am using the term anti-hero incorrectly. I guess I was meaning just that the "bad guy" won't necessarily be bad. He'd be trying to do good, just in the wrong way. Nevertheless I appreciate that most of you seem to understand what I meant and actually gave helpful info.

    I was thinking a, to use Bayview's term, "two dimensional" villain would be fun to write. A "three dimensional" villain would require much more in depth background I think and be a bit harder to write, but I imagine might be more relatable to the readers.
     
  10. Pappy
    Offline

    Pappy New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2014
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Hull
    You're not equating these two things correctly. Fun and Hard are not mutually exclusive. You're looking for Easy and Hard. Two dimensional characters are easy to write because you, the author, get to be lazy in creating them (which I think you eluded to). You give permission to yourself to ignore the 'why' questions. I tend to have more fun answering the why questions, and usually, readers have more fun reading those answers...but I think you're getting it.
     
  11. HelloThere
    Offline

    HelloThere Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Messages:
    295
    Likes Received:
    240
    The second character you described was infinitely more interesting, no matter what label you put on him.
     
  12. eg8hardcore
    Offline

    eg8hardcore Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2014
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Savannah GA
    I am def mislabeling them, but the ideas are there. I do think it would be more fun to do the second, but easier to do the first. I'm just really afraid of failing in the second, where as with a straight up, "I'm evil and don't care" type of villain I have the opportunity to ignore some of the why's. The answer is simple, because evil. That being said, I enjoy reading about a complex character, and everyone love's a plot twist or two so I'm def headed in the direction of the second.

    Thank you for the advice.
     
  13. Jaro
    Offline

    Jaro Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2014
    Messages:
    214
    Likes Received:
    71
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    I definitely think the second character would be much more interesting to read about.

    My Fave Anti-Hero: Walter White (Breaking Bad). Caught up doing all the wrong things for the right reasons, until finally it didn't matter, and all of the wrong things he did for wrong reasons.
     
  14. Empty Bird
    Offline

    Empty Bird Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2014
    Messages:
    85
    Likes Received:
    42
    To be honest, it being your story and quite a large decision to make, I think it should be you coming up with the final idea. Give it a bit more thought on both sides.

    After all, you explained the anti-hero in way more depth than you did the villain. Perhaps you've already chosen through how much more you're exploring the latter. Don't worry about what people would prefer. It's your story. If you write it well, no one will know what other character you scrapped to put that one in place.
     
  15. Anthonydavid11
    Offline

    Anthonydavid11 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2012
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Jackson, TN
    You told us yourself. By writing all those lines about the anti-hero and few about the villain, I think it's clear you want to do the anti-hero and I think you should. Anti-hero's are much more interesting than standard villains. In real life, there are few to no real villains hell bent on destruction from birth or even through a bad experience. Anti-heroes tend to have better reasons for doing what they're doing and even have us on their side to a point. Your story will be richer for it. Happy writing!
     

Share This Page